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Movie Review: ‘Arrival’ Delivers on Inspiring and Introspective Science Fiction

Arrival could be the most innovative alien movie out there–read our movie review to find out why:

The aliens that arrive in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival have not come to blow us up (Independence Day), be our friends (E.T.), gas up (District 9) or eat us (War of the Worlds). Such alien ambitions are for simpler sci-fi pulp and Villeneuve never aims to lower the intelligence of his movies, even when the budget has been raised. He’s more interested in delving into the wondrous discoveries of life, the importance of communication and the engrossing observation of time. If we can ponder such grand themes, why not creatures from other galaxies?

Arrival Movie Review MovieSpoon.com
We’d freak out a little if we saw that.

The marketing for Arrival has done a great job at holding back nearly every clever twist and gorgeous display of visual splendor. To even talk about the plot is to give away most of the movie’s joy of discovery. Consider this fair warning for a few big spoilers ahead.

The visitors from outer space make their presence known by positioning twelve of their spaceships across the Earth at random locations. They are tall, black and curved ships, appearing as giant rocks that hover above the ground. Lying dormant with no contact, governments begin to venture inside the ships that grant them access. But the alien creatures, appearing as the children of Cthulhu with their octopus structure, they meet inside are shy and do not speak any known language, communicating only with strange symbols drawn through a fluid ink they create themselves.

Arrival Movie Review MovieSpoon.com
Amy Adams is tasked with communicating with the aliens.

The US military brings in two professionals for the job of making contact. The meek-yet-curious linguistics professor Louise (Amy Adams) and always-smiling mathematician expert Ian (Jeremy Renner) are called in for the mission. Both are tasked with comprehending and translating the language of the aliens in an attempt to find out why they’re here. A pensive Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) wants an answer soon as he holds back the brewing desire to open fire on these ships of unknown origin.

The majority of the picture is spent on uncovering the mystery, and it’s an engrossing slow burn. With each visit into the alien spacecraft, Louise learns a little more and it’s intriguing to watch her communication sessions. The language she becomes fluent with begins to take its toll on her mind as mastering any language can do, but not to the degree she was expecting. The more she learns from the aliens, the more we also learn about her tragic history with her daughter through her flashing memories.

Arrival Movie Review MovieSpoon.com
The aliens communicate with unique symbols.

There’s a sense of all-encompassing detail with Arrival’s story in how it takes in several angles. Though the majority of the movie takes place at the spacecraft landing in Montana, there’s a global sense of the impact from the other spaceships around the world. Through reports by both the military and the news, the world reacts towards these visitors in numerous ways. By default, there has to be the moment of panic and looting in the streets, but what’s more appealing is the strategy of other governments that have been communicating with the aliens as well.

Not all of the governments are on the same page, as the Chinese translate the messages as a threat. They become spooked and the world goes into a communications lockdown, with intent to recreate the battle of Independence Day. Some individuals are even inspired to buckle under the pressure to use deadly force after buying into media paranoia.

Read more to get the rest of the movie review for Arrival and watch the trailer:

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