It has been a long time since a commercial science-fiction movie has addressed itself!
However, there are arguably few tougher tasks in Hollywood nowadays than making a science fiction movie. If you have the option of funding Jurassic World, or a complex, cerebral sci-fi movie with barely any action in it and no pre-established IP, then the ‘smart’ investment is always going to be the big dinosaur movie.
Sometimes, though, Hollywood bites the bullet, and takes a chance on something a little more unusual than the mainstream, big budget sci-fi that’s out there. Which, of course, shouldn’t really be a surprise at all.
Arrival, though, suffers from no obvious creative compromise, no evidence of studio interference or marketing pressures shining through a subtle, slow-moving exploration of grief, linguistics and first contact. In other words?
Arrival is an Independent Sci-Fi movie in big budget clothing.
The movie may feature a whole host of box-office-friendly stars (Adams, Renner and Whitaker also star in DC, Marvel and Star Wars-themed projects, respectively), it’s not attempting to tread on the toes of, say, Mad Max: Fury Road, or Edge of Tomorrow.It is, in effect, a more 1970’s-style approach to science fiction film-making
In Arrival, the appearance of a spaceship on the film’s poster will be enough to turn some people away. Aliens? Interplanetary travel? Confusing talk about time and space? Pffft, I’m so out! – Just kidding.
Apparently, much of this movie would be the same if you simply replaced the aliens with a new race of humans. Both groups would still have to figure out how to talk to each other, and both would worry about the other’s intentions. Do the visitors come in peace? Will the established civilization have the patience to talk or will they simply wipe out a potential threat? That, apparently, you will figure it out when you are going to watch it!