Thursday, 1 December 2016

Arrival (3 Stars)

Today I've decided to add a CINEMA tag (in capitals) to all the reviews of films that I watched in a cinema. It's something I've been considering for a long time. At first I thought I would further specify which cinema it was, using tags like "Cinema: Cineworld" or "Cinema: Electric", but I don't think that's relevant. Today I'll go back and add the tag to all the films I've seen in the cinema since moving to Germany. When I have time I'll also add the tag to films that I watched in England, but there were so many in the last three years that I might forget a few. I'll do my best.

"Arrival" is a science fiction film that centres around Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams). 12 large spaceships arrive at different places on Earth. They don't seem to have hostile intentions, but the reaction to them varies from country to country. In America the army asks Dr. Banks, a university linguistics lecturer, to attempt to communicate with the aliens. In some of the other countries similar attempts are made.

It's not easy. The sounds are so unintelligible that Dr. Banks abandons verbal communication and uses written communication as an alternative. Even so, there are great difficulties. In their language the aliens write sentences in a circle.

The film has received great critical acclaim, and I admit that I was fascinated by the language aspect, but there are great weaknesses, which I'll try to describe without giving away too many spoilers. First of all, if the aliens are part of a race for whom "time is not linear", i.e. they can see the future, why didn't they just look at their visit to Earth in advance and learn English before they arrived? Much easier. That might sound like a temporal paradox, but there's a bigger one in the film. Spoilers!

Secondly, the idea that the aliens want all nations on Earth to work together -- 12 of them, at least -- is laughable. That sounds like a big brother, or rather mommy and daddy, coming down from the sky to bang our heads together and tell us to stop squabbling. Even if the aliens did want it, it's infeasible that it would actually work.

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1 comment:

  1. I agree this is rather over rated. I did like the cast, and it is a pleasant enough watch. But it really didn't need the big Hollywood budget and to made out as something truly groundbreaking.


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