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Arrival: Movie Review


In the midst of the chaos that is this election week, I will attempt to reflect on the wonder that was Arrival. Let me start off by saying any and all space movies freak me out, and I usually cry a few times, but this movie is the first one where I cried like two frames in. Record broken. I’ll also divulge that I cried twice in Trolls; yup.

arrival-1Arrival took me completely by surprise, it was not at all like what I walked in assuming it would be. Currently there is a resurging trend of sci-fi and space movies, which I am totally cool with since it’s one of my favorite genres, but it can lead to low expectations since we see a lot of the same stuff over and over. The ongoing issue that does arise with this trend in Hollywood is that some films lack originality; they consistently use worn out clichés, and have predictable plots. This was not the case for Arrival; it is much more thought provoking and it is obvious that the filmmakers spent a lot of time creating a more believable first encounter film.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is based off Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Earth is visited, can’t really say “invaded,” by 6 ships spread throughout the world, and at each location the best and brightest try and begin communicating with the aliens. We follow the American attempt to crack the alien code/motive before it’s too late. There are many instances in a movie like this where the inaccuracies or farfetched plot holes take you out of the film, and it is a huge testament to Villeneuve and his crew that this never really occurred to me while watching the film. It all seemed legitimate and probable. Because of how well Villeneuve did on this movie I am so amped on him taking up the reigns on Blade Runner 2049; seems like it’s in good hands.

arrival-3For a movie like Arrival to succeed and ensure plausibleness, it has to rely on an outstanding cast. Arrival proves that Amy Adams can carry a film. She portrays the plucked from normalcy linguist Dr. Banks who’s assigned with the daunting task of deciphering what the aliens’ purpose is. I felt as though I were in her shoes throughout the movie; at first thinking I’d never volunteer for that, and later stoked on being the one to connect to them.

The technical aspects of this film were impressive. Any and all special and visual effects worked seamlessly throughout. This film calls for perfection otherwise the audience will be taken out of the story if anything is askew. The cinematography and score were my favorite parts. At first I was put off by some of the handheld and out of focus scenes, but it adds to the film once you make sense of it later on. The score was discreet when it needed to be and raucous when called for.

arrival-2This movie, like many other complex films, is one that I’ll be glad to watch again to see what I missed the first time. I can say that Arrival was a perfect film for me to watch the evening before this tumultuous election; it forces you to reflect on the possible outcomes of what society can become if we are overzealous and careless. It was a cathartic experience, and too bad we don’t have Amy Adams helping us out of this one IRL (in real life).

 Arrival (2016)
Director: Denis Villenueve
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Science Fiction, Action
Release Date: November 11th, 2016
Author: Roxy De La Rosa
Roxy de la Rosa Roxy and her dogs are San Diego natives all hailing from Baja. She is a graduate of SDSU with a bachelor's degree in Television, Film, and New Media Production. Roxy is a huge comedy film and sitcom fan who hopes to become a TV writer, but for now she spends her time "researching" Netflix when she should be writing.