Arrival

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charliepanayi
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Arrival

Postby charliepanayi » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

Anyone else seen it? It's very good. Having seen it I can see why
Spoiler:
the film doesn't have the same title as the short story it's based on, it may have given the game away
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Re: Arrival

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:57 am UTC

I saw it. Still processing. I was afraid they'd "Hollywoodize" the story too much and while there was some of that going on, I didn't mind too much. They downplayed the science some and beefed up the conflict but that was necessary to reach a mass market audience and they preserved most of the core idea. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in sci fi.

On the actual differences between the story and movie (major spoilers for both):
Spoiler:
The biggest chance was definitely the way both the aliens and Dr Banks proactively use their alternative way of interpreting the world. She uses knowledge of the future to avert the crisis and the aliens, instead of ultimately remaining mysterious, are here for a very specific reason. I was worried for a while that they'd reduce the whole idea to "she can see the future" but luckily they kept the whole ending together.

I was also a bit mystified at first why they decided to change the way her daughter dies and the reason she and her husband split up. I am still not sure why they did that except... maybe just to make it even more tragic and less unavoidable?
T: ... through an emergency induction port.
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Zohar
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Re: Arrival

Postby Zohar » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:06 pm UTC

I saw it yesterday, and it's a good movie, but I find the short story to be a much better sci-fi story than the film. When I heard they're going to release it, I was really surprised and wondered how they'll actually translate it. I suppose the answer was to simplify and to dramatize. There were also several things they hinted at they just never got back to (very minor movie spoilers):
Spoiler:
The conversation about how the aliens don't understand basic math concepts, specifically, but I remember there was another thing too.


Story and movie spoilers:
Spoiler:
I understand why they chose the way they went, and it made compelling entertainment, but I feel it took away from the heavy sci-fi and personal story-telling. First, the introduction of a dramatic global crisis moves the focus away from her story to the world's, and that was one of the things I liked most in the story. Second, the physicist basically didn't do anything, whereas in the story their work really goes hand-in-hand. There's a lot of physics talk that's actually relevant to the story and Louise's work. Third, her "future vision" was presented as an almost mystical power in the movie, quite contrary to the story. I also didn't like the future stuff was a plot twist in the movie. In the story it's presented as-is from the start, for readers to slowly understand. And lastly, one of the big changes is the aliens had a specific purpose in visiting Earth in the movie, and they didn't in the story - it's just a thing they're bound to do.

Regarding the daughter's death, I think they changed it from accident to illness since accident can be so easily avoided - just don't let her go rock climbing - whereas cancer is seen as unavoidable. It would make Louise seem kind of shitty if she could see the future, have the power to change it, and not do so for the sake of her daughter. In the story, she doesn't have this power. She can't change the future, she can only see it.


Tl;dr: I think the movie is worth watching, and I would suggest watching it before you read the story. If you like what you see but want a more in-depth exploration of the topics described, with a more science-y spin on it, read the story.
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Liri
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Re: Arrival

Postby Liri » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:02 am UTC

I'll read the story. I'm definitely interested in reading what the physicist has to say. As a virgin viewer, I didn't mind the plot-twisty part. It was pretty gently done (from my perspective).

The increased emphasis on the crisis struck me as more timely than increasing the market appeal, but I might just be optimistic.


Spoiler:
Everything's just 2001 and Contact anyway.
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Re: Arrival

Postby Mambrino » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:59 pm UTC

Saw it, was a good film. Didn't know about the short story before, will try to get my hands on it now too.

Very spoilery discussion:
Spoiler:
It certainly was a good science fiction film. But as a film, there was too many things I disliked to call it great.

The physicist person felt more like a cardboard figure than a real character at times.

Also, the military personnel felt like they had the idiot ball bit too many times... "What, you can't work with just a 30 second audio recording of an alien language unknown to Earth? I'm calling the prof at Berkeley instead..." and the operation felt bit too much gung-ho to be believable, "we hire you as a consultant to communicate with aliens, just wear this hazmat suit and then we take a walk to the spaceship, we won't tell what happens next!" ....I mean, you could retain the surprise factor if you don't show the audience the mission briefing, and the first-timers would still be as surprised as they were when the gravity suddenly changes, even if they have been warned.

And the captain who suddenly goes AWOL with his squad and tries to detonate the aliens, that was a low point imo.


But in general I liked it, they nailed it with the atmosphere and music and visuals and the central story.

