After giant UFO's appear all over the world, a linguistics professor
is recruited by the military to decipher their complex language.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Eric Heisserer
Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner,
Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma
Based on the story Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Oscar Wins - Best Sound Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Director,
Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design,
Arrival begins with an intriguing premise. Enormous half-circle shaped UFO's are hovering in twelve sites across the planet, inciting panic and scrambling the military. No one knows where they came from. No one knows why they're here. Most importantly, no one knows where to go from there. Arrival loses its gimmick about halfway through and tries to compensate with its lack of story by turning itself into a time travel story. With that, a film that was already losing my interest catapults towards a conclusion that is far too cerebral for casual moviegoers and just as predictable.
Arrival wants so badly to be the millennial Close Encounters that it blatantly steals from the sci-fi classic. Deciphering their language and the psychic visions that come with it is more than reminiscent of a far superior film. Arrival sports some solid performances from Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, as well as some memorable alien designs. Once again, we see talented actor Michael Stuhlbarg stuck in the background as another useless character. This film has so much wasted potential. We never get any insight into what any other country besides America plans to do about their visitors. I'm tired of America always being at the forefront of the invasion. Why can't the top scientists in Belgium or Denmark be the heroes once in a while?
Arrival feels pretentious, but doesn't have the talent behind the wheel to back it up. Denis Villeneuve's previous effort, Sicario, was considerably better and with much less effort. As far as alien invasion films go, Arrival is less than thrilling and more dull than anything else. It acts like it's changing the game for good, but fails to really bring anything new to the table worth remembering. Just watch Close Encounters again. It's the same film with a heavier dose of optimism.