By: Anton Massopust III
“There are days that define your life. Like the day they arrived.” — Louise Banks.
The Arrival is a hard sci-fi film about a college linguistics professor and translator (Amy Adams) who is called upon by the military to decipher an alien language when 12 alien space ships descend to Earth. The military wants to know why they’re here and what their intentions are. Along with Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), Dr. Banks has to figure out those answers before those who are afraid of the aliens begin what could become a global war. I really can’t say more about the plot without spoiling it, but this movie is not about what you think it is about.
The cast is fantastic, led by Renner and Adams, both Academy Award nominees and it also features Forest Whitaker, an Academy Award winner. They lend a human element to a movie that is both slow and serious.
This is a thinking man’s movie. It tries to make language translation exciting in the way that The Firm tried to make photocopying exciting. Unfortunately, it proved a bit too slow for my taste. The reveal at the end didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t hate it but it just didn’t work for me that well. I do want to add that the sound and sound editing are fantastic and really enhance the drama and the action.
It’s certainly a different spin on science fiction and I’m sure the academy will love this film and will want to see more sci-fi films like this. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was interesting but if you don’t like a slow paced movie, then perhaps you should wait for DVD or Netflix before giving it a try.