Arrival Comes to Blu-ray and Digital, Brings No Excitement

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Arrival on Blu-ray

Not since M. Night Shyamalan's SIGNS has there been an alien encounter story as sedate as Denis Villeneuve's ARRIVAL. It's an apt comparison, because the audience is mislead by nonlinear storytelling, beginning before the arrival of the aliens and the film's leading lady's encounter with them.

Amy Adams plays Louis Banks, a master linguist who has helped the U.S. Army on past occassions with translations. When a dozen alien ships arrive and park themselves around the planet, the Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) brings her in to assist mathematician Ian Donnelly (JEREMY RENNER) to somehow communicate with these aliens so we can find out what they want.

While this goes on, countries around the world react differently, some preparing for war, and all intra-country communication gets cut off. There's a complete lack of cooperation. Complicating matters, the more Louise studies the alien language, translating it, the more she begins to think about her daughter, who died at a young age of a very rare disease.

Cause and effect are thrown out the window, sacrificed to special effects and the big cerebral idea. Granted, it's a pretty cool big cerebral idea, but it doesn't lend itself much in the way of action. Compounding that, Adams' performance is perpetually devoid of emotion, much like her Lois Lane in BATMAN V SUPERMAN. I miss the Amy Adams we got in ENCHANTED and JULIE & JULIA. The chemistry that should exist with Jeremy Renner is nonexistent. (Hey, if she can't get excited for Superman, what chance does Hawkeye have?)

Overall, ARRIVAL isn't an exciting movie, and it leaves behind far too many questions about the elements it introduces. It's as though the writers stumbled across a couple of intriguing ideas and tried to weave a story around them, which ultimately meant the characters sat around and talked about the intriguing ideas. It's not unwatchable, but it's not rewatchable, either.

2.5 / 5.0