Monday, November 14, 2016

Movie Review - The Arrival

Spoiler Alert - movie review. I went to see The Arrival, a movie in which Louise Banks', a Professor of Linguistics, played by Amy Adams, class is cancelled when giant heptapuses (like an octopus but with seven legs) in their giant spaceships, 12 of them, don't quite land on Earth, but hover a few feet above requiring a scissor lift to access a mysterious door that opens every 18 hours. The 12 and 18 are never explained. The aliens landed in Montana, which makes perfect sense, as well as 11 other spots on the planet. The Army enlists Professor Banks as a translator because she apparently assisted some time earlier translating something which lead to blowing up terrorists in some unnamed middle eastern country. Anyway, Louise has lost a daughter to an unknown fatal disease, but by the end of the movie in a bit of a time loop I haven't quite unscrambled, meets the man who will be her daughter's father except that at the beginning of the movie the daughter has already died. As usual, as they always do in these movies, Army troops try to kill the aliens and do indeed kill the one Louise and her husband-to-be, a physicist played by Jeremy Renner, named Costello, as in Abbot and Costello. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is invoked, which I appreciated as a student of language, as the difficulty of translating a non-alphabetic language written in black ink smoke- rings in the foggy interior of the spaceship is explored to answer the questions about why they are here and what do they want. And then there's the climactic phone call between Professor Banks and a Chinese general which is never explained but which saves the planet. The General, in the future, informs Dr. Banks at a post-alien-scare cocktail party that she should call him in the past and then whispers in her ear what to say in their past conversation that didn't take place but will take place some number of months ago and which ends a potentially humanity-ending conflagration - a lovely topsy-turvy quantum nonlocality paradoxic mindbender. I love time-loop paradoxes in movies like in The Twelve Monkeys, or Slaughterhouse Five, or that Star Trek episode where the number three keeps appearing over and over again in card games, and rank pins on somebody's collar, before android Data finally figures it out, The Edge of Tomorrow in which Tom Cruise relives an apocalyptic Groundhog Day, or Ground Hog Day in which Bill Murray -well, you all know that one, or Timecop with Jean-Claude Van Damme walking a timecop beat back and forth from the past to the present, or The Terminator movies where a future artificial intelligence sends back the Terminator to kill the mother of John Connor, the head of the future resistance, and in one of those time-warp paradoxes is impregnated with her son by Kyle Reese, a human sent back from that same future by her son to protect her. "There's a storm a' coming," says that Mexican gas station attendant. "I know," says Sarah Connor. Anyway, it was an interesting movie I'd see again sometime for sure, unless I already have. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 93.


Blogger Mary Campbell said...

Thanks, Bud. I won't be seeing this movie because it can't possibly measure up to your critique. 5 stars. If you've ever read THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE (seeing the movie, which was a dismal adaptation of a great book, doesn't count), I want to ask you about a logical fallacy I might or might not have found.

9:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home