Language is the most important tool in the arsenal of the human race, as it can both build and destroy anything imaginable. Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, previously named Story of Your Life, is about to explore that idea to its fullest extent, as Amy Adams and a team of top notch talent embark on a mission to communicate with a species we’ve never encountered before. Judging from the latest trailer for the film, it looks like the journey will be as intense as it is intriguing, and you can watch that trailer for yourself below.
As promised earlier, Paramount released the first full for Arrival this morning, and we’re even more impressed than we were with the already impressive teaser. The film focuses on Louise Banks, a linguist recruited by the government to make first contact with an alien species that’s landed on Earth. With no basis for their language, Banks will have to use every tool at her disposal in order to decode the language of the visitors, as well as attempt to teach them the English language. As if that prospect alone wasn’t stressful enough, the arrival of several more ships all over the world will put even more pressure on Louise and her team, as not everyone seems to be reacting to our interstellar visitors with the best of intentions.
To see Denis Villeneuve working with high concept sci-fi, and to see Amy Adams at the forefront of a cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, and Michael Stuhlbarg just feels right. Both Adams and Villeneuve have worked with abstract concepts before, and to pretty successful extents, and seeing their talents combine is like watching a Resse’s Peanut Butter Cup of intelligent, thought provoking film-making being crafted right before your very eyes. Even with the obligatory action beats and ramping of tension that any alien visitation trailer will contain, the keen viewer can cut through the packaging and see that Arrival is going to be more of a thinker and less of a shooter.
Yet for as good of a trailer as Arrival has brought us, the fact that the trailer gives just a little too much to the audience is a bit of a draw back. For starters, they could have continued to withhold the look of the aliens for the actual film itself, as the trailer is built to ramp up the mystery behind the actual appearance of these organisms. Whether or not they’re hiding a second reveal is unknown at this time, but if this is all we’re going to see of the creatures, then that was a lost opportunity for a mystery.
However, the greater sin occurs later in the trailer, around the 02:06 mark, where two different performances are culled to create the sentence, “We’ve got 24 hours [… ] before they start global war.” Now if you’re getting wrapped up in the trailer like we were, you’d take that statement at face value, and go into this film thinking Arrival will turn into a war film halfway through.
But knowing Denis Villeneuve’s work, as well as the fact that Amy Adams’ character is the focal point of the action for Arrival, we’re willing to push the notion that the film will play out more like the first, tension building half of this trailer, rather than the all out global assault that is the second half. Considering this sort of editing is found in a film where the main action surrounds the encoding and intention of language, this tactic kind of defeats the film’s purpose.
Still, as a total package, Arrival looks absolutely thrilling, and has us on the edge of our seats as we await the full disclosure of its secrets, as well as its true tone. All will be revealed when the film opens on November 11th.