Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) - Arrival

Arrival is about first contact with an alien species.

I knew this was a story about linguistics, but I had no clue just how much about linguistics it is. I have long considered the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to be true enough in the most simple way - people are influenced by the languages they know and speak... and cultures, in turn, influence how language changes. This movie takes the theory to extremes that I find problematic from a reality point of view, but I adore from a science fiction point of view.

The good: The acting was great in this and the characters we needed to see as real people quickly became real to us. Because the movie is definitely more a concept movie than a character-driven movie, there wasn't too much need for any serious identification beyond the main character. I loved how the movie played with the concept of time, revealing the story of Louise's daughter carefully to not give anything away. I also adored the nicknames they gave the aliens. I also liked the method of getting the phone number and the way the message was conveyed to Louise to give to Shang. The gravity inside the ships was a neat visual trick, and I was amused to see the birds - always taking birds with us, aren't we?

The bad: As I said, the movie takes the initial concept to the extreme and doesn't examine other issues raised by the results - such as free will. While I love it as a thought experiment, it was just a bit too much to swallow as anything other than that.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this movie, and it twisted my mind a bit. It's at the top of the ballot at the moment.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): I've seen Ghostbusters, Rogue One, Arrival, Deadpool and part of Stranger Things, Season One. I need to see Hidden Figures and finish watching Stranger Things. I still need to rewatch and review Ghostbusters and Rogue One.