By Edward Delaney
Alien invasion movies need to be done right in order for them to work. What I have noticed about the vast majority of films in which aliens come to earth fall into the category of either helping or hurting us. Listing off a few examples, “Independence Day,“ “War of the Worlds,“ or “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” portray extraterrestrial threats. However, some films like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,“ “E.T.,“ or “The Day the Earth Stood Still” conveys a message of peace and not war.
“Arrival,“ however, was something different from any of these subcategories in the alien-invader genre. 12 extra-terrestrial ships appear all over the planet, however it is unclear as to what exactly they want. Amy Adams plays a linguist who is assigned to decipher the hidden code which the aliens communicate through.
“Arrival” is very well paced, and I almost never felt a dull moment as I watched it. As our heroes try to decipher the hidden message, it becomes our goal as well, and the narrative of telling the story is brilliant. The director, Denis Villeneuve, has been known for his original and well made films, such as “Prisoners,“ “Enemy,“ and “Sicario.“ His track record has been pretty outstanding, so far.
Amy Adams is not the only strong performance, as Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker both do great jobs, however their characters both are downplayed and not utilized to full potential. The character of Ian (Renner) really did not have anything too interesting to do most of the film, but was a fair inclusion.
The twist to this film really was worthwhile, though I of course will not reveal it. A good twist revelation is the kind that makes the film you saw more in depth, and where you want to go back and rewatch the film knowing what you know now. “Arrival” was Denis Villeneuve’s best film so far, and now I cannot wait to see “Blade Runner 2049″ next year!