Arrival is 2016 unique scientific fiction film directed by Denis Vileneuve and written by Eric Heisserer. The movie is based on 1998 short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang.Movie appeared on numerous critics’ year-end lists and was selected by American Film Institute as one of ten “Movies of the Year”.
Arrival is much more concerned about the deep truths about language, imagination, and human relationships than any one political moment. It makes us realize the importance of communication and the play of language. Apart from alien invasion, the movie focuses on a much more concerning topic to standing as one in solidarity.
IMG taken from: https://cinema1544.wordpress.com/cinema-1544-films-250/arrival/heptapod/
The movie starts with the death of Hannah, Linguist Louise Bank’s daughter. She dies at a young age due to an incurable illness.
Then the scene shifts to the arrival of twelve extraterrestrial spacecraft hovering over 12 different locations around the Earth. This sets slight panic all around the globe, Universities are shut down and all are requested not to panic. The main question is why they are here? Are they friends or enemies?
To uncover these and know the actual reason for their arrival. The affected countries send their military and scientific experts to monitor and study them. In the United States, US Army Colonel G.T. Weber recruits Banks who is the linguistics expert and physicist Ian Donnelly to study the craft over Montana. First, it is to establish communication with them which has to be done by Banks. As soon as Banks and Donnelly reach the site, several medical examinations are performed and several doses of vaccines or boosters are given.
The next day in the prescribed time window they are taken near the craft. A platform is lowered by the craft for the entry of humans. Bank and Donnell with some military persons enter the craft. There is a big glass window separating them and the aliens. The window is full of white mist making it look more mysterious with the black background of the ship. They also take a birdcage with them to call the aliens. With the chirping of bird two seven limbed aliens arrive, whom they call Heptapods.
At their first meeting, they are not able to establish any communication. On their third meeting, Bank opens her protective gear, so that they can see her and introduce themselves. Donnelly nicknames them Abbott and Costello. The heptapods communicate with the help of some circular symbols. Banks and Donnelly research the complex language of aliens, made of palindrome phrases, and share their results with other nations. Along with understanding their language, Banks and Donnelly also try to teach them their language to establish communication. As Banks studies the language, she starts to have flashback visions of her daughter.
After establishing a sufficient vocabulary, Banks asks them the most important question: What is your purpose on Earth? They answer with symbols that can be translated as “offer weapon”. China interprets this as “use weapon”, as an alarming situation of attack. Following these China breaks of communication with all other nations. Other nations also see it as an alarming situation and cut off their communication signal.
Banks argue that the symbol interpreted as “weapon” can mean different things in a different culture. In some, the weapon also means tools. China’s translation results from interacting with aliens using Mahjong, a highly competitive winner-take-all game. A motion of panic sets in all around the globe.
To get clarity about the word ‘Weapon’, Banks and Donnelly go again to meet with the heptapods. Rogue soldiers plant a bomb in Montana craft, unaware that Banks and Donnelly are there. Just before the bomb explodes, one of the aliens ejects Donnelly and Banks from the vessel, knocking them unconscious.
Donnelly discovers that the symbol for time is present throughout the message and writing occupies exactly 1/12th of 3D space in which it is projected. Banks suggest that the full message is split among twelve crafts, and the aliens want all nations to share their learned information. They want all to work together.
But China’s General Shang issues a 24-hour ultimatum to his local alien craft. Russia, Pakistan, and Sudan also follow the same. All the communication with international research teams is terminated.
To understand the message fully, Banks alone goes to the craft. Costello explains to her that they have come to help humanity, for in 3000 years they will need humanity’s help in return. Banks realize that the “weapon” is their language, which changes humans’ liner understanding of time. It will allow them to experience “memories” of future events. She also understands the meaning of her visions.
Bank returns to the camp as it is being evacuated and tells Donnelly that aliens’ language itself is the “tool”. After understanding so much…will she be able to stop the uprising of war between nations? Will she be able to make other’s understand the importance of solidarity? What will be the outcome? …. To know all this you surely have to watch this movie.
In Denis Villeneuve’s film, Amy Adams plays a linguist struggling to understand interplanetary visitors checking in at 12 spots around the globe.
Somewhere, buried deep down in the compelling crevices of this remarkable but slight treatise on outerspace invasion, is a true classic.
What’s remarkable about “Arrival” is its contemplative core—and, of course, Ms. Adams’s star performance, which is no less impassioned for being self-effacing.
Wall Street Journal
The movie is full of emotion and has a bit of twist to it. In the starting, we see the death of Harper, Banks’ daughter. But soon we realize that she is having visions. So there is bit confusion in this scenario. As soon as you reach towards the end of the movie you fully understand the reason for Banks’ visions.
The story also focuses on the importance of communication and language. We also get the message regarding the importance of solidarity and unity between the nations. The movie is a mix of emotions with a message well presented.