Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

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flyonthewall2983
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Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#1 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:36 pm


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John Cope
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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#2 Post by John Cope » Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:47 pm

This is how you do a marketing campaign for a film as deeply mysterious as Arrival, successfully preserving and enhancing that mystery. From the glimpses we get here it would appear that Villeneuve has cinematically heightened the much more subdued staging of events from the short story. That seems very much to me as it should be, especially as that story does not read as particularly cinematic at all. Some really wonderful stark imagery here. I guess we'll know more next week.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#3 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:38 pm

Shame they chickened out and gave it a generic title (How'd that work out for "All You Need is Kill" again?) instead of that of the pleasingly cryptic source, "Story of Your Life"

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#4 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:40 pm

Story of Your Life sounds like a syrupy rom-com or a wannabe prestige picture. Not that the title now is any better, makes me think of Charlie Sheen.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#5 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:42 pm

Should've called it Amy Adams Still Needs An Oscar

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#6 Post by Luke M » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:59 pm

Can't see Adams getting an Oscar for a sci-fi flick.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#7 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:43 pm


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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#8 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:04 am

domino harvey wrote:"All You Need is Kill"
I still hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that title - it's probably the least awful of the three, but they really did seem trapped in a wash of bad options with that one

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#9 Post by djproject » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:14 am

"To Serve Man" was already taken ;) =D

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Re: The Films of 2016

#10 Post by barryconvex » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:13 am

I can hardly believe it but i didn't really like Arrival. I've enjoyed all of Villeneuve's films, i love Amy Adams but this one didn't work for me. I will wait for others to see it before i post anything about the actual story except to say that the big finale elicited a response in me that was something akin to...um, come again? There are parts of this that are excellent, the fist half particularly is very well done. Adams is strong as usual, Renner and Whitaker are both good but this did not come anywhere near the profundities it was aiming for in its third act.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#11 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:23 pm

God, what a flawless movie.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#12 Post by D50 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:40 am

I don't recall a trailer where there were scenes that were added to throw you off the plot and never made it into the film.

There were two main instances where the movie deviated from Ted Chiang's short story (Story of Your Life)
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The way in which her daughter died, and the discovery and explanation of heptapod time. The inference that Louise could see the future was new and I don't recall that from the book (actually a very thick bible of a library paperback - the 1171 paged The Big Book of Science Fiction, double columned, with Story of your Life only a dozen or so pages.)
The first wasn't very important, but the second allowed me to understand the conclusion more. I did see the trailer before reading it, and I could picture Amy Adams as Louise very clearly, like Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#13 Post by barryconvex » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:13 pm

Luke M wrote:Can't see Adams getting an Oscar for a sci-fi flick.
I really will stand up and cheer when she does finally win one but it's not going to happen for this role. I love Amy Adams but this part is not showy enough to win an oscar unfortunately...

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#14 Post by D50 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:43 am


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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#15 Post by LQ » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:11 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:God, what a flawless movie.
Agreed. I was entirely bowled over by this film, from the heady and beautiful concepts structuring the film's foundation, to the elegant way form and content are interwoven so that each heightens and complements the other - and then of course by the human element, god bless Amy Adams. Arrival is such a generous and heartfelt ode to the best elements of humanity, and while not its intention, it has special relevance in this current moment of immense division and ugliness. Art is truly salve for the soul, and this couldn't have come out at a better time.
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While watching, I was initially disappointed with what I took to be flashbacks to the daughter - a movie so otherwise unusual and smart, just pulling a retread of Gravity 's dead-kid backstory as humanizing driver? But all along, Villeneuve has been using the language of cinema to underscore the central core of the film, systems of expression guiding the way one processes reality - and what I took to be rote flashbacks at once reveal themselves to be non-chronological in a way that transcends 'flashback' or 'flash forward'. Very clever.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#16 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:24 pm

I was not so taken - the first two acts were essentially flawless, especially a narrated montage midway through that despite being sort of a benign catch-up session, made me weep my eyes out at the beauty of the mysterious, titular arrival and how surreally without explanation or aggression it is. But the more that gets revealed later on, the poetry of Arrival becomes compromised. Yes, it had a great message, but it had so much more potential than being a message movie.
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I thought that once the bomb appears, humanity would simply miss out on whatever was trying to be communicated, and it wouldn't be until the dense tapestry of language that is thrown up right before the explosion is decoded that everyone would know what they missed out on by abandoning patience with the creatures. Instead, it is an act within the narrative of the film that is consequence-free, for the most part - the plot then starts to chug along and fill in blanks at a maddening pace, when the blanks were what made Arrival so special.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#17 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:59 am

