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“If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?”

  • What is this movie about? arrival_ver16

A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications when 12 spacecraft appear in different localizations on Earth.

  • Why should you watch it?

This movie has been a blow of fresh air. It is not the typical alien invasion movie. If you are looking for some action kind of “War of the Worlds” or “Spaceship Troopers” go find something else. This is not your movie. This goes beyond that, to infinity and beyond, as Buzz Lightyear would say.

The movie starts with the apparition of 12 alien vessels arriving at differents point on Earth (of course one is on the USA, where else?). The military then contact Amy Adam’s linguistic in order to help to establish contact with the alien and learn why are they here and what they want. With her is Jeremy Runner’s physic helping with the scientific side. So having this stablished, the movie then flows into a more  scientific-human way to approach the issue than what we are used in Mr Bay’s movies or as Leeloo from the “Fifth Element” would say: “big bada boom”. No big bada boom or booms. The point is understanding what they want before shooting; something we aren’t that used to in this kind of science fiction movies.

As in all sci-fi movies visual effects are one actor more and in this one the effects are well created and made with extra care. But of course visual effects without music it like a pizza without cheese, tasteless. The music and the sound effects play and important role in this movie because that is what we are trying to decipher: what are they saying. Needless to say both main actors keep the movie at its best specially Amy Adams (when is she going to win an Oscar please?). As usual, she is fantastic and she can transmit to the audience the weight she has in her shoulders as the interpreter between humanity and the aliens. She is THE protagonist of the movie. Nor the aliens and definitely no one else.

This movie tries to reach to you and make you think, not only about what would happen if we were contacted or visited from another species from outer Space, but also it makes you think about humanity as a whole, about life, about your destiny. What would you do?

  • Did you know?

– The original name for the film was “Story of Your Life.” However, test audiences did not like the title, and therefore, it was changed to “Arrival.”

– “Dirty Sci-fi” is what director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Bradford Young called the look they created together for Arrival (2016). Villeneuve wanted it to feel like “This was happening on a bad Tuesday morning, like when you were a kid on the school bus on a rainy day and you’d dream while looking out the window at the clouds.”

– This movie is based upon the short story “Story of Your Life” written by Ted Chiang in 1998.

– Ted Chiang, who wrote the novella the film is based upon, approved the film, saying, “I think it’s that rarest of the rare in that it’s both a good movie and a good adaptation… And when you consider the track record of adaptations of written science fiction, that’s almost literally a miracle.”

– In the novella, “Stories of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, nine “looking glasses” arrive in America, a total of 112 worldwide. The film reduces that number and alters the dimensions to more profound effect.

– Octopi, whales, elephants, and spiders were all sources of inspiration when it came to creating the aliens, Abbott and Costello. Director Denis Villeneuve wanted their design to evoke a very strong presence, an air of intelligence, and the feeling of being close to a “huge beast underwater.” He also wanted the aliens to feel like something you might imagine in a surreal dream or nightmare and, in the later stages of the film, he wanted them to be suggestive of the Grim Reaper.

– The reason the ships never touch land is explained by production designer Patrice Vermette, stating, “The twelve identical ships would travel across the universe and end the journey by hovering twenty-eight feet above the ground in delicate equilibrium, leaving it to Earth’s people to make the final outreach to contact them.

– The Hungarian word that Halpern refers to is “szalámitaktika”. (In English, this translates to “salami tactics”.) The word refers to removing opposition one thin slice at a time, like slicing a salami.

– Three of the locations that the alien spaceships land on Earth include the U.S. state of Montana, the United Kingdom, and Russia. These are some of the locations that the alien Tripods landed in John Christopher’s 1988 novel “When the Tripods Came,” which is the prequel to his “Tripods” novel trilogy.

– The shots inside the university (in class and when she walks through a cafeteria) have been filmed at HEC Montréal University, at the Descelles building.

– The siren emitted throughout the movie signaling the scientists’ preparation to approach the ship is identical to the siren used in The Purge (2013) and its sequels.