Another day, another test of a new(ish) movie theater. Alamo Drafthouse was less impressive in my opinion than Syndicated, for a few reasons: its food was more expensive, its tickets were more expensive, its seats were closer together.
But I probably could have seen Arrival anywhere and still enjoyed it. I had been drawn to the film for its focus on words-as-weapons. The idea of learning an alien language to save the earth appealed to me. What I didn’t realize was that this movie is the exact kind of sci-fi movie I like: one that could actually happen.
Aliens? I don’t know, but you can’t possibly say you know they don’t exist. The “twist” at the end (which I knew nothing about beforehand so won’t even go near spoiling here, however badly I want to because I love the concept)? I do think it’s possible. Aside from those elements, the basic premise that people want to destroy what they instinctively perceive as a threat before fully investigating and understanding it, and they are so intent upon their fear that they’re willing to risk sacrificing their entire planet? Complete and utter truth. Modern, contemporary reality. If the other elements of the plot didn’t exist, it would be less sci-fi-that-might-happen and more simply history-before-it-happens.
Which, actually, even taking into account those other elements of the plot, could be what it was always supposed to be. Which makes this movie more terrifying and, somehow, more comforting at the same time.