Go see Arrival This Weekend
We've been talking about Denis Villeneuve's Arrival since it had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this past September 1. There couldn't be a more appropriate time for a film about the importance of communication in times of peril then right about now. Arrival's conceit is simple and brilliant: linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is tasked with leading an elite team of investigators to decipher what, if anything, the aliens inside the 12 colossal ships that have touched down all across the globe, want from the human race. Banks needs to translate the aliens language and communicate them before the jittery nations begin a global war.
We've shared with you the genius way Paramount touched upon this premise in this tearjerking promo, it's link to Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and spoke to production designer Patrice Vermette about how he created the film's alien language. But you don't have to take our word for it. The film's Rotten Tomatoes fresh rating is a whopping 96%. Over at CineFix, their team put together their video review, and they essentially echo our sentiment in the very first sentence; "Guys, you gotta go see this movie."
Science fiction is arguably the most malleable genre. Just look at the current crop of sci-fi on offer for proof; HBO's magesterial, sweeping sci-fi western Westworld, Netflix's riveting, techno-paranoia series Black Mirror, BBC America's identity-melting thriller Orphan Black, to quite a few of the Marvel series and films (from Captain America: Civil War to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), all of which rely on sci-fi elements. The sci-fi umbrella is massive, encompassing a nearly infinite number of possible narratives. What's so refreshing about Arrival is it's representative of a vein of the genre that is often overlooked; it's grounded in humanism. For all the sweeping vistas of massive alien ships hovering just above the ground in remote locations across the globe, the film is about the very human need to communicate, to share, to know what it is someone (or some thing) else wants, and to make yourself, your hopes and dreams, be understood as well. Like many alien-centric films, Arrival puts the fate of humanity on the line, but like the best of sci-fi, it's more interested in the way human beings react to the staggering strangeness of life and all that it might present, rather than a simple story about how humans are good at blowing stuff up when they have to.
In the end, as it's been for all of human history, communication is the key to survival.