Monday, February 19, 2018

Movie Review Arrival

Movie Review - Arrival


When mysterious spacecraft land across the globe, expert translator Louise Banks is sent to decipher their intent. As tensions mount, Banks discovers the aliens' true purpose and, to avert global war, takes a chance that could threaten humanity.


This is a divisive film. You will love it or hate it, but you will have an opinion. Why are there such strong feelings? I think it results from the way the film was marketed. Critics came out raving about a new Sci-Fi film and called it wildly unpredictable. The public's interest was piqued. After all, it stars Jeremy Renner so it must be a Sci-Fi action movie, right? Maybe it's like a good Independence Day. Wrong! There is only one explosion in this film and I don't think there was a single gun fired. Whoa! What a letdown, right? No.

This is not a Sci-Fi action film. This is Sci-Fi in the same vein as Contact, Solaris, and 2001. Actually, it is very similar to 2001 in many ways and themes. If you thought 2001 was boring, you will hate this film. This is not a film about aliens. This is a film about how we react to adversity and uncertainty. You may have heard that this is a film about time travel. It's not. No one "travels" through time. This film is about supposing that time is relative (which we know it is) and perhaps even malleable if you understand it well enough. The key to understanding time in this film is language. One aspect I think the film got wrong is contrasting science and language. Science is a language. Science is a way to explain the phenomena around you in formulas that can be shared and duplicated with others i.e., a language. They are not adversarial, but the same.

One thing that surprised me greatly was the portrayal of the military. I think this is probably the truest representation of how military personnel would react. These aren't mindless soldiers. They are thinking human beings with human emotions thrust into a situation of unbelievable significance. Some handle it with fear and trepidation while others approach it with care and concern. If we are ever visited by an alien race, the event will transcend the military. It will transcend the government and even nations. The government does not own or have a right to police our access to foreign visitors. This film portrays very well the moral dilemmas between duty and human emotion.

Are there some problems with the film? Undoubtedly it could have added more steps of suspense along the way--just a few morsels to keep the suspense building even more. I think that would have eliminated some of the "boring" complaints. I also think Jeremy Renner did not belong in the film. He is an excellent actor and it's not like he doesn't act his role well, it's just that he brings too much "Jeremy Renner" baggage to the role for me to accept him completely. Amy Adams was perfect for this role, however.

You absolutely should watch this film if you like thinking about it afterwards. Nothing is spoon-fed to you in this film and you will NOT receive all the answers. Much is left open to your interpretation. It will leave you guessing to the very end. What would you do in the same situation?

If you thought 2001 was a masterpiece (it was) then you will love this film in much the same way. If you thought Independence Day was a masterpiece, don't waste your time watching this.
Having purchase the Blu-ray, I can now speak to it separately from the film. The picture is stunning and one of the best films I have seen. The colors are slightly muted, but I'm sure it's intentional. I just don't remember it being overly dark in the theater.

There are over 80 minutes of extras, although I am slightly apprehensive about watching them. They basically explain the whole point of the film which I feel is better left to your own interpretation. Those who don't like the film won't ever get a chance to see what it was about since they surely won't buy this, but the answers are there if you want them.
 
http://amzn.to/2BAInRG

Arrival

  • Genres : Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller, Mystery
  • Director : Denis Villeneuve
  • Starring  : Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner
  • Supporting actors  : Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O'Brien, Tzi Ma, Abigail Pniowsky, Julia Scarlett Dan, Jadyn Malone, Frank Schorpion, Lucas Chartier-Dessert, Christian Jadah, Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld, Andrew Shaver, Pat Kiely, Sonia Vigneault, Mark Camacho, Sabrina Reeves, Julian Casey, Tony Robinow
  • Studio : Paramount Pictures
  • Format : Prime Video (Streaming Online Video)
http://amzn.to/2BwHn17

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