Arrival

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Empire: 5 Stars                                Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

What has the director done before?
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s we had M. Night Shyamalan, the director of Signs, Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, was our purveyor of psychological thriller and sometimes sci-fi perfection. Now Denis Villeneuve has delivered us from a period where we didn’t see too many great sci-fi and psychological thrillers, save for 10 Cloverfield Lane. Denis Villeneuve has evolved from creating films well recognized by his Canadian peers to creating real Hollywood blockbusters such as Prisoners and Oscar-nominated Sicario. But Villeneuve isn’t done yet – he’s going to direct the sequel to Blade Runner, a daunting task if there ever was one!

Was it as good as the critics say?
The whole concept of the film Arrival (aliens arriving on Earth) is a fascinating topic that has captivated Hollywood since its beginning and that is recycled over and over again. However, this film brings a breath of fresh air to the alien-coming-to-earth genre, noticeably the aliens aren’t violent and don’t want to participate in any form of probing (yawn).  The untypical portrayal of the aliens is why the film is held in such high regard. It doesn’t rely on the “they are here to probe and kill us” narrative, which in reality if they were intelligent beings the last thing they’d want to do is participate in any form of probing, have they seen what Humans consume?

Arrival was good but lacking in an intensity that the subject requires. The film was a slow burner, and I feel there were a lot of unanswered questions and avenues that they could have explored, for instance, how would the arrival of alien’s affect religion? It is tricky with sci-fi as there are endless possibilities and it can get a bit all over the place, so it’s probably best to narrow the storyline.

Should there be a sequel?
It would be interesting if the filmmakers released a sequel to Arrival, as it would give them an opportunity to touch on all the unanswered questions from the first film. The subject of aliens arriving on earth has been the focus of many movies. However, the subject of how the arrival of Aliens affects us 10 to 15 years down the line has barely been touched, except for in District 9. Some interesting stories can be developed through thinking about this topic in detail.

How does this relate to the real world?
Something that stuck with me after watching Arrival was that it might be true in the sense that it would take the arrival of 12 alien spaceships from outer space to make countries around the world work together, even then I am unsure if that would be the case. But if there is anything this year has taught me is that anything can happen.

Could it have been better?
Arrival in ways could have been a little bit more intense, the suspense of the problem at hand isn’t conveyed in an utterly engaging manner, but at the same time it did leave you with a lot of food for thought and perhaps that was its purpose. You probably have to watch the film on the right day, if you are feeling introspective and pondering the universe then watch it, if not maybe put on Independence Day: Resurgence or something.

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