Science fiction is a genre that gets a bad rap by many often because it is mixed in with science fiction/fantasy (e.g. Star Wars, Star Trek, and etc.). However, there are occasions where, if you give the series a chance, you’ll find a film that is a work of art. Tonight, a few friends and I checked out Arrival to see what all the hype was about. Is this movie truly worthy of the praise, or is it just overhyped advertisements? You know the drill, read on to find out…please.
- Strong acting chemistry
- Awesome Science Fiction story
- What a twist
You want to make a strong movie; you need strong cast to act the tale out. Arrival has all that and a bag of chips with the crew assembled for this movie. Amy Adams leads with a stellar, or interstellar, performance that was one of her strongest performances in a long time. She played scientific and emotional, crafting a character that was very admirable to watch as she worked to decipher the alien language. Jeremy Renner plays the supporting scientist, whose expertise adds another dynamic to the mix to not only provide some clues, but also a potential friendship to Adams life. The two together feel like a scientific team striving to help the world, and their chemistry mixes well that you would expect of the lead actors. In regards to Forest Whitaker, his military colonel performance is strong, rugged, and a bit suspenseful to help add some antagonism that also fits well with his costars.
But the acting isn’t the only thing you are looking for in a Sci Fi movie right? You want a good story that blends reality with some advanced science concepts, right? Good news, Arrival delivers on this aspect crafting a fairly realistic tale that is believable and not loaded down with special effect explosions. The tale has mystery behind it, which will hook you into the film and carry you for the ride as one tries to figure out the aliens’ purpose. An added suspense is brought in by the time constraints placed by our overzealous military humans who strive to attack if a message cannot be conveyed. As for you character developing folks, don’t worry there are plenty of sequences to illuminate the mystery behind our group, helping to add some depth to what would otherwise be a stereotypical role. And the twist, well our story writers managed to surprise a number of people with a revolution that was both mind blowing and emotionally satisfying. I was able to pick out a few “big” reveals, but they paled in comparison to the main revelation in store for you.
- Alien Design
- A few unanswered questions
- Slow at points
It is really hard to find errors for me in this film, so much of this is simply picky things that really won’t ding the scores. The first is the alien design. Our mysterious visitors were not that impressive for me, lacking any threatening features. Without revealing anything, they seemed to be a simplified copy of another creature seen in a movie series a few years ago. Nevertheless, the things they did were really well animated and cool to watch, and despite not looking impressive were certainly intriguing to watch. Again a small weakness
In addition to all the good things I said about the movie, Arrival is a movie that will warp your mind and keep you asking questions. Yes, it is a movie you have to pay attention to and will keep you thinking as you try to fathom the plot. With the constant moving pieces and the multiple stories, you might wonder if they cover everything. And for the most part they do as our writers make sure the film comes together in the end to deliver the messages and punch it has. Pay attention America and you might just learn something. Despite everything coming together though, there is one question my mind craved to know (which I can’t reveal) and I have to wonder what the whole point of the visit was when the ending finally came. Again another small dislike for me.
In fact, the only dislike that I may have to dock off is the pace of the movie. Arrival isn’t the fastest moving film, and there are times where the movie seems to unnecessarily drag at times. The movie sometimes dives a little too deep into the details (e.g. traveling to the ship, traveling the ship’s hallways, or seeing some of the character developing scenes). While these moments certainly bring the setting to life, the repeated scenes and extra details may not have been as necessary as they thought. When the ending wraps up nicely though, these extra details feel welcome.
I got to hand it to Arrival for delivering on the promises the trailers built up. The film is a true science fiction masterpiece that is intriguing, thought provoking, and suspenseful in one package. Those who aren’t big fans of alien films ought to give this one a whirl not only to have a good mystery, but also for the emotional backstory of our lead character. Despite the slow pace of the film, our team brought a fantastic story together, one that I hope will be recognized for the intelligence behind it. And if you are looking for a good twist, well get ready to have your mind blown. Small weaknesses aside, this movie is definitely worth a trip to the theater for many people.
Drama/Mystery/Sci Fi: 9.5
Movie Overall: 9