Arrival film - week later - serious and catastrophic review reappraisal
Arrival was a lovely film... but what why the crippling role of TIME TRAVEL in the storyline?
I mean, it worked as an edited (re-edited) editorial style... or did it?
Did it really work? Was the Joe Walker recut any more revealing than the original cut? That message from General Shang head of the Chinese military? I was okay with it at the time, or was I? The ending was very much like a recapping of things that have already happened where the film was actively about these things that are yet to happen. So, what the end of the film did was FLIP TIME to answer its own question about the non-linearity of time.
Is the 'critical information falling backwards through the time loop' any less of a sin than the classical time paradox of 'killing one's own grandparents'? I mean, it feels like Hollywood have used this motif a lot, in an effort to avoid what's called Time Paradox. I understand that this film is based on the original short story Story Of Your Life by Ted Chiang and I understand that story's contention that 'learning (such) a foreign language might alter one's brain' but I'm not convinced the 'time element' should have featured so critically in this film's solution.
What could have been a celluloid classic of GAE or Galactic Alien Empathy was given this throw-away General Shang-delivered get-out-of-jail-free card for Humanity and then the aliens were quickly like, "Oh, we found you (that's specific person you) because you'll help us fix us in 3,000 years," and it's all potentially starting to sound like several other films where insectoidal future Humans return to Earth to beg/borrow/steal the genetic traits of their forefathers their galaxy travels have somehow eradicated or worn out.
There's a very real paradox in having someone send a message to the past that can be used to alter the future. I think Philip K Dick did 'precogs' the best: he had these poor time-straddling creatures constantly battling the multiple time-variants of their precognitive actions. But then such a narrative device becomes a Groundhog Day of efforts made that fail fail fail until that one time-line you find that has a satisfactory outcome (for your agenda). But such a time-fixing moment will only allow an arbitrary future to progress from that point and you'd never really see the consequences of your actions because your precog work begins afresh once you(think you')ve found the time-paradox sweetspot. Time loops always collapse.
Arrival's excuse-for-an-ending is a bullshit play, is what I'm saying. There must have been a better way to unwind this language-translation film, is what I'm saying... change ANYTHING and you change the entire universe i.e. on the personal level, you are no longer the same you.