Arrival has been recently released on Digital HD and it’s weird how I glossed over this show’s first premiere. Maybe it was the month when it was released or just the softness of the opening that I did not even notice it to blow by. Arrival is an eerie look into our future as a species once the Fermi Paradox gets shattered. It’s only easy to be proud to live in a time when we are allowed to enjoy these types of cinematic marvels that truly deserves all its accolades.
The story of Arrival revolves around master linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and the mundaneness of her life, all the while dreaming about her and her child talking regularly. After showing us how bored Louise has gotten of her life, the world comes amuck after the arrival, pun intended, of a dozen alien spaceships across the globe. The world goes into mass hysteria and the US government summons her to assist, together with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) in trying to communicate with the aliens. As all countries have tried to talk with the respective spaceships that have landed simultaneously, Louise gets to understand the intent of the aliens, who are trying to make humanity understand that cooperation between nations is necessary to survive.
The story of Arrival is a nice contrast against the typical alien invasion trope popularized by Independence Day and Edge of Tomorrow. Where usually the aliens are hostile and only come to subjugate humanity as an inferior specie, the squid-like aliens in Arrival, called Heptapods, actually came in peace. The movie shows all the wrong moves that humanity will most likely do in case of an extraterrestrial event. The tendency of humanity to fear what it does not know lingers in our gene, so much so that it will almost always not try to understand before it acts. Arrival is a demonstration of humanity working on its most primal survival instincts against its evolved logical ability.
Louise is very relatable. Her role in Arrival is hard, considering that the fate of the world hangs in her hands. She is visibly afraid, with her hands trembling every time she goes to an encounter. You can find serenity in her eyes, though, whenever she talks to the Heptapods. The peace she finds in an obviously advanced alien race above the need of violence and war somehow felt refreshing. It makes me question what will we do as a specie if such an otherworldly event happens.
Communication is the first weapon that man draws in a battle: this is what Louise said; I agree. Before any peace, violence, war or unity is the idea of communication, or lack thereof. Arrival is not only a story about humans being found by another life force on the galaxy, but also about humanity communicating as a whole. Whenever humans stopped communicating, like in the movies, the pot stirs and war is imminent. Arrival tells us that only in understanding are we going to be united together as a world; that our ability to communicate is the strongest weapon in this supposed non-zero sum game.