Opinions vary widely on this Arrival, but I liked it. Yes, the whole circular time thing and the “I see the future because I’ve lived it” thing has been done quite a bit in science fiction. That was only a piece of this story. Some might say it was a blind alley to keep you off-center while the important piece of the story worked its way into your mind.
I had not seen Forest Whitaker in anything in a while so I was mighty glad he did a fine job here. Seems like not all that long ago Forest Whitaker was in lots of stuff and then he disappeared. Nice to have him back.
The real beauty of this tale from the reality standpoint is these aliens can defy gravity, fly across galaxies, even make an odd shaped ship stand on its nose, but they can’t talk to us. Science fiction has glossed over this Grand Canyon eight ways to Sunday. It is starting to get talked about more and more now that really rich people are talking about funding a Mars colony. Part of getting a colony on Mars will require at least a temporary mining and launching facility on our moon. Once we have launch facilities on two much lighter gravity objects, we could launch much farther. The lack of gravity means the same amount of fuel takes you farther.
Long ago we had this conversation when we launched the Voyager spacecraft. You may remember The Golden Records. We humans were faced with the reality we could be far more advanced than any intelligent species we encounter. This was our feeble attempt at explaining who we were and how we communicated. While you are reading about The Golden Records you should click the link to read up on Blind Willie.
There is visual appeal in Arrival for those not into the cerebral portions of it. All in all it is a very fine movie.
Enhance Your Experience
You can enhance your movie experience if you listen to the Radio Lab podcast on Bliss not too long after having seen this movie. Be sure to listen through to to the story of Mr. Bliss who spent seven years of his life creating a symbol based method of communication then he and his wife spent all of their money to publish thousands of copies of the title to send to lots of different government agencies around the world only to be completely ignored.
Oh, don’t worry, there is far more to the story of Mr. Bliss, I just don’t want to cheat you of the experience. In a way it parallels the story of “Arrival” because there is much more to that movie than most people see the first time.