When mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, an elite team – led by expert linguistic translator Louise Banks (Amy Adams) – is 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 all of humanity. Nominated for 8 Oscars, this was considered one of the best films of 2016.
2016, 2160p, HDR10, 1 hour 54 minutes
DTS-MA 7.1, Rated PG-13, 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker
Directed By: Denis Villenueve
This is one of those rare films that you have to experience twice. At least, for me, it was. The first time is just to take in the narrated story that is presented and the second time to help piece together the original story that had some pretty deep, profound insights on how we view time and deal with the unknown. Basically, one day, several alien spacecraft appear around the world. We are unable to communicate with them and visa-versa. Why are they here and what do they want? While our heroine, the linguistics expert, tries to find a common language, the world’s governments are preparing for a showdown. I liked the realistic military personnel (who also have the same fears as the civilian population) and the strategies they employ, including Whitaker as the Col. who is faced with a “plan B” if communication is not established quickly. It’s the not knowing their true intent that slowly builds up the tension of this film and has you on the edge of your seat during the climax. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say that the story that unfolds doesn’t use a linear timeline…and that leads to an amazing ending.
This is not an Independence Day movie, as there are no lasers and rocket barrages. This is a thinking man’s science fiction flick that delivers the goods. Perhaps I’ll view this again for a third time this weekend. Recommended.
The film’s look is a bit of a puzzle. The artistic intent was to blow out the contrast, so whites are a bit too dazzling and darks are too murky. Even the color gamut is a bit muted from time to time. The film also can be a bit soft and hazy, almost dreamlike. In general, it is razor sharp in the foreground and close-ups, but the UHD version is not a stark upgrade from the full high definition version on Blu-ray. If anything, the UHD version is a bit darker looking. The sound is very good and the gutteral sounds of the “heptapods”, which are cross between tree trunks and 5 legged squids, reminded me of the sounds Humpback whales can make. All the special effects look great, too. Some great cinematography makes this film a cut above the usual space alien movies.
Beside a BD copy, you get: Xenolinguistics: Understanding Arrival, Acoustic Signatures: The Sound Design, Eternal Recurrence: The Score, Non-linear Thinking: The Editorial Process and Principles of Time, Memory and Language. These extras really help you understand what the movie is trying to convey and are worth your time to explore.