I have talked about this here before, but Sci Fi is going through a major comeback much in the same way Horror has been enjoying a huge revival. Along with big sci fi franchises coming back to life such as Terminator Genisys, Alien Covenant, Star Wars The Force Awakens and Rogue One, Jurassic World, the Star Trek reboot franchise and Mad Max Fury Road, there have also been a fantastic selection of real science inspired sci fi tales that have been thrilling audiences like Passengers, Interstellar, The Martian, Oblivion, Ex-Machina and countless others. The newest film to join the ranks is Arrival from director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy).
Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) has worked for the government before on high security clearance matters, but when 12 mysterious spacecraft land all over the planet, she is called upon again but this time to try and find a way to communicate with the new visitors and find out what their purpose is. During repeated visits inside the ship Louise, along with theoretical physicist Ian Donnolly (Jeremy Renner), start to decode the aliens complex language. But it becomes a race against time as foreign governments decide to start using aggression against the aliens. Louise must find a way to solve the mystery of their arrival and decipher the message they have brought to Earth.
Arrival is a fascinating film full of mystery and constantly emitting a strong sense of dread. Villeneuve’s direction is hypnotic and coupled with the haunting score by Jóhann Jóhannsson, the beautiful visuals and the wonderful performances by Adams and Renner, Arrival has quickly become one of my favorite sci fi films in recent memory. There are so many story undercurrents here to take on; it is a film that will definitely require multiple viewings. The story has elements of personal tragedy, especially in the life of Louise, but it also has themes of Xenophobia, themes of communication on a personal level and on a worldwide level, and themes of destiny and purpose. There is a lot going on and you would best set aside some time at the end of the movie for discussion with fellow viewers. In my opinion this is the best kind of sci fi. One that makes you think, discuss, ponder and theorize and ultimately open your mind a little bit further.
The Blu-ray for Arrival also helps you along with those discussion by providing a few really interesting little mini-docs about the making of the film, the sound design, the score, the editing and even one on the principles of time, memory and language. Very highly recommended.