Warning: this post contains spoilers for Arrival. If you haven’t seen the movie yet you may not want to read this post.
My one problem with Star Trek is that the aliens have human ideals. The Vulcans claim to be above emotion (but they’re not), the Kazon think men are better than women. Pretty much every alien species has two arms and two legs and the only real difference being a funny shaped forehead. There is a reason for that, Star Trek took our modern ideals (at least from the time it was made) and placed them far into the future.
You could also argue that the forehead of the week thing came about because Star Trek being a TV show needed to be made quickly and they didn’t have the budget or the special effects that a movie would. There was also that episode of TNG that explained why all the different alien species looked similar but lets not talk about that cop-out right now.
Just like a person is who they are because of where they live and who they grew up around you could argue that is the same for a species as a whole. We are the way we are because we evolved on this planet. And you could assume that another alien species would be totally different from us because they evolved on a different planet under wildly different circumstances.
I think that is why I enjoyed Arrival so much because the whole story was about two totally different species learning to understand each other. And you have to remember the English language is a very difficult thing to understand. You may not think so because some of you probably grew up speaking English, but it’s basically three different languages mashed together.
The only problem with this movie (apart from the whole Aliens come to save us from ourselves trope) was the person who decided that two species learning to talk wasn’t enough for a movie. This was apparently based on a book so I imagine some of the fault lies with the author. But the moment you find out that not only is this movie about Amy Adams learning an alien language, it’s a language that allows you to travel in time. That is the point where I want to ask the filmmakers what the heck they were thinking. Like who decided that was a good idea. Why wasn’t them learning to talk enough. Why did the movie have to turn into this weird time travel thing.
Because literally the only reason this movie had a happy ending is because Adams saw into the future and was told by a person in the future what happened in the present that stopped (what I imagine would become) WW3. But like, how can that happen in the future if it didn’t happen in the present. The problem with time travel is it’s confusing and is therefore very hard to do right. The rest of the movie was good, but a language that allows you to see through time? Yeah… no.