Yeah. I hadn’t seen the Arrival. When it came out in the cinema I had one of two choices; Arrival or Doctor Strange. I chose Strange because I like my Cinema going experience to be fun, action packed and funny. All of which Arrival is not, which is not a diss on Arrival at all. In fact it is one of the things that make this movie great.
So I have had this movie on the shelf for days, ever since the Blu-ray came out, the opportunity to see it though was not there until today. So lets talk about it.
First things first, I am astounded that this movie didn’t get spoiled for me! I went in five months after its release still complete oblivious to its plot aside from reviews saying this was one of the best movies ever. So is it? Let’s find out.
Plot (Spoiler Free)
Louise Banks (Amy Adams) wakes up one morning for her daily job at the local university as a language professor. She walks into class and sees her students distracted she asked what the fuss is about and they tell her to turn on the TV.
On the news there is coverage of twelve large shell shaped black objects standing on end that have scattered all over the world, some on water, some on land all at seeming random positions around the globe.
The curious thing is they don’t seem to be doing anything. The world is in panic but Banks cannot be of any actual help so she goes home and watches the news while drinking herself to sleep.
The next morning she goes to the University to find it completely empty and devoid of staff and students. She sits in her office watching the news when she is approached by a Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) who recruits her to join a special task force that has been charged to establish communicatiions with the visitors.
That is all I can say without spoiling the movie.
What Did Work.
Let’s talk about what worked in arrival.
How about everything?
The atmosphere, the chilling presence of the Shells, the grounded characters, the amazing story telling, the beautifully shot landscapes, the flawless effects. It is by far the best looking pure Sci Fi movie of the last year.
Amy Adam’s is phenomenal in the lead role carrying this movie like the veteran actor that she is. Her performance is identifiable and emphatic and everything that she goes through, you go through.
Jeremy Renner and Whitaker did a fine job supporting Adam’s but don’t be mistaken, this is an Amy Adam’s movie.
What Didn’t Work.
So let’s not dilly dally around the issue. Lets get out the Scale of Awesomeness and rate Arrival on the Pure Sci-fi/Thriller Scoreboard.
Scale of Awesomeness
Intelligence – 10/10
Intrigue – 10/10
Suspense – 10/10
Thrills – 9/10
Climax – 10/10
SoA – 10/10
So while the Thrills weren’t as thrilling as the Climax it still scores a perfect ten because I only round off the nearest half. And the score is well deserved. The final score for Arrival is:
Wow, I didn’t think I would hit the perfect ten mark so soon in my reviews, but if this movie doesn’t deserve that rating then I don’t know what movie does.
Alright let’s get into spoilers. So during the start of the movie we get a quick montage of Louise giving birth to a child, raise her, cherishing her and then losing her to cancer. Throughout the course of the film we get introduced to her more and attach to Louise and her daughter as a normal in the paranormal, we learn her daughters name as flashbacks occur during the movie showing snippets of Louise and her daughter, Hannah’s life together. Slowly we begin to piece together what happened to Louise’s child all the while Louise is trying to figure out how to talk to these aliens.
We learn that Louise’s husband is no longer married to her even though Hannah wished otherwise. We learn tons about Hannah and very little about the aliens until one big bombshell dropped.
The Aliens, Heptapods,
weren’t there to attack the humans, on the contrary they were there to offer us a gift. A gift of language, their language which they could use to predict the future! They saw the future through their language in dreams.
And every time we see a flashback to Hannah it’s when Louise is sleeping. When she is awake and seeing Hannah it’s her remembering her dreams.
This clicked to me, and to most viewers I would guess, when she asked Costello who is this child she is dreaming of.
As I mentioned above there is a short montage of Hannah being born, being raised and then her death. Then Louise wakes up, and the shells have just arrived. Amazingly her mind is already being affected by the Arrival so the montage at the start was a dream of the future? Or was it us just getting a snippet of her future?
Abbotts death hit harder then I expected. I guess thats because it showed the complete idiocy of the human race? I have to admit though, when the Heptapods were first revealed…
The atmosphere, the tension building, the slow deliberate reveal all fueled the fear factor and my first instinct was to just kill them! They’re monsters! Just kill them! They reminded me of the Chryssalids of X-Com
and those things were bloody brutal. But over time and understanding that they weren’t the threat made me doubly angry that those idiots planted that bomb that resulted in Abbotts death.
Ian (Renner) as her husband was something that got tweaked to me when Hannah was asking her mother about explaining a term for a win-win situation. But it wasn’t confirmed until she entered the Shell alone and talked to Costello.
So Louise called General Shang and tells him about his wife’s last words to him which she learned by thinking of the Future through the language of the Heptapods. This is a convoluted plot point but one that doesn’t necessarily have to be confusing. Overthinking time manipulation can have you literally running in circles and it was not a game breaking element for me in the movie.
The only sticking point in the movie wasn’t really a sticking point. A truly spectacular adaptation that blew my mind. This movie is a must see for anyone who has any appreciation for cinematic brilliance.
So how did you find Arrival? Was it just as amazing as it was for me? Tell me in the comments. Like of you liked this review even though it’s late and share it if you think more people need to read it. I’ll write again soon.