ARRIVAL film

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  • i should’ve started this thread like two weeks ago… but… ARRIVAL. !!! We loved it, and i keep seeing it pop up in my news feed as friends see it and exsplatterate. Discussion, anyone?

    I loved that I didn’t realize until 3/4 of the way through the movie that we were seeing flash forwards, not flash backs.

    ---Hutchmaster Prime, wielder of great and terrible cheeses

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    I really enjoyed watching this movie (this afternoon), but I’m struggling with how disappointed I felt coming out of it.  Was it the ending?  Would it have been better without/with a different last 5 minutes?  I know the first and last lines are supposed to be important, but I feel like the last line spoon-fed me a point that I didn’t want the movie to end up having.  And what was this movie about anyways?  Do you think it answered this question?  These are my honest questions, and some of what I think makes me not feel as good about this movie as I did when I was watching it.

    I make no claims to having a very refined response, so please consider this an opportunity to “sharpen” an amateur moviegoer.

    And so as to not sound too disparaging, I totally loved certain parts of it.  From having a Linguist as a main character to all the time spent looking upwards, to the mystery surrounding Hannah’s father.  I thought the classroom scene when everything started happening was incredibly well-done too (I was in high school on 9/11, so that connects with me pretty effectively).

    I don’t recall the last lines, but the last five minutes were what elevated it to greatness. And Amy Adams’ delivery of the answer to “Do you want to make a baby?” was an incredible piece of acting. Just gorgeous and complicated and real and painful and beautiful and the way that question informed the rest of the film was a real work of craftsmanship.

    ---Hutchmaster Prime, wielder of great and terrible cheeses

    i’m with @pete. The flash-forwards, and Amy Adams’ character leaning into a future she knew would both hurt her and be worth it… wow.

    @danrechlin, what was the point you felt the movie spoon-fed you? What was it about that point that made you recoil?

    i’m pretty allergic to questions of what a story is about. That’s not to say that the story isn’t trying to communicate something or that we can’t discern it, but i don’t want to jump ahead.

    i don’t recall her answering the question she posed to Jeremy Renner’s character at the end, which (unless i’m misremembering) is telling. Can anything of the future she’s already experiencing nonlinearly change? If it could, would that disrupt the future the Heptapods need her to create? If nothing changes, is that okay? Or do they need her to actively change something?

    i think we need more stories that end this way. We’ve been poisoned by too many happy endings. Not because happy endings are untrue, but because they alone are not sufficient to prepare us to live in an untidy world where the happy ending is still coming and everything is still so untidy.

    Jonathan is dragging me through DS9 right now and there are some precise parallels in the pilot episode. Weird.

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    DS9 is the best of all the Star Treks.

    ---Hutchmaster Prime, wielder of great and terrible cheeses

    This is why I have a policy against forming strong opinions of movies within the first 24 hours of seeing them in the theater; a policy which I decided to ignore this time.  I think you’ve persuaded me to wait until I watch it again to fully accept my first inclination, since I might be imagining the part at the end where it feels like they’re saying ‘in case you missed it, this is the question this movie was really asking.’  On thinking about it, I realized I might still be jaded from the ending of Interstellar (the other mind-bending, “best sci-fi movie in…,” in which aliens intervene in someone’s personal events by allowing them to de-linearize time in order to save humanity from the problems it’s caused – another discussion for another day).  Maybe this is oneranalyzing, but I want to watch Arrival again fully aware of that bias I have.

    As to ‘what this movie’s about,’ it was more that I left the theater thinking that, whichever way you slice it, there are big chunks of this movie that I was unconvinced needed to exist.  I got really excited watching a movie about the power, beauty, and necessity of communication, which I felt like I had been hungry for without knowing it.  I was really hopeful when it seemed like Louise would have to realize that the only way to make the meaningful connections she needed to was to let the most painful parts of her life completely inform her work and words.  I was fascinated by these creatures who were intellectually superior to humans, and who seemed to be intensely interested in humanity’s emotional intelligence and capabilities, for the good of both races.  I guess I really wanted it to be an ‘aliens’ movie, and that part of me was put off when they changed it to being actually a ‘humans’ movie, sort of (which I thought was what the last 5 minutes did for it).  My thinking was something like ‘if this was a humans movie, I suddenly see a lot less necessity for there to be aliens in such a central place in it.’  Maybe this is just me, and I do look forward to watching it again now.

    p.s. Add me to the list of people who are glad you are watching DS-9, no matter how much dragging it takes 😉

    @pete, because it’s most like B5? 😛

    @danrechlin i need to rewatch it also. And Interstellar is the worst. i wanted to like it and it wouldn’t let me.

    i almost just said “all alien stories are human stories,” but i think i need to amend that to “all sci-fi is about humans” or even “all stories are human stories.” If a story is ever not a human story, it’s probably mistaking the MacGuffin for the theme. That said, some do require the audience to do more bridging in order to recognize how it’s about us, or how it could be if we let it. (i wonder if this feeds into my likely thesis topic.)

