Arrival: Pardon My French–Uh-Um Alien Language


“Arrival” is directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker in a movie where 12 aliens touch down to Earth in several locations and this film mainly focuses on the US’s efforts with the one that landed in their territory to try to communicate with them, learn their language, understand them, etc.


Right off the bat, let’s talk about Amy Adams in this movie. She plays the main character of Louise and this is one of the best performances I’ve seen all year. All of her acting feels very natural and I felt like I was watching a real person in a unique situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adams snabs an Oscar nomination. Do I think she’ll win? I’m not sure, but I do think she’ll at least earn herself a nomination.


Jeremy Renner plays a character named Ian and he is also great in this movie. His chemistry with Louise works incredibly well and if he gets an Oscar nomination for Best Actor I probably wouldn’t be shocked. Whenever he is in the movie he is working with Amy Adams to interpret the aliens’ language and for what this character gives I thought it was superb.


Forest Whitaker was also in this movie, and no, not the Forest Whitaker you’ve seen in “Rogue One” if you already saw it, “Save the rebellion, save the dream!” This actually sounds like a normal guy and his role isn’t as big when it comes to this interpretation scenario, but for what I remember most about this character, he’s pretty big when the characters are inside the shelter. Would I say his performance is Oscar material as well? No. It’s good, but it’s not Oscar material.

In case you want to know, going into “Arrival”, I thought this movie was going to be a lot like 2014’s “Interstellar”. When I saw the ads for this film, they reminded me of the ads I saw for “Interstellar” back in 2014. First off, I was able to tell this was a sci-fi film, the color pallette of both films looked rather similar, and the transitions from clip to clip gave me the feeling I did when I watched ads for “Interstellar” or even the actual trailers or movies for it. Just a reminder, “Interstellar” is my favorite movie of 2014 and one of my favorite movies of all time, so you can probably tell I was excited to see this film. You want to know something? The “Interstellar” vibe doesn’t stop there! The movie, from a storytelling perspective, reminded me of a good portion of “Interstellar.”

In “Interstellar”, there were some scenes where Matthew McConaghey’s character, Cooper is having flashbacks to a certain important moment of his life. Specifically, when he told Murph, his daughter, that he was going to leave Earth in order to find another planet. That flashback played a key role in that movie and it goes on to a point which I won’t spoil because if you see the movie, you’re really going to end up impressed and understand why I didn’t ruin this for you. In “Arrival”, the movie cuts away from the present much more often, not like this summer’s “Suicide Squad”, but it does so quite a bit. This is specific towards Amy Adams’s character, Louise and it plays a bit of a key role into the film much like “Interstellar’s” cutaways. I won’t say much more about them because I feel if I blurt anything out about it you possibly might not have the same impact I got out of this but it kind of made a movie that was already good, better.

I’m gonna tell you a story, I suck at learning foreign languages. I suck so much that I decided to take Latin as a language. People tell me it is a hard language, and oh were they right, but I heard it basically will help you understand a good number of other languages without exactly learning them. When I was watching this film, and as I was watching everyone interpret what the aliens were saying, I felt confused, yet amazed at the same time. I mean, I understood what the aliens were saying throughout the film, in fact there was even a point where English subtitles were put in, but it amazes me how much work went into learning this language. Also you want to know something? You know how some people watch films, watch TV shows, or read books with foreign languages in them and they were made specifically for that particular film, TV show, or book? You know how some people might want to learn the fictional language that was spoken in that material? Languages such as Elvish from “Lord of the Rings” or Klingon from “Star Trek”? If someone working behind this movie made a dictionary or some sort of program online that would allow me to learn this language, I’d scour for it until I find it.


On that subject, I can’t help but say that the overall concept of this movie in itself is brilliant. You have probably seen movies where we have tried to communicate with alien life forms, but I think that a film like this tries to take it to a whole different level. Why? One thing I notice is that when it comes to movies with aliens in it, they usually are just meant to invade. People try to communicate, but the main concept is to make sure everyone survives. Sure, that element is in this movie too, but the movie focuses so much on trying to communicate with alien, teaching it English, learning the language of the aliens and what they want that a concept like making sure everyone will turn out fine and dandy isn’t the biggest focal point of the film. When you add it all up, it just goes to show how important language is to society and despite how poor I am at taking foreign languages, I felt like I was invested in learning a foreign language and using my brain throughout the entire movie.


In the end, “Arrival” was excellent and it lived up to the hype I heard all about. I definitely see this movie winning numerous awards in the near future and after watching it once, I want to see it again, because I feel like I have questions about the movie and they can be answered in future viewings considering how much I used my brain in this movie. I’m going to give “Arrival” a 10/10. I loved this movie from start to finish, I don’t remember any flaws from it and I can’t wait to see it again. Just a reminder, pretty soon I’m going to be doing my top best and worst movies of 2016, so stay tuned for that and more reviews, I’m gonna have lots of fun making those lists and I can’t wait to show it to you guys. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!


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