There are some movies that can stick with you for a lifetime. They are vivid and clear in your memory. For me, the four movies that I can remember vividly, almost scene by scene, are “2001,” “E.T.,” “Close Encounters,” and “Star Wars.”
When I saw “Arrival” almost two weeks ago I thought it would be film number 5 on that list. I thought it would be a classic and I even pre-ordered the film on the Apple iTunes Store. Now, I am not so sure.
Yes, it was ingenious in that the beginning of the film was really where the end of the film would pick up after the film was over. It was a flash forward that you would see at the beginning of the film and would not see repeated in the final scenes. You would have to let your mind and imagination fill in the blanks as you walked out of the theater.
The interpretation of the physics concept of Time Dilation, the bending of time and shaping of time rather than it being a straight-ahead/forward linear concept was employed in “Arrival.” I understand the concept and for a science fiction writer like myself it is a wonderful tool to move the story and bend the story. And the concept of conversation circular patterns with artifacts as a language I also find fascinating. But so is Sanskrit and Hieroglyphics, communicating with shapes and patterns.
“Arrival” subdued color, removing a bit of Chroma and intensity of color, may have affected my overall carry-on mood about “Arrival” because I am not a fan of film noir, black and white, sepia-toned, or any other monochromatic method of image presentation. That is not how I see the world and how most of us see the world, unless it is at night that we are seeing the world. I am a daytime person not a nighttime person. It is just what I as an individual prefer. I like the night because the stars, planets, nebula, and galaxies are visible. But to tell a story on film I often see filmmakers purposely use night scenes for a cheaper shoot or to mask more complicated setups that would require more precise cinematography.
Am I making any sense? Maybe yes, maybe no? You have to decide then after you see this film “Arrival” if you feel the same way. The film in retrospect is a little bit of let down now that time has passed since my viewing. I told a friend of mine that I thought the sound design was excellent. And the editing was masterful. He said he thought even better was the sound editing. This friend of mine is and has been an editor, sound editor, director, producer working in Hollywood for decades winning constant industry awards so he knows what is good and what is mediocre and what outright stinks.
So yeah, is was a good movie. The direction, editing, acting, sound, set design all rang true and no mistakes with all of that got in the way of telling the story.
Trite and applicable…it’s like eating Chinese food, in a few hours or less you are hungry again. So, I guess I am hungry for the next sci-film that will move me like “2001” or “Close Encounters” or “E.T.” Maybe Steven Spielberg should try yet another scifi, emotional, and heart-tugging film before he passes the baton. Maybe he should try to produce and direct my “SETI Trilogy.” That is my hope and prayer from a selfish and ever-dreaming science fiction story teller…me