Why Arrival is my favorite movie from 2016 (Review written: June 14, 2017)
– Story – Arrival (2016) tells a story about 12 mysterious spaceships that land on Earth. Professor Louise Banks gets hired as a translator, so humans could understand the alien language and therefore know who they are, where did they come from and why. Here I will tell you why Arrival is my favorite movie from 2016. It’s been 6 months since I saw this movie, and I still remember it clearly.
Arrival is really interesting and totally worth watching. It’s not an action movie, it progresses quite slowly - which I find really entertaining. Too many movies are just full of action and lack on plot. Some movies just want to have those wrist fights - no matter how much sense they make. It’s basically just “oh hey, let's make the good guy and bad guy throw their weapons away and start punching instead”. If I had to describe Arrival with just one sentence, I would say “It’s one of those movies that will leave you thinking about the plot even days after you have seen the movie”.
BIG SPOILERS COMING!! Don’t read if you haven’t seen the movie. Also, they won't really make sense if you haven't seen the movie.
– Thoughts – It’s really refreshing how Arrival tricks the viewer. You instantly think the main character, Louise, as a mourning mother who just lost her son. At the end you realize that she wasn’t mourning, she was just having a bad day or maybe that’s just how she normally behaves. The whole movie is about language and time, so it makes sense to not use the whole movie timeline as a forward line, instead make it interesting and actually reveal a piece of the ending at the beginning. That’s a risky move and needs to be used with good preparation, which Arrival totally nails right. Even though Louise knows about her son’s death, she still decides to raise him. It also makes sense on why her son’s father decided to leave Louise, since Louise knew her son’s future and didn’t tell the husband - at least not right away.
Arrival really shows how a movie can be incredibly good without big action scenes or those wrist fights that I mentioned earlier. No big bomb missions with the intention of blowing up the enemy spaceship or big alien creatures walking through huge cities like New York and destroying everything they see. I really shouldn’t even need to mention this, but here we are.
So, what did Arrival do right? Well firstly, the timeline, as I mentioned. It’s like an unwritten rule that time in movies needs to move linearly (unless there’s something that let’s you know it’s a memory for an example), and it was so good to see that rule being broken. Secondly, the lack of action. This movie relied on plot, not action. Arrival made translating an alien language interesting, that’s a lot harder to do than just making a “let's blow this ship up” movie. Thirdly, how unexpected this movie was. You just really couldn’t tell how this movie was going to progress. Will Louise figure out how to communicate with the aliens? What happens when the hidden bomb explodes on the ship? Will some countries start bombing the ships? What will then happen?
It was like a puzzle, and the pieces went together only at the end, before that it was just guessing how the pieces will settle.