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Movies about contact with aliens are pretty numerous and what aliens mostly do is that they abduct, scrutinize, infiltrate, devastate, enslave, observe, attack humanity. In those rare cases when alien’s intentions are peaceful and harmless, it is usually not a problem to understand them. All this only obstructs credibility and suspense, and the main question in probably 90% of alien movies is “How do they look?” or “How can humanity win?” However, this movie mostly deals with the question “Why are they here?” It illustrates the major problem with alien contact: even if Earth is someday visited by an advanced and peaceful alien race trying to establish contact, most likely both sides will be unable to understand each other. Contact means communication, and the latter is barely possible without language. Therefore, the problem of translation becomes extremely topical — and this is what Arrival is about.
Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction movie which is directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer. It is based on the 1998 short story ‘Story of Your Life’ by Ted Chiang, and stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. It won an Oscar in addition to 65 awards with the total nominations of 250. It is basically about a linguist who works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world. Like all the best sci-fi, Arrival has something pertinent to say about today’s world; particularly about the importance of communication.
It is perhaps one of the most, if not the most, realistic first-contact stories to stem from Hollywood’s visionaries. It is in a distinctly more idealistic hopeful key than most movies in this genre, one in which the best solutions don’t necessarily materialize in a gun sight. It is much more concerned with deep truths about language, imagination, and human relationships. Communication or lack thereof has always been one of the primary obstacles to equitable interactions between cultures; this story takes that notion to an engaging and powerful extreme. There’s a simple yet profound way it goes about telling its narrative, and it’s worthy of applause. Unfortunately, the movie does not explain much, though. It does not explain much about how and why are aliens able to see the future. It desperately lacks details. It seems like the movie creators focused more on Louise’s memories and conversations with aliens rather than explaining the tremendous gap between Heptapods’ and humans’ mentalities, and without it the movie’s storyline, the characters’ motives, and the role of Heptapod’s written language remains unclear. Generally, everything about Arrival is the aesthetics, the narrative and the ideas and also the performances are great.
In conclusion, Arrival is a crowd-pleaser movie that successfully focuses on the significance of communication rather than being a typical alien movie.
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