Did I like it?
Arrrival was one of those hyped Oscar contenders. I did not watch it in cinemas or even noticed a trailer. Then I bought it on Blu-ray and gave it a watch. And I was not very pleased with it. I could not think of much I liked or disliked since not much happened in the movie itself. It begins with a short introduction of the protagonists, both try to communicate with aliens and it ends as quick as it begun. I had two thoughts in mind. Let’s go ahead.
+ Strong directing
Denis Villneneuve is – as noticed and stated before – one of the most talented directors now working. He does it so good. He knows how to be subtle, observing and giving the actors and scenes its needed place. I liked the scene in the beginning, where he zooms onto the protagonist and on the left side of the frame are jets flying. Wow. That shot blew my mind. It looked so simple, yet looked so good. And every scene following was as magical as the ones before. You could follow the story through the eyes of the protagonists and how they perceive the ongoing story. Nothing distracting was there, nothing annyoing. Only the actors and the scenes. Such talent is really impressive.
– Weak writing
The potential for Arrival was immense. You could explore how mankind deals with aliens and how they would be contacted first. But that big part is only a small part. Most of the time we get to see news and media reports and some experts. No big and fancy debate. I know this movie is not about this topic, but it could have been a greater part of the overarching story. The writing itself was not bad in itself; just too limited. I don’t know the source material though. Even if I knew it: It could have been expanded. To how the people would react etc. (Something ‘Man of Steel’ tried and failed.) The characters are a bit pale. Even though I admit: How can you boast up a scientist? The dialogue could have gotten bit more into the details of the characters. How they perceive the first contact and how they dealt with it. It seemed like it was no big deal that aliens landed. It could have been a bit more full of depth. How angry they got ‘cause they don’t understand. How they doubt and struggle. It is unfulfilled potential.
Bottom line: It did not deserve its Oscar nominations.