    Speaking of language and how it shapes understanding and empathy—i need to get back to Akkadian. And i wonder if this language will start sticking better once i’m reading stories, or even a wider variety of case laws, and starting to understand the Babylonians themselves. i think i jumped way ahead on this one and have tried to appropriate before i understood.

    Because it’s the only one with a overarching narrative. And the narrative is also pretty awesome.

    B5 rules. Jennifer has never seen it, and it makes me nuts that it’s not available to stream anywhere. The world is a terrible place.

    ---Hutchmaster Prime, wielder of great and terrible cheeses

    @pete That’s it. Go buy a blimp and pick us up. We’ll bring the DVDs.

    (Just started B5 season 2 with the Geeks yesterday, but i don’t mind watching twice simultaneously.)


    Ben
    Hutchmate
    @benjikunz

    I just saw this Saturday. Sci-fi is my favorite genre when it’s done well so I knew I’d love this before I even stepped into the the theater.

    This movie reminded me a lot of Interstellar, except Interstellar was so huge, where this movie was a lot more intimate in scale. But I think this movie wowed me more than Interstellar by how it managed to nail the twists and themes quite a bit better than Interstellar did. The last 1/4 of the movie really blew my mind. I felt like the writer was walking me through every detail of the twist making sure that I was understanding it properly, even making sure it clicked at the right time to have the biggest impact it could have. It wasn’t just brilliant writing, it was brilliant writing that was mindful of the audience.

    I also love how this movie didn’t have a “happy” ending, but I still felt uplifted because Amy Adams’ character was so noble. She chose to love her husband and daughter despite knowing the consequences. And I loved that Louise ended the war with something as simple as telling General Shang his wife’s dying words, and then how much he longed to see her at the party. Such a brief but personal interaction changed the course of history and the way a Chinese general interacted with other countries. It really was such a gentle movie, which I didn’t expect, but it really moved me.

    I also loved the classroom scene at the beginning. It felt so real. I was hooked from that moment on.

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    @benjikunz, everything in your spoiler—especially about Shang—yes, yes.

    Oh!  I’ve never seen Babylon 5.  Now I know precisely what to ask for in this online Christmas gift exchange I’m in (wink wink).

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    Congratulations on making it through season one, @mrs-hittle. Rough stuff. The guy that plays the captain character (can’t remember his name) is truly awful.

    ---Hutchmaster Prime, wielder of great and terrible cheeses

    @pete Michael O’Hare. Ha. This is at least my fifth time through, but thanks. XD He is kinda cringe-inducing.

    i’m loving indoctrinating my Geeks. Most of them haven’t seen it and it’s fun to watch them react to the characters and story. We are 8 episodes into season 2 now; we get together about once a month to binge 6-8 episodes.

    Maybe we need a separate B5 thread.

    @danrechlin B5 is the best show.

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    I’m with @benjikunz on this one. I appreciated the pace of revelations and the appreciation that communication is not simple. Despite the aliens having superior intelligence, some foresight into the future and a very future need, they “waited” for a human to understand and trust her/him. This is a very difficult thing to pull off in today’s climate of fast paced flicks. Sci-Fi films of the past (which millennials claim to be horrendously slow and boring) were sometimes better at establishing empathy and depth of insight. I thought Arrival accomplished that without slowing the pace too much. The claim that the aliens might need humanity in the distant future invites a sequel with new characters (the old ones will likely occur in flashbacks). It would be interesting to see how humanity evolves in the meantime or if the benefit of today’s Arrival is lost in the future. Who supports a sequel or would rather see the story conclude where it is?

    Shoud there be an Arrival sequel?1. Yes
    2. No

    I loved Arrival.

    But this aside is regarding DS9, which we are currently watching right now, and I had no idea of the pilot episode’s connection until @mrs-hittle mentioned it. That pilot piqued my interest, but I’ve since been disappointed that there’s been no further mention of the Orbs (yet?) in season one. My folks would watch Enterprise (& TOS reruns) when I was just a tyke and I came of age smack dab in season three of Voyager, so I feel like I’ve known most of the Star Trek characters all my life, but somehow I only ever caught a few episodes of DS9. Remedying that currently.

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