Friday, November 11, 2016
CNS/USCCB (J. McCarthy) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Turan) review
RogerEbert.com (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (A.A.Dowd) review
Arrival  directed by Denis Villeneuve, screenplay by Eric Heisserer, based on the story "Story of your Life" [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Ted Chiang [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is a quite thoughtful / cerebral (read also rather _slow moving_ if beautifully shot) "first contact" Sci-Fi story that has _much more in common_ with 2001: A Space Odyssey  than, well, the shoot-em-up Independence Day [1996, 2016] scenarios.
This is not to say that the arrival of twelve _enormous_ stone monolith-like objects from (...??) to earth, piloted apparently by a race of "septopods" (with _big_ octopus-like heads and seven elephant-trunk-like appendages), was not scary. And yes, governments / intelligence services all around the world were scrambling to get answers to the obvious questions: Why were they here? Where did they come from? What did they want?
Yet, when U.S. Army Colonel Weber (played dead-on by Forest Whitaker) comes, hat-in-hand, to Ivy-League linguistics professor Dr. Louise Banks (played wonderfully by Amy Adams), it's clear that getting answers to these urgent questions was not going to be easy: How do these aliens communicate at all?
The film becomes a fascinating meditation on the very nature of language, taking adage that "every language we learn gives us a new/different way of perceive the world" to a, well, SciFi-ish extreme ;-). Still one fascinating if certainly "cerebral" (if also beautifully shot) movie.
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