‘Arrival’ Trailer Balances Smarts with Spectacle

Travis Newton

Today Paramount brings us the first full trailer for Arrival, the new sci-fi film from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve. The film stars Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks, a brilliant linguist who must establish communication with a race of aliens to determine if they are a threat. Watch below!

[ooyala video=1uYzVkNTE6MdCmcMHnTSO8BpC1WcsJYA]

First things first — it’s directed by Denis Villeneuve, so it looks fantastic. Helping him achieve that is cinematographer Bradford Young, who worked on great movies like Selma and A Most Violent Year. Both Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are welcome sights. They, like Amy Adams, are dependably excellent.

Arrival is based on a short story by Ted Chiang, an acclaimed author of short sci-fi. His original story, Story of Your Life, is an award-winning and highly cerebral piece of fiction. If you’re a fan of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or Fermat’s principle of time, it’s probably right up your alley. But movies can’t be that cerebral. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Lights Out), who adapted Chiang’s short story for Arrival, knows movies can’t spend a lot of time trying to explain stuff like linguistic relativity, alien syntax, or why squid-shaped aliens aren’t good at small talk.

Instead, because this is a contemporary Hollywood film with a big budget, there’s a lot of focus on the enormity of the alien invasion. There’s a lot of talk about impending global war, because the stakes have to be super, super high. Audiences need to believe it’s a blockbuster if Paramount wants blockbuster turnouts. Regardless, I’m excited to see Arrival. It’s a big movie about themes and ideas that we find in tiny indie sci-fi movies. Denis Villeneuve is one of the most interesting directors working in Hollywood, and his cast in this flick is solid as solid can be.


Arrival arrives on November 11. Amy Adams had better be ready because her last entry in an alien spacecraft didn’t go so well.

Travis Newton
Travis Newton is a Fan Contributor at Fandom. He began writing about movies and TV for CHUD.com in 2012, and co-hosts The Drew Reviews Podcast with Fandom Entertainment Editor Drew Dietsch. He’s partial to horror movies, action games, and Irish Breakfast tea.
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