Yeah, that was good.
Movies like this normally have a long putting-the-team-together opening like Oceans 11 or The Core, but not here. The team is mainly Amy Adams and it doesn’t take her long to get on board. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are the other familiar faces trying to figure out how to talk to some mysterious aliens who have parked in twelve spots around the world.
Arrival is a great movie. It works on both the global level, where the end of the world is a real possibility, and on a personal level, where the loss of a loved one overshadows everything that happens.
Like all movies, the less you know about the story, the better. It was good.
The effects were brilliant, the acting was great, and the story was solid.
There are a couple of questions that are either ignored or sidestepped. Our hero writes a book about the tech that allows her to save the world. She is sharing that tech, so does this mean everyone who reads, and understands that book, can use the tech? The aliens have this tech, and yet they appear not to use it at a critical moment. Then there is the story of personal tragedy. Why does it happen? Ultimately, why does anything happen?
One odd bit of business is when they take a canary into the ship with them. This bit of coal mine safety seems pretty silly. But once it was there, I was a bit shocked that our super geniuses never brought an octopus into the ship. Not that this would have helped humankind, but maybe the Heptapods could have had a nice chat with an intelligent lifeform.
This is a powerful and emotional story told brilliantly. Is it perfect? No, but it’s so much closer to perfect that anything I’ve seen since Bladerunner and 2001.