Arrival SPOILER Thread

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 3995
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Re: Arrival SPOILER Thread

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:49 am

Uri wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:I can't say when I saw the twist because Uri - after a reassuring: "Ah, there's a minor point in the plot that I guess I can say to you, it's not a big spoiler" - SPOILED it to me on the phone :) But then, this slow, endless, messy, "artistically" dark, would-be existentialist effort is in the end so forgettable that I don't think I'd have appreciated it more if I hadn't known about the "big" surprise. What I find really annoying is the amount of themes which this movie thinks it can deal with - I mean, Terrence Malick is a low-key filmmaker compared to Villeneuve here: contemporary society, human condition, the past, the future, death, birth, global wars, peace, terrorism... Enough text and subtext for ten movies, not just one. Needless to say, the recipe doesn't work - too many ingredients, too many ambitions.


Sorry for ruining this masterpiece for you. :oops:


You are forgiven :)

Plus, I'm not sure that having a child knowing that she will soon die of a terrible and painful illness (and without sharing this decision with the future father) is in itself such a valuable act - even in the Trump era.

Uri
Adjunct
Posts: 1101
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 11:37 pm
Location: Israel

Re: Arrival SPOILER Thread

Postby Uri » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:19 am

ITALIANO wrote:I can't say when I saw the twist because Uri - after a reassuring: "Ah, there's a minor point in the plot that I guess I can say to you, it's not a big spoiler" - SPOILED it to me on the phone :) But then, this slow, endless, messy, "artistically" dark, would-be existentialist effort is in the end so forgettable that I don't think I'd have appreciated it more if I hadn't known about the "big" surprise. What I find really annoying is the amount of themes which this movie thinks it can deal with - I mean, Terrence Malick is a low-key filmmaker compared to Villeneuve here: contemporary society, human condition, the past, the future, death, birth, global wars, peace, terrorism... Enough text and subtext for ten movies, not just one. Needless to say, the recipe doesn't work - too many ingredients, too many ambitions.


Sorry for ruining this masterpiece for you. :oops:

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 3995
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Re: Arrival SPOILER Thread

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:14 pm

I can't say when I saw the twist because Uri - after a reassuring: "Ah, there's a minor point in the plot that I guess I can say to you, it's not a big spoiler" - SPOILED it to me on the phone :) But then, this slow, endless, messy, "artistically" dark, would-be existentialist effort is in the end so forgettable that I don't think I'd have appreciated it more if I hadn't known about the "big" surprise. What I find really annoying is the amount of themes which this movie thinks it can deal with - I mean, Terrence Malick is a low-key filmmaker compared to Villeneuve here: contemporary society, human condition, the past, the future, death, birth, global wars, peace, terrorism... Enough text and subtext for ten movies, not just one. Needless to say, the recipe doesn't work - too many ingredients, too many ambitions.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7427
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Arrival SPOILER Thread

Postby Sabin » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:13 pm

I'm going to post my thoughts in the Spoiler thread. To be honest, I'm not sure why we have the other one at this point because there's no reason to discuss this movie without talking about spoilers.

Except of course for the reason that it's just a gorgeous production. Cinematography, editing, score, sound design. Incredible. Across the board. I used to think that David Fincher was the craftsman of our time, but Denis Villeneuve is probably another movie away from topping him.

Thoughts on spoilers --

1) A smart dumb movie.
There are a lot of elements in this film that I could point to as "dumb." The success ratio of communication, the use of montage to cover further success, the convenient transference of information through goop, the octopus aliens themselves (I know, they're Hectopods, but come one, they're fucking giant octopuses)...but it's also pretty crafty. I'm not sure how I would react to this film had it been directed by anybody else, but I suspect I would Capital-H Hate it. Even as I noticed clearly-papered holes in the plot, there is nothing in this film that bothered me because Villeneuve sells it with a Tarkovsky-esque landscape loneliness. There was also something "profound-seeming" going on with the gorgeously underlit images or sound design.

But to Eric Heisserer's credit, this is a smart piece of screenwriting. He knows the holes he's papering over. He gets away with it, but he has a lot of help.

2) Daddy, The Scientist.
I clocked the reveal during the conversation about "Zero Sum Game." I immediately thought "Oh, Jeremy Renner is the kid's father." Didn't know how it was possible, but there are only two reasons for why a movie would introduce that notion: 1) to lead to a doleful conversation between Adams & Renner about Adams' past, or 2) I'm watching a science fiction movie. It's Renner. And nothing in Arrival made me feel like it would go the conventional route. BJ is right. It's not a twist so much as a new plot point, but I wish the film had a little more confidence in its powerful third act to truly surprise people. The purpose of the "Zero Sum Game" scene is to demonstrate that she remembers what Jeremy Renner says in the past to tell her daughter in the future, but I don't think the film really gains much from that. I think it would be more interesting if she plucks from the future back into the present.

That is a good question: when are we supposed to know? Technically when Jeremy Renner comes into view, by which point I was minutes ahead of the movie. Here's why I didn't mind.

