Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: The day has finally come when intelligent beings from another world have landed on earth. Not just one spaceship, but twelve of them each located in a different country, massive in size and shaped like elongated eggs. They hover a few feet above the surface of the ground, and whoever is inside make no effort to leave their ship. Naturally a worldwide pandemonium breaks out speculating on their purpose, wondering if the aliens’ intentions are peaceful or hostile, and how to respond to the situation. The stock market drops a whopping 2000 points the first day, and Americans go on a gun buying spree until the ATF puts a cap on new gun licenses.
The twelve governments hosting the alien space craft cautiously set up a network of communications to exchange information about the aliens, which is very little and slow to come by. The chief obstacle is communication. The aliens do have a method of communicating, but it is so radically different from humans that it may prove impossible to relate to the visitors. The U.S. Army sends Col Weber (Forest Whitaker) to recruit the best linguist available, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), and she is choppered to the top secret camp next to the alien craft along with physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). They spearhead the labor intensive effort to determine how to talk to an alien species, and find out the crucial answer as to why they have come.
This is a terrific movie with an engrossing story that is delivered by an A list cast. Having said that, a word of caution to movie goers who associate stories about aliens coming to earth with movies like War Of The Worlds and Independence Day, cause this movie is nothing like those action flicks. For lack of a better word, this is a cerebral experience that forces the viewer to be patient, and pay close attention to connect the dots as the scientists painstakingly work to understand the aliens. There is suspense that builds, and a satisfactory conclusion if you hang in for the ride. I suspect if there is ever a real UFO landing, this is how governments would respond. One of the best film experiences of the year.
Dialogue Nuggets: Radio Caller – “If this is some sort of peaceful contact why send 12? Why not just send one?”
Louise – “Why don’t we just talk to them before we start throwing math problems at them?”
TV Anchor – “800,000 march on Washington to protest their handling of the crisis.”
Ian to Louise – “I’m curious. Are you dreaming in their language?”
Louise – “If all I ever gave you was a hammer.…” Col Weber – “Everything becomes a nail.”
Louise – “Time isn’t the same for them, it’s non-linear.”
Chinese General Chang to Louise – “18 months ago you did something even my superior could not do. You changed my mind.”