The Film (4/5)
Louise (Amy Adams) is a professor of linguistics who is teaching a class on Portuguese on the day that alien spaceships arrive at 12 points on Earth. As she is considered one of the greatest interpreters of language on the planet she is called in by the U.S. government to help open up discussions with the aliens who have emerged from the ships. She first tries to interpret the sounds of their language, but is quick to discover their language is a written one that appears in great black blooms. She works alongside physicist Ian played by Jeremy Renner (The Avengers) to answer the simple question "Why are they here?"
Arrival simply put will grow to become one of the great cerebral sci-fi classics in years to come. The film especially in the third act begins to use time and spacial displacement in interesting ways, and I think that this alone will reward multiple viewings. The direction from Denis Villeneueve is excellent, with pacing that is never dull, and a style that is considered clinical, but is definitely in keeping with the world being presented on screen. The performances from the cast are superb with Adams providing what proves to be a truly time-spanning, and dynamic performace as Louise. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker also turn in superb performances.
Arrival seems to follow a trend in modern science fiction (think Gravity and the Martian) in that a takes such a huge, world and time spanning, epic concept, and turns it into a small and intimate story. I actually feel that Arrival does this better than any of the others, and without making it seem ham fisted in its approach. The balance between the geo-political nature of the alien event, and the life and redemption of Louise is extremely well handled here, and part of what makes Arrival such a powerful film.
Arrival is presented by Paramount in a splendid 2:39:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the films OAR. Everything looks quite sharp here, colors are well reproduced, though it's mostly sterile Earth tones, whites, and blacks, Detail is sharp, and I did not find much to complain about.
Audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track in English. The track is excellent with great sound separation, dialogue and score are crisp and clear.
Paramount brings Arrival to Blu-ray with a nice little selection of making of featurettes including a general one that goes into adapting the story and making the film, one on editing, another on the score, and the sound design, and an interesting one on the science behind it all.
Arrival is the best Hollywood produced science fiction film I've seen in a long time. The Blu-ray looks and sounds incredible, and has a nice slate of extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.