Arrival is such a breath of fresh air in the tired and stagnant wold of alien invasion movies. In fact it challenges the entire concept of them all together, why always an invasion? The uniqueness of this film is that there is no big action battles scenes with over the top destruction and CGI use; it’s a very intimate story about first contact and grappling with the immense challenge of breaking through an inter-galactic communication barrier. That’s one of the things I appreciated most that this movie did. They much more realistically conveyed the degree of difference there would be between species that have evolved light years apart under completely different environments and circumstances. Not just in the way they look but how they think, communicate and conceptualize the world.
Giving it an even more personal touch is the way in which the story is experienced through Amy Adams’ character, a renowned linguistics professor, brought in to help answer the question; ‘why are they here?’. Contrasting her approach to the problem with that of the scientists and military officials she’s working with was fascinating to watch and further highlighted the differences in the way we see things. It also brought up larger issues facing humanity today, where our first instinct far too often seem to be of fear and viewing everything we don’t understand as a threat that needs to be threatened back. But sometimes all that’s really needed is communication, to really understand each other.
The film has a fairly slow build up but it’s all worth it in the end. I’d compare it to climbing a mountain where you’re slowly but surely moving up and then when you arrive (pun intended) at the top it all comes to together as you take in the mind blowing view. Arrival is intensely thought provoking and the more you think about it the more you realize how genius it really is. It has to be a 5/5, an absolute must see.