Intelligent science fiction is rare. Big budget, poorly plotted pulp like Transformers, Independence Day: Resurgence and Superman VS Batman are unfortunately the rule rather than the exception. Arrival, fortunately, sounds like it could be one of the exceptions. Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Twenty-four critics on Rotten Tomatoes have already given Arrival positive recommendations, calling it a tense, complex, hard science fiction film that’s not afraid to deal with abstract ideas. Given this early reaction, it’s great to hear that the same director is now hard at work on the Blade Runner sequel.
Based on a short work called Story of your life by Ted Chiang, Arrival is the story of linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). They are part of an elite team assigned to investigate the sudden appearance of mysterious alien spacecraft that have landed in twelve different countries. Because each spacecraft is being investigated by a different country based team, Louise and Ian must try and unravel the intentions and language of an alien species, while simultaneously coping with diverse global responses that could lead to a war with the aliens, a world war or both.
Arrival is the first science fiction film from director Denis Villeneuve, best known for Prisoners and the moody, Mexican crime thriller Sicario.
On a break from the Budapest set of the Blade Runner sequel, Villeneuve told Variety he had gone straight from one to the other. “The minute I finished Arrival I landed on another set in full prep on another project.” However, he said there is no connection between the two films. “…besides the fact that they are both science fiction. That’s why I was able to work on both at the same time. I was able to do that because the two projects have a totally different DNA. They are like a giraffe and an elephant.”
Forest Whitaker also stars as Colonel Weber, a senior US military colonel. Arrival is due out 11 November 2016.
Watch the latest trailer for Arrival above. When the first previews of the new Blade Runner film are shown, I’m hoping for an equally enthusiastic reaction from audiences and critics.