Is ‘Arrival’ the Antidote to Bad Movies?

A new video essay from The Nerdwriter makes a compelling argument.

Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is a rare kind of success: it’s a genre film with the heart of a prestige drama built upon spectacle but not dependent upon it. This isn’t Passengers, after all, or anything like most sci-fi- blockbusters, even more contemplative ones like Ridley Scott’s The Martian; the spectacle of Arrival doesn’t happen as much on screen as it does in our own minds, that the film’s power, it engages you on a deeper level than just what you see, it makes you think as you watch it, a feat owed equally to Villeneuve and screenwriter Eric Heisserer’s incorporation of language and lingual attributes into the narrative, but also the director’s fluency in the language of film. While other sci-fi films have to distract you from clunky storytelling with special effects and rapid-succession scenes, Arrival tells its story in a way that requires little to no effort at all on behalf of the audience, because in a sense, we already speak its language.

It is in this way, so The Nerdwriter postulates in his latest video, that Arrival is the perfect response to bad movies of its ilk; everything they muck up, Arrival not only gets right, it improves upon. Or at least that’s the Nerdwriter’s take on things. For all the details, dive into the video below, then let us know what you think: is Arrival the antidote to crappy cinematic spectacles?

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist