Arrival: The Most Mind Bending Sci-Fi Drama Since 2001 A Space Odyssey [Blu-ray Review]

by | Feb 14, 2017

From Paramount and director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) comes the Oscar nominated tour de force Arrival, based on the short sci-fi tale “Story of Your life” by Ted Chiang. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg, the film will be available to own on Blu-ray/DVD February 14, 2017.


When mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, an elite team – lead by expert linguist Louise Banks – is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.


Excerpt from Mark Miller’s Theatrical Review below:

“I was shocked by just how good Arrival was.  Even though the first half of the movie when the plot progressed so slowly it was painful (because the suspense was killing me), I wasn’t sure it would be any good.  After all, LOTS of movies start out well, they build suspense wonderfully, they establish their story question and get us good and hooked and then completely bork it in the third act.  Arrival isn’t one of those films.  The ending doesn’t kill this film, it makes this film.  It’s not just a suspenseful sci-fi (though that would have been enough) by the time Arrival is done it’s something else.


Of all the reviews I’ve ever done, THIS one is the one I want most to avoid spoiling.  Which makes it extra difficult to review because it’s the events of the film that shaped my opinion of it.  I can discuss the design (excellent) the pacing (precise) and the acting (I didn’t really notice, must have been great) all day, but all I can think is how happy/sad/excited/satisfied/nervous/amazed/whatever I was when I watched this.  Which in itself is impressive – a lesser film couldn’t have made me care enough to worry let alone be astonished by the answer.” (read Mark’s full review HERE)

Special Features

Review of features by Keven Skinner below:

  • Xenolinguistics: Understanding Arrival
  • Acoustic Signatures: The Sound Design
  • Eternal Recurrence: The Score
  • Nonlinear Thinking: The Editorial Process
  • Principles of Time, Memory & Language


Now… I didn’t review Arrival when it his theaters. I went to it. I liked it. I was confused by it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Thought provoking science fiction, a mind-bending twist and storyline that challenges audiences to explore pieces of their brain that they had never imagined to prod until watching this film. Arrival gets better with repeated viewings. The music, the cinematography, the unreal direction from Denis Villeneuve (quickly becoming one of the best directors of our generation), the amazing script from Eric Heisserer… Arrival is unlike any other movie of it’s kind in decades – not since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, has there been a film in this genre that manages to defy this many expectations and push the boundaries of the genre to it’s limits and then ultimately propel past them.


Arrival is not for everyone. It is sad, it is confusing, but ultimately genius in its scope once the pieces start to come together. The special features are also incredible. I actually believe the features included on this Blu-ray make the movie even better. Watch the film – then watch the features. Don’t watch the bonus stuff first – as it will ruin the experience almost immediately. If you’re still reeling and left puzzled by the finale of Arrival, then do yourself a favour and dive into these extras because they will absolutely lay it all out there. Featuring amazing behind-the-scenes journeys in every facet of the making of this movie, exploring the creation of an entire new alien language, to how they designed the creatures, ships and what convinced author Ted Chiang to let them adapt his amazing short story – these bonus segments are among the best of a movie release in quite some time.

(L-R) Amy Adams and director, Denis Villeneuve on the set of the film ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

I may have had some major pacing issues with the film itself, but I cannot deny the greatness of the Blu-ray set and the lengths it goes to exploring the creation of this masterful mind-bending sci-fi drama which tackles the genre in a manner that is nearly impossible to sell to audiences these days. They pulled it off dammit – this Blu-ray will show you how they did that.

Rating: [star rating=”4″]