Monday, March 13, 2017

9 Reasons Arrival Was The Best Movie of 2016

1. It was original. It is very rare these days that a movie comes out that is not a reboot, sequel, prequel, remake, or something we have seen a million times. Yes, there have been movies where human beings attempt to communicate with aliens. But, it has never been done in such a unique, thought provoking way that also includes such a great twist. And, even if it is done that way, it usually ends with large cities being destroyed in the end.

2. The music was very unique, and perfect for the genre. The music in Arrival kept the suspense and intrigue of the movie going throughout its entirety. It is unlike any soundtrack I have ever heard. There are unique instruments and techniques used, and it helps the movie achieve the feeling and theme it was going for.

3. The language the aliens write is circular, and so is the movie. This was an amazing touch. The first thing we see in the movie is a baby being born, and the last line of the movie is the protagonists talking about making a baby. The whole point of the movie is for Amy Adams to learn the circular language of the aliens, allowing her to experience all time at once. The audience of the movie is able to experience the circular feeling of the movie by experiencing the end at the beginning and the beginning at the end.

4. The twist is unlike any we have seen in a long time. There are several movie twists that have become quite commonplace. E.g. It was all a dream, you or I or everyone is already dead, I am actually a bad guy, you are actually insane, etc. We have seen them a million times. But, as I recall, I have never seen a movie where it made you believe that what you had seen was in the past when it was actually in the future of the movie. The lines throughout the movie do a lot to add to the power of this twist. If you watch it a second time, it is very surprising that you never caught it. Simply put, the twist was amazing.

5. It is a slow burn without too many expositional scenes. This may be a complaint some have about the movie, but is something I love about Denis Villeneuve's movies. There are many movies that have to put a character in just to explain the plot to the audience. Arrival is amazing, because it is able to explain complex scenes just by letting you watch them play out. Yes, there are expositional scenes in Arrival. But, there are many scenes that don't have a single word of dialogue, yet the audience is able to gather what is happening. The scene where they go into the spaceship for the first time is a perfect example. We learn about the gravity shift, how the aliens talk to them, why there is a canary, etc. all from just watching rather than having someone explain it to us.

6.  The aliens were different than in most alien invasion movies. It is really satisfying to watch a movie where the aliens have come to earth for a different reason than to destroy us, steal our resources, enslave us, or worst of all, destroy us because we aren't worth saving. These reasons have been played out so many times in so many movies. Arrival is unique because the aliens are coming to teach humanity something that will be beneficial to our survival as well as theirs. They bring humanity a gift, and one of them even sacrifices itself for the cause.

7. The trailer didn't ruin the movie, or give anything away. After watching the movie trailer, I knew the movie would be about Amy Adams trying to communicate with aliens. But, I had no idea the deeper meaning in the movie. In the end, the movie really wasn't about the aliens at all, but about the idea of free agency and love. It is about the human relationships, and the deep characters. It is very refreshing when a production company is brave enough to put out a trailer that does not give too much of the movie away.

8. The landscape shots were amazing. The cinematography in the movie was incredible. The long shot from the helicopter where the audience first sees the spaceship is amazing. The color and long, beautiful shots add so much to the tone, and overall feel of the movie.

9. The acting in the movie was not overdone. It felt very realistic while not being "oscar-grabby." While I think many of the movies nominated for academy awards are incredible, several movies each year have clearly been way overdone in an attempt at an oscar grab. Arrival was a movie that could have easily won best picture, but not in a self-aggrandizing way. It was such a simple movie, but had an amazingly powerful impact.