Arrival - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Arrival Reviews

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½ August 21, 2017
Amazing film about communication & understanding, couched in an effective Sci-Fi plotline about humanity's first contact with extraterrestrials . . .
½ August 20, 2017
I am genuinely really surprised at the praise this movie has been given, because my opinion on this movie is completely different. I have to be honest, I didn't like "Arrival". I am really confused as to why people seem to love it so much, because the entire movie was a snooze for me. It didn't seem to really have anything actually interesting in it, and personally I just got extremely bored with it. I will say, Amy Adams (Dr. Louise Banks) did a great job in this movie, her role was definitely difficult to pull off, but she did it marvellously, and to me she was the best part of this movie. The movie is about an alien landing on earth, and the whole movie is about the entire world trying to figure out these alien's purpose of landing on our planet, and to figure out whether or not these aliens are harmful. When they try to find out these alien's purpose, however, the movie completely drags on, for what feels like forever. They are slowly piecing the puzzle together, but I just felt as though they did it in a way that was incredibly boring, and didn't at all capture my interest in the story. It does slightly pick up towards the end, however because the beginning was so boring to me I just didn't really care much for it at that point. I really am shocked with how high this movie is rated, because personally, I think that "Arrival" is definitely not worth watching.
½ August 20, 2017
Eerie, yet oddly beautiful, slow yet strongly scripted and paced, Arrival is a true sci-fi classic with meaningful moments and intrigue.
½ August 20, 2017
Intelligent sci-fi thriller, of the kind they don't make enough. Some great images (the pods hovering over the vaste, misty American landscape), top-notch acting (Adams confirms she is one of the most talented A-list actresses of this age) and a plot-twist to warrant multiple viewings to discover new elements ( la Sixth Sense).
August 20, 2017
It could have been interesting as the concept and the aliens are pretty cool, but the painfully slow pacing and lifeless performances made it an ordeal to sit through.
August 19, 2017
An intelligent and engaging film lead by a strong performance from Amy Adams. A faithful adaptation of the short story perhaps takes itself a little too seriously but it is definitely worth a watch!
½ August 19, 2017
I thought the movie started out well....it had my interest...it wasn't a typical sci fi movie....it explored a subject i find fascinating.....then it took a rough turn. Could have ended much better and it took on a topic that I just struggle with (for purposes of not spoiling I won't say much more)
½ August 19, 2017
It was definitely an intellectual intensity. It was very interesting.
August 19, 2017
A movie about aliens that speak a circular language. it was ok but nothing to write home about
August 18, 2017
It was really good. Not as tricky as I was expecting. But fun.
August 17, 2017
I wasn't interested in seeing this in the cinemas. There was just something not quite right with the trailer, it really didn't make me go "Wow that looks brilliant" more so "Oh look, yet another Alien/Space movie." That being said, I am so glad I decided to watch it. Great storyline that allows the audience to become attached to the characters quickly and suspends belief in order for you to follow the ambitious plot line. Good performances all-round. Great SFX and brilliant soundtrack. Can see influences from Nolan and Spielberg here but that isn't a problem at all, and there is a definite hint of Hans Zimmer from the soundtrack. Thoroughly enjoyed this movie and what a pleasant surprise it was given my initial thoughts on it following the trailers. Highly recommend.
½ August 17, 2017
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) Scott, it looks like we ve finally arrived

SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) ... and its about time. Literally. Let s get to reviewing this next movie about alien visitation.

GREG: We re introduced to Professor Leslie Banks (Amy Adams) who is having a strange day as 12 shells (very large egg-shaped alien craft) have landed across the world. She s visited by a Colonel Webber (Forest Whitaker) who insists she help him translate the speech patterns of the aliens. She resists but ultimately gives in when her curiosity gets the better of her. She s whisked away to a midwest town where she is paired with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and must discover the reason for the alien visit.

SCOTT: Banks and Donnelly meet two of the aliens and nickname them Abbott and Costello. Communication seems impossible until Banks attempts written language. She discovers that the aliens writing is composed of complex circular characters and sentences, and she also discovers that the more she deciphers the language, the more strange visions she has of herself raising a child. Meanwhile, in China, General Shang (Tzi Ma) is about to wage war with the aliens, making it imperative that Banks and Donnelly crack the code before disaster strikes.

GREG: Arrival is a film that arrived without much fanfare. I don t recall seeing any previews for it in the theaters or ads on TV. So, I had very few preconceptions going in. And I was pleasantly surprised. This is an arguably ponderous film with very little action and a lot of dialog. It s a thinking-man s movie, so it appealed to me. One of the opening scenes has physicist Donnelly reading Banks book which states that all interactions begin with language. But he differs - claiming the basis for communication is science. Whereas Colonel Webber is looking at the situation from a tactical point of view. And so the stage is set for a three-way confrontation of ideals. And in the end, it is Banks view that wins out. I was favorably impressed.

SCOTT: Greg, I loved Arrival. It s been a long time since we ve encountered a meaty science fiction story that really makes you think. I was struck by the possibility that our language is not so much a reflection of our linear thinking but a determinant of it. The temporal non-linearity of the aliens was fascinating and allowed for some truly creative plot developments. We re also treated to some wonderfully innovative renditions of aliens and alien language. Not to mention that Amy Adams delivers a terrific performance as a hero who must piece together the temporal puzzle to save the world. It all adds up to a stellar movie, pardon the pun.