3) The ending.
This film isn't at all interested in the alien's perception of time (no characters really discuss it or care). It's a device that is validated by the screenplay's structure and also because it presents us with a character who we have enormous empathy for (at least I did) who does something impossibly brave, strong, and tragic. Not since Inside Out I have I been so moved by a film's emotional ideology, and similar to Inside Out I can forgive a lot of missteps if I'm presented with an affecting emotional ideology. I'll cop to being a softy. I was just so moved.

Yup. Loved it. There are some elements in this film that don't totally work. I did not care.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12553
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Re: Arrival SPOILER Thread

Postby OscarGuy » Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:11 pm

SPOILERS

I had my aha moment when Adams refers to her husband as the scientist. I think the clues peppered through the early parts of the film finally clicked at that moment.

The ending, I think, was perfect for a film like this. It's very philosophical. Not only is the question: should we have the child, but what are the ramifications of not having her. While having the child would have been a purely selfish act on her part, it would also deny the possibility that time, as fluid and non-linear as the film portrays it to be, would be unable to proceed as constructed had she not had the child.

As to the "goop" getting on her, I don't think that's at all a transference of language. She was already understanding it, as referenced when Renner asks her if she's dreaming in the language and if immersion is the best way to learn a language. She had been seeing the future since before the aliens landed, so she was already aware of time in the context of non-linear thought, except it took the slow development of communication and understanding with the aliens to unleash her comprehension of what she was seeing. It was at the point that she touches the wall and finally taps into that prognosticative power, a power rooted in the vast complexity of non-linear time, that she finally gets it. She allows the knowledge to flow out of her and begin communication with the alien, thereby completing the cycle.

The symbolism of the circles, a conceit of non-linear time and the circular, cyclical nature of it, that is most compelling to me. They explain early on that there's a connection to the concept of time in their language, but it doesn't come around until later. That the film, itself, is a circular narrative that starts, surprisingly, at a beginning she cannot explain, and ends at a beginning that she fully comprehends.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4223
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Arrival SPOILER Thread

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:20 am

I AM SPOILING THE END OF THE MOVIE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T YET SEEN ARRIVAL.

I figured some folks might want to discuss details about the end of the movie here (assuming anyone ever wants to talk about something as frivolous as movies ever again, which I admit has been hard for me right now, but I know it's going to be important to try to remain sane at this moment, and this will help.)

So the big twist in Arrival is an intriguing one, because it's not so much a twist that introduces a new plot point as one that recontextualizes a story thread running throughout the movie. What we thought were flashbacks to Amy Adams raising her daughter, and her daughter's eventual death, are surprisingly revealed to be flash FORWARDS. In concept, this is sort of an intriguing idea, turning something on its head that was right in front of us all along, and allowing us to be emotionally affected by it in a new way.

But I thought the execution of this story turn had some issues. First of all, I don't think the movie is very clear about when it exactly wants you to put together what's going on. If you look at something like, say, The Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects, once the twist is revealed, you realize there were moments early on in the movie that take on new meaning with this new information, but there still is a very clear MOMENT when the film signals "now the rug is going to be pulled out from under you."

But here, I wondered when I was actually supposed to put all the pieces together. There's that sequence where Adams's daughter draws a picture of Adams and Renner with the canary in the cage, describing it as Mommy and Daddy saving the world, and this kind of sort of feels like the moment the twist is really revealed...except for watching it, I didn't realize it then. My thought at the time was, so the kid could predict the future? Huh. The fuzziness over "what is really happening" continued through the next few flashbacks (well, forwards), and I think it only finally clicked for me during the sequence with the foreign leader, and then I had my own personal "aha" moment. But I genuinely wondered if I was supposed to have clocked it earlier, and I think the story suffers a bit from not being clear about this.

Aside from this, I have numerous issues with how a lot of this played out. A number of moments feel totally false -- "Now I know why my husband left me" was a really weird beat for me (especially cause it's delivered to her husband), and I didn't buy at all that the Chinese general would have capitulated simply because Adams told him his wife's dying words.

I think there are clarity issues regarding the alien language -- Adams gets the black goop on her, and one of the aliens says that now she has the weapon, allowing her to understand the language which she then is able to teach to other people through her classes and books, it seems. Or does she? Do you need to touch the goop to understand the language, and Adams is the only person who does now? Or can you learn it if Adams teaches you? Does one person need to touch the goop, and then they can spread it to the rest of humankind without the goop? I thought the proof of concept here was muddy.

I also don't think Adams and Renner had ANY scenes together that would justify them falling in love at the end of the movie.

Maybe most of all, I think the movie opens up a can of worms in the last reel that's actually fairly interesting, but feels like it needed to be explored more. (This is the rare film that, once it ended, had me thinking, I'd have wanted to sit here and see more of this.) "And now everyone on the planet knows everything about their entire life" doesn't seem like the conclusion to a story, it seems like the set-up for one, a movie about whether or not we have enough free will to change our own destinies from what we see in the future. I was even confused about the final message of the movie -- the question the film seems to be posing is, if you knew your child would die young, would you go ahead and have them anyway? But if Adams can see her future by using the alien language, does she even have a choice in this matter? Isn't she going to get husband and kid no matter what, whether she likes it or not?

All of this is to say, I think the movie bites off quite a bit more than it's prepared to chew in the final reel, and that left the ending of the movie a bit unsatisfying for me. I still think there's much to admire about the film, but I wish it had stuck the landing more.


Return to “2016”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest