Blu-ray Review: ARRIVAL

While the sheeple of Earth may never truly know if life outside our own has made first contact, I’ve always pondered over how the scenario would play out on a global scale. And in the crazy times we live in, that thought has crossed my mind more frequently than ever. Thankfully, Arrival has made first contact.

Of course there’s Independence Day, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Mars Attacks, and War of the Worlds among others, but they narrowly focus on aggressive aliens threatening our planet and how the two-time, undefeated, back-to-back World War champions from the United States of America must find a way to put an end to their existence. Then on the other side of the coin we have Contact, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Abyss approaching the situation with no aggression, but very intimately and impacting only a certain group of people and not the world. Arrival bridges the gap of the entire spectrum of first encounter cinema and absolutely sticks the landing.

Arrival Movie Amy Adams

Its well-crafted narrative blends science fiction into a political thriller with a sense of urgency unmatched by the big popcorn blockbusters of its ilk. The tension it so carefully builds reaches incredible heights all the way up to the final moments of the film thanks to the varying degrees of cultural perspective in handling the global encounter. The many layers of Arrival evoke a satisfying thirst of Inception-esque conversation as it delicately balances its enriched themes without feeling overstuffed, preachy, or derivative, which help lead up to its powerful ending.

Director Denis Villenueve is no stranger to this caliber of storytelling as seen from his earlier work in Sicario and Prisoners. Not only has he assembled a stellar cast led by Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker – of which Adams was completely snubbed from this year’s Academy Awards – but the technical prowess behind Arrival is sensational. Bradford Young (Selma; A Most Violent Year), the second black cinematographer to ever be nominated for an Oscar, paints a chilly canvas of epic proportions complemented by a uniquely haunting score by Oscar-nominated Jóhann Jóhannsson (Sicario; The Theory of Everything). Additionally, the eerie sound design and original look of the aliens along with the production design of the interior of the spaceship is top-notch.

Arrival Movie Jeremy Renner

One of the most important factors that makes Arrival shine, aside from Eric Heisserer’s (Lights Out; Final Destination 5) screenplay adapted from Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” short sci-fi story, is its editing. Standing atop an intricate glass house of panels consisting of suspenseful plots, engaging themes, and riveting emotions, editor Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave; Shame; Sicario) has elegantly constructed each element to nurture an astounding and moving story.

But if there is one thing that left the biggest impression on me, it is the way the movie approaches communication. In an age where technology has brought us closer together than ever before, it has also torn us apart. Technology has evolved mankind to speak and conduct social interactions with one another differently now than how we used to five or even ten years ago. Imagine bringing an alien species into the mix, one we cannot understand, and having to make sense of it all. It’s difficult enough for some to communicate with another human who comes from a different background and speaks a foreign language – a topic of which Paramount hits outs of the park with a video entitled “Common Ground” that premiered during its theatrical run. Arrival tackles this unfamiliar territory like a house of cards ready to crumble under the vast pressure from every country trying to understand what the aliens want. As Louise (Adams) and Ian (Renner) inch closer to the unveil the truth, others become tired of waiting and have their phones dialed-in for all out war. To provide a less straightforward narrative and achieve maximum feels, congruently the film sprinkles in glimpses of Louise’s family life that adds to its one-two punch climax. With such brilliant direction from Villenueve, Arrival is able to capture the bigger picture in how reshaping the way we think can lead to forward progress among each other and within ourselves.

Needless to say, Arrival is a master class film with nuance and nail-biting suspense that is too important to miss. Firing on all cylinders, Villenueve has created a work of art that entertains, arouses wonder, and sparks discussion that can resonate across the world. Effective communication is key, and Arrival delivers its message with grace.

Arrival Movie Aliens

Special Features:

  • Xenolinguistics: Understanding Arrival – Featurette
  • Acoustic Signatures: The Sound Design – Featurette
  • Eternal Recurrence: The Score – Featurette
  • Nonlinear Thinking: The Editorial Process – Featurette
  • Principles of Time, Memory & Language – Featurette

The bonus material is very solid for those who love filmmaking, especially for a science fiction think piece like Arrival. All of the featurettes are inherently fascinating thanks to the level of craft that went into its development. Everyone involved fawns over the story, with each vignette explained in meticulous detail. Although you won’t find high-energy special features on this disc as you would an action blockbuster, the Arrival Blu-ray special features leaves you with no doubt that Villeneuve approached this film with the utmost respect and care.

What did you think about Arrival? Tell us in the comment section below. [Watch the trailer]


First Trailer for Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’ is Large and In Charge

Big Eyes Movie First Trailer Tim Burton

Tim Burton returns to the cinemas this year with his latest feature Big Eyes starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. While we have come to enjoy many of Burton’s dark and fantastical worlds, the first trailer for Big Eyes may surprise you. Johnny Depp is no where to be seen, no swirling dark spirals or twisted trees, or even a whimsical Danny Elfman score, just the real world. Watch the trailer after the break. Continue reading

Comic-Con 2014: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Teaser Footage Description

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Teaser Comic-Con 2014

Is showing a teaser for a film almost two years before its release too soon? Warner Bros. doesn’t think so. DC Comics fans who were able to get a seat in Hall H this Saturday were treated to a very special early sneak peak at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you’d like to learn what was shown, you can keep reading after the break, or sit idly by and remain spoiler free. It’s your choice. Continue reading

Comic-Con 2014: Gal Gadot in Full Wonder Woman Costume for ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

Gal Gadot in Full Wonder Woman Costume for 'Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice'

DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. kicked off their presentation of Zack Synder’s upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with our first look at Gal Gadot in full Wonder Woman costume. Needless to say, this image was met with high praise. Although the film will not be set out into the wild of movie theaters everywhere until 2016, this first glimpse of Wonder Woman should suffice until we get a glimpse of footage. Check out the full image after the break. Continue reading

Connect with ‘Her’ at Home on Blu-Ray and DVD May 13

Her Movie 2013 Screenshot Goofy Face Theodore

After an impressive Oscar run, Warner Bros. Home Enteratinment will be releasing Her on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD on May 13. Winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (Spike Jonze), Her was also nominated for Best Picture, Original Score (Arcade Fire), and Original Song (Karen O for “Moon Song”), and Production Design. Check out the list of special features you can find upon its release after the jump. Continue reading

10 Best Dressed of the 2014 Golden Globe Awards

10 Best Dressed of the 2014 Golden Globe Awards

The Golden Globes is one of the best awards shows, in my opinion, because it brings together the best stars from television and film. Awards season is the best because we get to see all of the A-list celebrities mingling on the red carpet for the next few months. Starting off with a bang, from Amy Adams to Bradley Cooper, everyone was dressed to the nines. After the jump check out the five best dressed men and five best dressed women of the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards. Continue reading

‘Her’ Movie Review: An Incredibly Beautiful Story That Hits You Right in the Feels

Her Movie 2013 Screenshot Boat

One could easily define a relationship as the inclusion of another person into their life, good or bad, whether as a friend, relative, co-worker, or romantic companion. And that definition can easily be expanded to include pets, places, and even inanimate objects; queue Office Space printer sequence. Spike Jonze’s Her explores this unique gift humans are able to forge between other people, places, and things in one of the best, most beautifully told stories of the year. Continue reading

Find Love in the New Trailer for Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ (37 Screenshots)

Her Movie 2013 Screenshot Laughing

Is it possible to fall in love with in inanimate object? What if that inanimate object had a self-awareness that wanted to learn and develop a sense of being. Spike Jonze’s Her asks these fantastical questions in his latest film starring Joaquin Phoenix, as he steers us into the near-distant future where artificial intelligence is made possible. Watch the full-length trailer for this beautiful looking flick after the break. Continue reading

21 Tidbits from ‘Man of Steel’ You Might Not Have Known

Man of Steel Screenshot Superman

It has been seven years since we last saw Clark Kent in Superman Returns back in 2006. Reviving the franchise, for hopefully the last time, Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. delivered audiences Man of Steel this summer, which earned over $662 million at the box office worldwide. It was a big production to bring the Big Blue Boy Scout back on to the silver screen, and there are some pretty cool tidbits behind the scenes that many DC fanboys may find interesting. Check them out after the break.  Continue reading

Ben Affleck Officially Cast as Batman in Untitled ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel

Ben Affleck Officially Announced to Play Batman

Let it be heard that on Thursday, August 22, 2013 Ben Affleck, Daredevil himself, was officially announced to portray Bruce Wayne aka Batman in the upcoming, untitled Man of Steel sequel aka Batman vs. Superman. Slated to open July 17, 2015, Affleck will be joining Henry Cavill as the two actors will square off when Batman meets Superman in the ultimate showdown of DC superheroes. You can find the full press release after the jump. Continue reading