When I first saw the trailer for Arrival, I knew that I wanted to see it as it reminded me of something from classic sci-fi shows such as The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone. Looks like I wasn’t far off as it does capture a lot of what those two series tried to bring home, which is cerebral, hardcore sci-fi that forces us to look upon ourselves when confronted with supernatural or extraterrestrial things and how we handle them. I’m happy to say Arrival does this and then some in what is possibly one of the best films you’ll see this year, and the 4K UHD Blu-ray just makes it an even deeper experience.
Fellow editor Chris Pandolfi reviewed the theatrical release of this film, so you can check out his take on the movie as well as all the plot details and such. This leaves me free to jump right into my two cents on the 4K UHD version and the special features. I just want to say that Chris summed up this movie perfectly in his review and captured exactly how I feel about it. While it is a very slow moving film, it is extremely deep and emotional with some hardcore sci-fi elements mixed in. Most will think that this is some kind of alien invasion flick right off the bat, but this film is hardly about the aliens at all and instead focuses on what choices we make in life, and more importantly would we still make certain choices if we knew all the options. To say anymore would ruin a truly epic tale, but you owe it to yourself to experience this one if you even remotely love sci-fi or drama movies.
To say this feature looks amazing in 4K is an understatement. Thanks to the heightened resolution and HDR, every beautiful detail from the aliens and their “shell” ships, to the scenery and characters look gorgeous. Since this movie deals a lot with sound and language, the audio is definitely on point here as every piece comes through beautifully, from the deep, guttural noises the aliens make, to the military and their equipment, to the all important dialogue. When the deepness comes to an end, there’s a slew of extra to go through, starting with “Xenolinguistics: Understanding Arrival” that’s a nice thirty minute feature that goes into the film’s development and production as shared by the cast and crew members. “Acoustic Signatures: The Sound Design” has the sound team and the director discuss how they came up with the various sounds and their effects for the movie. One of my favorites is “Eternal Recurrence: The Score” that has composer Jóhann Jóhannsson working with director Denis Villeneuve once again and how he went about making the haunting and moving soundtrack for this film. With both the movie and score being this good, I can’t wait to see what they do for the upcoming Blade Runner sequel. There’s also two other extras on here that further go behind the scenes and how some of the elements came together, but these are the ones that stood out to me the most.
If you love drama or hardcore sci-fi films, or just deep ones for that matter, you’ll want to come on board with Arrival. A beautifully crafted piece made even better thanks to 4K UHD visuals and sound serve to make this an emotional experience you won’t soon forget, and is a must-have for any movie lover’s collection.