Is this a Hollywood film? If yes, then it's great Hollywood is still making attempts at serious science fiction, and guess what, this is a success, both critically and apparently also in box office...

maybeagnostic
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Re: Arrival

Postby maybeagnostic » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:20 pm UTC

Re: the military in the film vs story
Spoiler:
Basically since the scientists are working together, the aliens are peaceful and they didn't want to antagonize China but they wanted to introduce some conflict into the story, they ended up making the military excessively antagonistic. The story doesn't really have any conflict, its just an exploration of some pretty fascinating ideas but I can see why that wouldn't have worked in a theatrical release.

The bit with the tapes is pretty close to the story though. Its basically the colonel(?) showing up with a bunch of audio tapes and wanting her to translate the language and is just setup for Dr Banks to explain some more modern language theory. They use it for the same purpose in the movie but condense and simplify it a bit.
T: ... through an emergency induction port.
S: That's a straw, Tali.
T: Emerrrgency induction port.

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raudorn
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Re: Arrival

Postby raudorn » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:20 pm UTC

I just came from viewing the movie (so I might be biased, you know) and I'm just blown away. I haven't read the story, but will definitely remedy that as soon as possible. The one scene with the child's drawing was just "woah!".
Spoiler:
I thought the global conflict was fine, as far as it's necessary for the remaining plot. They needed something with enough impact in order to defuse it later by the way of a major development of the protagonist's story line. Seems like decent story telling to me. Although the bomb was a bit ham-fisted. I mean, really. Yeah, we humans have a bit of an irrational streak, but bombs are usually a sign of a strong conviction to a purpose, whereas here there wasn't a lot of purpose to it. Stuff happened because of the bomb, but none of that could've been foreseen or intended by the guys planting the bomb. So, what? They just blew it up because they felt like it?

Tyndmyr
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Re: Arrival

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:40 pm UTC

I'm gonna go against the grain here and say that, while pretty in some respects, and having a lot of potential, it was ultimately pretty boring.

Spoiler:
Seriously, they mention perceiving time different, in the past tense, like...a minute into the movie. In voiceover, by the protagonist. As far as subtlety goes, voiceover narration scores essentially no points, and anything stated straight up as the premise of the movie cannot possibly count as a twist.

The military does have a rather large and competent group of linguists. Does nobody know this? They're not utter idiots when it comes to language and everything else. I also have severe difficulty accepting "using a whiteboard" as a mind-boggling discovery. We've *already* sent out visual communication with the intent of it being received by aliens. The idea that using not-audio is unusual, and needs lots of buildup to consider is frankly baffling. Random military guys with a bomb were also pointless. They don't even really bother to flesh them out as characters, or make them proper antagonists. It's just a thing that happens, and it's dumb.

The initial bit of linguistic dick-waving to the military made zero sense in context, and seemed entirely unrelated to anything else, save for establishing that this linguist really linguists, which could have been done in any number of less awful ways.

Holy shit, the physics guy was useless to the story.

Most of the movie is knowing exactly what's going to happen next, and waiting for the movie to catch up with you. I mean, not much actually happens. If you figure out the "twist" when they tell it to you up front, there's basically nothing else save for a couple of cool shots.

I can't imagine wanting to rewatch it.

maybeagnostic
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Re: Arrival

Postby maybeagnostic » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:16 am UTC

Re: the twist
Spoiler:
Do people really see it as a twist? I am probably biased because I read the story first but I never had the impression the story or the movie were ever trying to create an "Oh me yarm, that's what's been happening all along?!" moment. It is non-sequential storytelling where the linguist is ordering moments of her life based on something other than the order they occurred in so the real difficulty is to try and figure out what her way of ordering them is, not to figure out what the sequential order is.

Also insofar as there is a twist, it is realizing that when you know the future you don't change it (somewhat undermined by her actually contacting the Chinese general and the aliens giving a reason for coming to Earth). Even that isn't played up as a shock but presented as something thought-provoking which is why the movie ends the way it does.
T: ... through an emergency induction port.
S: That's a straw, Tali.
T: Emerrrgency induction port.

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raudorn
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Re: Arrival

Postby raudorn » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:54 am UTC

Re: twist
Spoiler:
I must've completely missed the hint at the beginning of the film (that Tyndmyr mentioned) or be generally rather unobservant when watching movies, because for me it really was a twist. During the scene where Louise is brought up into the fog chamber after the explosion and particularly when Hannah's drawing of the "TV-show" is brought up again, that was the moment when I finally understood everything in the movie. Then again, maybe I'm just not in the habit of picking a movie apart while still watching it. I do that afterwards, so I can be enchanted for at least the movie's runtime. It makes even mediocre movies bearable.


Re: phonecall
Spoiler:
A stable time loop is, by definition, not changing the future. /s


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