Director: Denis Villeneuve
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: 116 minutes
Arrival (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
The question whether we’re the only ones out there in the universe is one that has received many answers over the past years, but never one that could either say yes or no, which means we’re always left with a big fat ‘maybe’. Aliens have always been interesting subjects for games, books and movies, and even now the cow hasn’t been milked dry yet, as there are simply an infinite amount of options to create an interesting tale surrounding extraterrestrials paying a visit to our primitive blue planet. This seems to be the case with Arrival, but the reason why said beings have appeared out of thin air seems to be unknown to everyone, as they show no signs of hostility whatsoever, or no actual signs of trying to contact us either.
Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a fairly well-known linguistics professor, who seemingly has already had her share of hardships in her life, that make her a bit less in touch with her fellow human beings. Nonetheless, she is driven to teach, and when she arrives in school to see her class nearly empty, she still presses on to teach her class. When she is interrupted by a student that asks her to turn on the news, it seems humanity is captivated by the fact that twelve alien spacecrafts have landed on our planet, all scattered across the globe. The massive egg shaped vessels show no sign of hostility, but they aren’t looking for contact either. When a bit later Louise is approached by colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to help with the project, she eagerly accepts, if she is able to visit the site. When Weber declines, she asks who he will visit next, and when she gives Weber some last minute advice on how to test the next candidate, Weber finds himself with a chopper at Louise’s doorstep as he is convinced she is the proper candidate after all.
From here on out, Louise, Weber and a scientist by the name of Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), are allowed to enter the spacecraft every 18 hours, as they are always pushed out after a while, because of the change in pressure and oxygen. Louise is tasked to make contact with the strange beings, and while at first she seems to fail, she comes up with new inventive ways to get these aliens to ‘talk’, namely by the usage of writing. While this may seem a bit bland or dull, you’ll quickly notice otherwise.
‘Slow and steady wins the race’ is clearly the motto of this movie, and truth be told it works perfectly for this movie. The movie progresses at a seemingly slow pace, until you start putting together the different pieces of the puzzle and notice you’re slowly getting ‘mindfucked’ beyond belief. As far as pacing goes, it has been a long time since we last saw a movie that perfectly handled its flow from start to finish. Not a single moment will be dull, and there is more than enough information to process during your watch. That being said, this movie is a bit like Inception, where the gimmick is gone after you’ve watched the movie once, except if you missed certain subtle scenes or wish to process everything with a clear mind.
Amy Adams truly steals the show in this movie, and she carries this movie from start to finish, with proper support from Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. She does a formidable job in playing her part, which revolves around the tragedies in her life, as well as her expertise in the area of foreign languages. While she sometimes looks like her character could collapse at any given time, she also emits a certain strength and will to press on, which makes her character incredibly believable. The two supporting roles also tip the quality scales even more, making this a well casted and well executed movie.
The special features on this Blu-ray release of Arrival are plentiful, as you’ll get 30 minutes worth of content that revolves around the idea behind Arrival, ten minutes about the rather original soundtrack, even more about the overall sound design, the editing of the movie itself and the timeline of this story. Overall this may feel like a really lengthy making of, and this isn’t completely untrue, you’ll still get a hefty amount of extra content packed onto this tiny disc.
Arrival is a must-see movie for all Sci-Fi enthusiasts, as well as those who are open to the genre and love something serious on the side. Not only are the acting performances on point, the twists and turns this movie presents you on top of its great storyline will simply amaze you. This is one of those movies that might not have gotten a lot of wind in certain countries, which is simply sad, but now is the time to give this one a watch, as it is not shy of mind-blowing.