A question that's been driving me crazy about this:
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Why would Ian leave Louise, especially if she has no choice in changing the future (which is presumably the case, or her publishing a book on learning this alien language could potentially be very dangerous for humanity, if everyone is bouncing around in time and making changes to their choices both in the future and in the past)? Could she not explain to the theoretical physicist love of her life how all of this works at some point, and that she did not have a choice in the matter? And again, if she did have a choice, doesn't that totally complicate the implications of the aliens' language now being available to the entirety of humanity? And isn't this something the two would be able to adequately discuss without dissolving their family? It's a very strange link in the chain of the chronology of Louise's life in the future.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#18 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:40 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:A question that's been driving me crazy about this...
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From what I took from the film (I haven't read the short story), Ian feels betrayed because Louise didn't tell him before she got pregnant that their child would die during adolescence even though she was aware of that fact. We don't know, or I don't recall, when Louise tells him Hannah is fated to die young, but I could understand the shock of that news coming during Hannah's childhood could be enough to create a split between them.

The story clearly implies that humans are expected to assist in allowing future events to occur to avoid disaster, but it's not clear how much impact that assistance will have nor whether humans can actively change future events. I suspect the rules are fairly rigid in regards to what can be accomplished.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#19 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:48 pm

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If he knows that she's unable to change her decision making, and had already seen the rift it would've created between them, would that theoretically open up the possibility for her to even make any changes to the way she approaches anything? Is she now speaking sentences that she already has memories of, unable to make any alteration to her words or inflection? The can of worms that the reveal opens feels like too much metaphysical wonder with not enough considerations to the details. I repeat: I liked this film a lot better when we didn't know what these creatures were here to accomplish, and just saw how it affected everyone involved in trying to find out, and much less once we found out. The questions are far superior to their answers.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#20 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:58 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
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...The questions are far superior to their answers.
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They usually are with science fiction! Your criticisms are valid, but I felt the reveal/message was handled lightly and interestingly enough to encourage me to ruminate on the resolution instead of immediately dismissing it as disappointing. As it is, humans have been given 3,000 years to practice the new language enough to be able to help the alien race. For Louise, I imagine her ability to see the future is imperfect and she has chosen to simply experience the moments as they come regardless of how specifically she has foreseen the details of those moments.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#21 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:01 pm

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I absolutely feel as if the flash-forward stuff would work much better had we never met Hannah's father - certainly if he were anyone other than Ian. Someone who hadn't been in the trenches with her working on this incredibly complex set of circumstances first hand.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#22 Post by barryconvex » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:50 pm

I was not so taken - the first two acts were essentially flawless, especially a narrated montage midway through that despite being sort of a benign catch-up session, made me weep my eyes out at the beauty of the mysterious, titular arrival and how surreally without explanation or aggression it is. But the more that gets revealed later on, the poetry of Arrival becomes compromised. Yes, it had a great message, but it had so much more potential than being a message movie.
mfunk9786 wrote:
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...The can of worms that the reveal opens feels like too much metaphysical wonder with not enough considerations to the details. I repeat: I liked this film a lot better when we didn't know what these creatures were here to accomplish, and just saw how it affected everyone involved in trying to find out, and much less once we found out. The questions are far superior to their answers.
I agree with mfunk on just about all of this. The best part of the movie is just how alien the aliens are and the sheer amount of effort that goes into communicating with an almost unknowable presence is done extremely well. For the film to come so close to greatness then misfire in the last third was especially hard to swallow as it was headed towards becoming something really special.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#23 Post by solaris72 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:47 pm

This and Sicario are the only Villeneuve films I've seen (and I loved Sicario, I've seen it 6 times now) and I think they present a very interesting counterpoint.
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Sicario is about damnation and Arrival about salvation, both heavy on tunnel imagery (which for me in movies always brings to mind medieval spiritual allegories), and each film's central tunnel mirrors the other both metaphysically and cosmologically, Arrival's key tunnel being an Ouranian tunnel, into the sky, vs. Sicario's chthonic one, into the underworld. The mechanism of damnation/salvation is parallel in each film- Sicario's damnation comes through an overreaching cross-border operation, whereas Arrival's salvation comes through shedding the limitations of borders.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#24 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:30 pm

Well-put. I recently watched Sicario again and it definitely holds up.

This brings the recent rejuvenation of sci-fi as a more serious genre to another level. Much more about ideas (and another positive sign that Hollywood is leaning towards heroes who use intellect as their primary weapon) and not as concerned with the more fantastic (or terrifying pop culture idea of aliens, but of drawing a parallel to how we deal with what we cannot understand.

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Re: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)

#25 Post by Luke M » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:05 am

I didn't realize this was the same director as Sicario. I thought Sicario was a movie that fell apart in its final act while Arrival flowed well through the end. Adams was phenomenal. I still don't think she'll win an Oscar but this was a top 3 performance for her. I think we've been fortunate enough to see some truly brilliant sci-fi films of the last 10-15 years and this is one of those films.

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