At the risk of mistaking my sarcasm as a negative outlook on this movie, I fully empathize with the creators of Arrival: It is difficult to do much new with an alien film. Looking at the past six decades of this genre, it wasn’t until Close Encounters of the Third Kind that Hollywood explored the idea of not dropping a nuke on the offending spacecraft. Today the appearance of otherworldly beings immediately sets up the “big” decision – do we defend the world and attack? Or should we roll out the welcome mat and open the doors to unforeseen possibilities?
To its credit, this script explores that conundrum and introduces opportune messages about the benefits of learning to understand intentions and overlooking species differences. The time distortion plot also presents a chance for our protagonist to consider whether or not she might change her life if she was given the ability to know what lies ahead.