Okay, I have to admit something right off the bat about this movie. I had NO idea it was coming out, until it was in theaters. I hadn’t seen any previews, not anything.
But, I am SO HAPPY I saw it.
Here is my *SPOILER FREE* review on it.
First of all, this movie was stunning. To say the least. The visual effects were great. Usually I have a small issue with visual effects for sci-fi movies. My stomach is very sensitive to motion-heavy images. Cloverfield did damage to me I could never speak of. Arrival was a different story. Everything was so smooth and seamless.
Science fiction is never really about the future; it’s always about us. You can always tell that it is making some sort of social commentary on everything we are facing today. Arrival, set in the barely distant future, feels like it was MADE for 2016. We just went through what is arguably the most intense and earth-shattering American election in history. This movie had so many ties into how we need to band together, not separate.
Normally, it’s not odd for a sci-fi to comment on current events. However, in doing some research, I found out that Arrival is based on a book called Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Which was written – TWO DECADES AGO. Two decades ago, we were in the 90’s. Which, I argue to be the single greatest decade ever. Although, I am probably very biased since I was born in 91′. But, that’s besides the point.
Back to the movie-
Arrival starts off by putting you in an interesting feeling. Through imagery, music, inner monologues, and memory scenes- you feel more somber and hopeful at the same time. I’ve never felt it before, but it’s almost like watching the last few moments of a sunset. You are witness a remarkable beauty, while struggling with the thoughts that it’s almost over. Bittersweet, but so so worth it. It’s such a powerful feeling to start off a movie with. It did it’s job, because instantly you are completely hooked on the main female character, played by Amy Adams.
Then, you get to see and process this event that changes their history. 12 Alien pods are floating just about ground. The news is going crazy, as are most of Earths inhabitants. But, nothing happens right off the bat. You are tossed into one question, What Now?
Then throughout the movie you are being talked to in a way that makes you feel educated and important. What was great about this movie is it doesn’t treat you like some dumb gullible human who can just have random special effects tossed at you while you stare in wonderment. You get to witness these remarkable thought processes and plans that make you feel so hopeful for not only yourself, but for our world. Arrival doesn’t treat it’s attendees like we are all in 5th grade, and it’s so appreciated. It’s smart and dark, and a little bit twisted.
In summation, Arrival isn’t just about “Oh god, Aliens, what do we do?” It’s about the human race and the infinite possibilities we open up if we see what we have in common, and not our differences. It’s about creating a tangible connection to everyone and everything.
Take the time to go see it. As for appropriate ages, I would say, with few exceptions leave anyone under 11 or 12 at home. While there is no violence or rude awakenings to scare them, it is a bit complex. You may end up explaining more than half of the movie to them and missing out on the big things yourself.
Saw the movie? I would love to know what you thought! Did I cover your feelings just right? Or, do you have a bone to pick? Either way I would love to hear!