GREG: Amy Adams was definitely the brightest star in this film. Her character Leslie Banks undergoes a strong transformation from disillusioned academic to an enlightened world figure. She also exhibits uncommon empathy for the aliens. She puts aside her innate fear of the unknown and is captivated by the question of what is the purpose of the alien visit. I found her very inspiring.

SCOTT: Banks definitely goes on an inspired hero s journey -- yet another example of Hollywood finally getting it that women characters can make tremendous heroes in the movies. The hero s journey begins with Banks answering the call from the military to make first contact with aliens who have landed in Montana. She immediately assumes a lead role in her partnership with Donnelly, a physicist on her team. Her missing quality is her understanding of the alien language, and the keys to her acquiring this quality are her openness to thinking outside the box, her trust that the aliens will do no harm, and her courage to defy the military s antagonistic approach to the alien encounter. Banks possesses many of the great eight characteristics of heroes; she is smart, strong, resilient, reliable, caring, inspiring, and selfless. In keeping with the hero s journey, she encounters a love interest (Donnelly), allies in Abbott, Costello, and oppositional forces in the military and CIA. Her mentors turn out to be the aliens themselves, who have arrived to help the earth understand and change their language and use of time. In exchange, the earth will help the aliens 3,000 years from now. Everything comes full circle, which is beautifully symbolized in the alien circular linguistic characters.

GREG: The aliens are good mentor figures here. And we also see that Banks acts as a hero-mentor in that she mentors the aliens in our language. After all, it is she who instructs the aliens, not the other way around. However, this does imply a bit of a plot hole. If the aliens are so advanced, why are they so dense in understanding our language? Compare to our own understanding of animal language. It is human researchers who have taught apes to speak American Sign Language. I would think it incumbent upon the more advanced civilization to find a way to communicate with us. Arrival is a departure from other first contact movies like Contact and Close Encounters of the Third Kind where language is the source of the communication. I enjoyed the slow burn from fear to understanding for all the characters in the story. I give Arrival 4 out of 5 Reels. Dr. Banks is a great hero who undergoes a transformation from naive to educated in the ways of the alien creatures. Like many heroes we ve studied in the last few years, she has a super power which in this case is the ability to understand language. But it is her human innate quality of empathy which endears Banks to us. I give her 4 out of 5 Hero points. And Banks is the most excellent hero-mentor. And when you join her with the superior alien-mentors we get a mentoring experience that goes beyond what most films offer. I give Banks and the aliens 4 out of 5 Mentor points. Movie: Mentors: Heroes:

SCOTT: Arrival is the science fiction you ve been looking for in film for several years now. Greg, the plot hole you identify is not so much a hole but the key to understanding the puzzle with which the aliens present humanity. Twelve shells arrive on earth, each with a different piece to the puzzle that the twelve earth stations must share to unravel the mystery. The idea is to bring humanity together in a non-zero-sum-game-like way. This guiding principle, along with stunningly crafted heptapods and their innovative language, make Arrival a treat to watch. I give this film the full 5 Reels out of 5. Louise Banks proves herself braver and smarter than all her male counterparts in both developing a working relationship with the aliens and in deciphering their cryptic language. She encounters friends who help her and foes who oppose her, and she undergoes a profound mental transformation. In our latest book Reel Heroes & Villains, we define a mental transformation as a significant change in the way that a hero views the workings of the universe. Banks now sees time, language, and thought as intertwined. She travels the full hero s journey, including the act of giving back to society what she has learned in the form of lectures and a book on the universal language of the heptapods. She earns the full 5 Heroes out of 5. The mentorship is also strong in this film, with the aliens mentoring Banks as well as the entire human race itself. Our planet is taught how essential it is for our survival to adopt a non-zero-sum philosophy in our international relations. You re right, Greg, that Banks also mentors the aliens -- although I suspect they intentionally adopted a passive stance in the first contact proceedings to force us to do the work of deciphering and cooperating with each other internationally. Oh, and let s not forget that the future Louise Banks mentored the present-day Louise Banks via many hallucinogenic messages. In short, the mentoring is rich in this film and also merits the full 5 Mentor points out of 5. Movie: Mentors: Heroes:
½ August 16, 2017
Incredibly intelligent movie
August 16, 2017
Boasting gorgeous visuals, a superb performance from Amy Adams and a very smartly written yet deceptively simple story that feels utterly realistic in its portrayal of events, 'Arrival' is a striking sci-fi for the thinking man. It's Villeneuve's direction, however, that really sets the tone for the whole film and, once again, he proves that he is one of the very best directors out there when it comes to creating a unique, palpable atmosphere that affects you in an almost visceral way. The deliberately slow-pacing allows the characters and story room to breathe, and the score is well-chosen: just subtle enough so as not to overpower the visuals whilst simultaneously heightening the effect of a particular scene. Mysterious, intriguing and affecting, this is a truly memorable film.
½ August 15, 2017
"If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?"
½ August 15, 2017
It's quite surprising that this film would get such a high RT score. I would have expected it to be more polarizing. Not much happens in the film and there's a lot of introspection and navel-gazing. And then there's the ending.... I imagine that hooked most people, though I'm not sure how I felt about it. Is this basically a good M Night Shamalan film...? You decide. Worth seeing on a quiet evening.
½ August 13, 2017
Some mystical moments after trudging through many boring military themed scenes.
August 13, 2017
Kinda boring... sat through this waiting to see what the big deal was, and it was all so aliens could give Amy Adams a fucking thesaurus and show her her future dead daughter. Thanks a lot, Obama. Hehe
½ August 12, 2017
Simply amazing... One conversation can change your life, one conversation can change the world.
August 11, 2017
Really amazing aliens arrive to earth movie
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