GEORGE’S TAKE: Movie Review of “ARRIVAL”:
Where are you?
How are you?
When are You?
Simple questions! Some that we ask everyday, but Denis Villeneuve uses these three basic questions to create one of the most satisfying sci-fi movies in a long time.
I have an admission to make, I saw “Dr. Strange” last weekend and was quite disappointed – to me it was simply “meh” even with it’s incredible special effects and visuals.
“Arrival” is the complete opposite of “Dr. Strange” – it’s quiet, thoughtful, thought-provoking and paced in way that made me anxious at the beginning that they wouldn’t be able to tell the entire story. I shouldn’t have worried, the last 30 minutes of the movie are some of the most satisfying time I spent in front of the big screen in a long while.
The movie is based on “Story of Your Life” by author Ted Chiang. I have not read the book, and I don’t now if it would change my opinion if I had – sometimes that happens. This movie has more in common with the classic “2001 – A Space Odyssey” than the Marvel Monster Hits, and to me reclaims the scfi-fi mantle. Even the orange haz-mat suits seem to be a nod to the spacesuits in the Kubrick classic.
The acting is superb, the story intricate, and the message surprising. 12 alien crafts land/position themselves around the world. This causes the typical hysteria of “contact”, but the focus of the movie is much more personal in nature, while not losing the global implications.
Maybe it’s the past week’s events – election, protests, etc – that made me smile that the backbone theme of the movie is “how do you communicate with someone/something when you have no commonality AT ALL”. Needless to say, The words we choose shape our reality, and the basics of thought are shaped by those word. Amy Adams, the main character, figures out a way to bridge that divide and the message is bold, beckoning, and just beyond our grasp it seems.
OVERALL: I give “Arrival” 4.5 out of 5 Buckets of Popcorn