Monday, November 14, 2016

Movie Review: Arrival [SPOILERS]

Image found here.
I'm not really a fan of alien movies, but I thought Arrival looked interesting, since it's more about communicating with aliens rather than going to war with them. Amy Adams plays a linguist that the military hires to learn the language of the aliens and speak with them to find out why they came to Earth. While there are times that the men around her doubt her capabilities, in the end she gets the job done, and the world is not faced with inter-species war.

While the concept is good, the execution didn't do it for me. For one, it drags on, and mainly during the scenes when you want to get to the good part! And the waiting isn't suspenseful; it's just boring. For example, when humans are about to go into the pod, the time it takes for them to leave the ground and fully make it inside the pod takes at least five minutes. You're thinking, "Just get up there! I don't need to watch you slowly move to the inevitable. Get on with it!"

There is a time travel aspect to the film which I wasn't expecting, and I was totally confused. I can never get my head around any movie involving the warping of time, and this was no exception. Throughout the film you see Amy Adams' character having flashbacks, but eventually you realize that they aren't memories of the past: she's looking into the future. The idea is that the aliens do not see time as linear; everything is cyclical. So essentially they can see the future, and so can she. But because of this, you get confused about the plot, because plots should be linear. So you're mixed up about what things happened when. And some things just weren't explained well. There are twelve alien pods around the world, and they are somehow connected, but you don't figure out how the twelve puzzle pieces fit together. At the end of the movie, you have more questions than answers; you don't feel closure. You're thinking, "Wait, what just happened? And what was the point?"

Image found here.
On top of that, I was disappointed that the aliens looked like octopi (well, heptapods). I feel like all portrayals of aliens make them either look like little guys with huge heads and big eyes or somehow have lots of tentacles. I mean, really? Is that the only way other species from outer space could look? Aliens could look like ANYTHING, and yet we insist that they can only take these few forms that our weak imaginations create.

The only redeeming quality of the film is that a woman plays the protagonist, and she's really smart and saves the day; gold star for feminism. But honestly, my favorite part of the movie is that the music from the song "This Bitter Earth" is in it, and I love that song. Take a listen:

I guess the only alien movies I like are related to Star Wars or Star Trek. Everything else is just rubbish.

If you would like to read a good review about the film that includes a nice summary, check out this article.

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