* * C
Arrival is a highly overrated film. It is very poorly paced, and the science fiction premise, which I won’t spoil for you, is one I found to be without merit. It follows the science good/military bad trope (like so many films — ET and the Abyss for example — before it). However, actual science is non-existent. There was even less explanation of the alien technology than there was of the woo woo in Interstellar.
Jeremy “Hawkeye” Renner, Amy “Lois Lane” Adams, and Forrest “Saw Gerrara” Whitaker turn in plodding performances in a dull plot that leaves so many unanswered questions. The biggest question of all, raised by character after character in the film, “Why are they here?”, is never answered. How exactly the thing that I won’t spoil is supposed to work is never explained, other than by quoting a famous linguistic theory that seems fairly irrelevant to what happens.
If you were expecting, like I was, from the hype this film has received (80% on IMDB, 94% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes) that it would be another Martian, or at least be as good as the over hyped Interstellar, prepare to be disappointed. This film has more in common with Monsters, though I’d say it was slightly better than that. It’s hard to understand how so many critics gave this five stars, when a few called it like it was:
A yawn-inducing snoozefest that borrows from every science fiction film from The Day the Earth Stood Still to Contact
— Jim Schembri, 3AW
On a side note, this film continues a trend pointed out by others: The Chinese are, as they were in the Martian, given a role in the film. When the US Army and the CIA screw things up, it is the Chinese who once again come to the rescue. This is interesting, since on January 19, 2017, Shanghai Film Group Corp. and Huahua Media said they would finance at least at least 25% of all Paramount Pictures movies over a three-year period and help distribute and market Paramount’s features in China. At the time, the Wall Street Journal wrote that “nearly every major Hollywood studio has a co-financing deal with a Chinese company.”