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Arrival (2016)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Eric Heisserer(screenplay), Ted Chiang (story)
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery

About (spoiler free review): Earth is visited by twelve strange alien spacecraft that hover above the ground, on different places on the planet. What do they want? And how to communicate with them?
Enter into the picture, a college linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) who's pressed into helping translate the alien's language by a U.S. Colonel (Forest Whitaker). Her task is a daunting one and at stake is escalating chaos and war mongering that erupts among nervous humans.

: I love sci fi!...And I bet if I watched Arrival at the theater on the big screen with an impressive sound system, this would have gave me goose bumps, in the way that Gravity (2013), wowed people in the theaters. But I watched this on my relatively small 46" TV screen...I wasn't impressed. It was the same old first contact story with mysterious aliens visiting Earth, and humans getting nervous and then the military acting like dummy, blunder heads. I was hoping for something more intelligent than this from director Denis Villeneuve...

I mean some of the scenes with an ignorant military was so pot boiler cliche that it made me laugh out loud. I don't for a minute believe the U.S. military or any world power is going to look at an advance alien ship that lands on Earth, freak out and decide to attack them. Yeah, I know it adds drama! but it's improvable and been done a zillion times before.

The strong point of the film, and it's a very strong point is: The way the aliens look (their design and movement), the way we see them (the camera angle), the way the scene is set up and most impressively is what we don't see of them. That's important as the mind can generate a much richer image than any CG effect can. The alien encounter scenes are among the best I've ever seen in a sci fi. But that's not enough to make up for a weakly contrived plot.

Amy Adams is good, she's always good. I didn't care for the tacked on back story about her dying daughter, nor did I believe she could interpret the aliens communications. I mean people were baffled for decades by the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and only deciphered them when they found the so called rosetta stone, which had the same message written in three different languages: Egyptian hieroglyphs & Egyptian written, and Greek.

Arrival has been done before on the Outer Limits TV show.