review by Bobby Blakey
There have been a ton of movies over the years that have taken on alien invasions so nowadays it is more about the different ways to execute the story than the genre itself. Most of them stick to the typical action direction, but every so often one comes along that does something different to make it stand out. The latest looking to bring something new to the genre is Arrival starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, but does it manage to bring anything to Earth that helps it standout or will it not be worth talking about?
Arrival follows a mysterious spacecraft that touches down across the globe, causing an elite team - lead by expert linguist Louise Banks to be brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. When I saw the first trailer for this film I was on the fence as I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but found it engaging nonetheless. This is a slow build film that doesn’t try to force some action nonsenses to tell the story, but instead makes it more of a character piece with the alien arrival as a catalyst to tell the story. There are some interesting directions with the film that aren’t always as surprising as they want them to be, but still work. Adams does a great job here carrying the majority of the load bringing some great depth along with her emotional struggles and believability in the role. If her character didn’t work this film would have fallen apart pretty fast. Renner does a good job as well despite his character not offering up as much interesting directions, but serves a big purpose to the bigger story of them working together.
Some will find the film slow and possibly disappointed as to what they thought they were going to get, but I personally loved the direction they went. There was a whole side direction of the story that most will not see coming, but it’s the human story here that makes it stand out. Going in you are expecting some big alien feature and while you do get that one some level this is more about human nature and personal loss than anything else. The alien visitors are offering something more than you usually get in these kinds of films and I really enjoyed the direction it took. When they are dealing with the alien aspect they took an interesting approach to the design and communication. I really enjoyed the visuals they offered up although there is one sequence closer the end that is a bit hit and miss in the effects department that almost took me out of the film too far, but thankfully brought itself around.
This is defiantly not a film for everyone as it takes a more intellectual approach to the story and will no doubt lose some people. That is not to say that this is an overly complicated film and as mentioned before there are some that will figure out where it is going early, but stick it out and just enjoy the ride of a film that finally takes the alien invasion film in a new direction that will tug at your heart strings and your mind all at once.
In addition to the film this release includes a variety of featurettes that takes you deeper into the world of Arrival. Attempt to make contact and grab your copy of Arrival available now on Digital HD and coming to DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack and beautiful 4K Ultra HD on February 14th from Paramount Home Entertainment.