Aliens are becoming one of the most common existences in science fiction genres. In fact, some of the many famous classics such as Independence Day and E.T contains aliens right at the forefront. With so many of these past offerings that deliver a great story and action sequences, what does Arrival possess to make it stand out? Well, apparently they do have one thing that sets it apart from other films of similar genre. Read on to find out!
The basic premise is the arrival of 12 alien spaceships around the world, prompting chaos and restlessness among the humans and various powerful countries. In the USA, they sought out the help of a linguist Louise and physicist Ian to decipher their language and intentions. They found that the aliens use special writing systems that are able to communicate lots of meanings using ink-like drawings. However, they have to make sure they are able to translate them correctly, as any misinterpretations will cause a war between the humans and aliens.
Dayum, this film is really so unlike any other films I have ever seen. It takes on a very different approach to the interaction between aliens and humans in a more realistic way. I love the process of the humans attempting to learn about the alien’s languages and do so in ways that are believable. It’s probably the closest approach that we may take if we really do meet an alien one day into the future. Next, they do not show the alien’s true form for most of the film, creating a sense of mystery and also hidden tension for each meeting between them and the humans. The film does not attempt to make the aliens stand out as either good or bad, but rather as a neutral existence that only sought for understanding between the two races.
Most of the characters are well acted by the actors, especially the main leads, but it is the existence of Louise’s daughter that I felt creates a catalyst for the story. Without spoiling anything, I would only say that she plays a subtle, non-obvious yet very important role in the film. The whole concept of time is intersected with the aliens just gives me a mind-blown moment for a while too. Rarely do any aliens film give me such experience anymore. The soundtracks are pretty sublime yet contain power and mystery that convey such strong atmosphere through the film. Pacing is handled excellently as well, with no boring scenes despite such little action sequences or explosions.