Author Topic: Arrival (2016)  (Read 1936 times)

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Offline Gravity Allen

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2016, 01:09:05 AM »
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Oh, cool! That's part of what genuinely fascinates me about this idea -- alongside the more technical, languagey stuff. It's like, if someone just came up to you on the street and started speaking a language you didn't know, how would you uncover their intent? Between humans, there are strategies to fall back on, relating to our common experiences; we could mime our way through some of the interaction, for instance, or represent ideas some other way (https://twitter.com/arrivalmovie/status/791988298583412737).

But without any common ground? I feel like if aliens landed, we'd spend a lot of time . . . just . . . kind of . . . awkwardly staring each other down. If they weren't hostile, linguistic communication of some kind would be the only way to determine their intent; a story that gets its hands a little dirty really focusing in on that aspect of things intrigues me! ^_^
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 03:19:55 PM by Gravity Allen »

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2016, 08:53:51 AM »
The question would be "why did they ahem arrive without knowing at least one Earthly language?"
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2016, 10:04:12 AM »
... if someone just came up to you on the street and started speaking a language you didn't know, how would you uncover their intent? ...

One of the hiking lodges I go to gets big groups of Japanese tourists. There is a company that brings big groups over from Japan and provides hiking guides who are also translators. There have been times when I've been the only non-Japanese guest at the lodge. Since the staff are usually busy, I've spent a fair amount of time sitting around in the lodge before or after hiking, unable to communicate with anyone around me. We smile a lot. They talk to me in Japanese, knowing full well that I don't understand a word, and I talk to them in English, knowing that they don't understand a word. I don't know why we do this. Probably for the same reason that monkeys chatter. If something is important I can find the translator/guide. But mostly we just babble at each other. We do share a few mutually understandable hand gestures, such as "come over here" (often used when they want me to join them in a picture) or "you first" (when lining up for meals).
Daniel
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Offline Gravity Allen

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2016, 03:47:30 PM »
The question would be "why did they ahem arrive without knowing at least one Earthly language?"

Hopefully, the movie will at least address this point! If I recall, the short story does, at least implicitly. But it's interesting to consider why we think they should; there are, after all, basic assumptions we make in asking that question -- assumptions that could turn out to be false. Like, we wouldn't ask that of daniel1948's Japanese tourists (i.e., why haven't they learned English). Maybe they just decided to pop in on a whim? They didn't think it'd be worth the effort? They do know our language, but want to see how we react and handle the problem?

Or put it another way: given the opportunity to visit an alien world, knowing that you couldn't really communicate with whoever you found there, would you still go? What if you could learn the language(s), but it would take months, or even years; would you be patient enough to wait? Or would you hop onto the next transport and check it out? As the story (and, hopefully, movie) demonstrates, learning an alien language is no trivial task, and whether one goes to the trouble really depends on the goals of the interaction.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2016, 05:43:34 PM »
In fairness to the Japanese hikers, they come in a guided group with a translator. And they visit places that know that they will be receiving a bunch of non-English-speaking guests with one translator (or two, depending on group size).

Another lodge I visit only accepts guests who speak either English or German (since the family speaks those two languages). They want only people they can speak with. But the Japanese go where they are expected and welcomed.
Daniel
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2016, 07:34:39 PM »
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline Gravity Allen

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2016, 01:31:12 AM »
Just got back from an early screening! It's a lovely film with a lot of big ideas, though it manages not to feel crowded either. It's really intense, I thought -- very emotional; if you've seen his other films, you know what you're in for. There's no point in getting into it too much, before everyone else has had the chance to go see it, but I'll say that they *do* address the question of why the aliens haven't learned our language, so worry not. ;)

One geeky aside I can't help but share: I was privileged enough to get to see it here in Montreal, with the linguists who worked as consultants on the film. Though the short story's old enough for them to have read it in high school (they're now both professors at McGill's linguistics department), it's hard not to imagine Amy Adams' character being based off Dr. Jessica Coon, who had the biggest hand. I'm definitely happy the field's getting its 15 minutes. ;D

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2016, 02:37:26 PM »
Just got back from seeing this. I picked up the short shory collection by Ted Chiang containing the novella this is based on a few days ago, but held off on reading it until I saw the film. Glad I did. It's best to go in as unspoiled as possible, I do intend to read the source story this evening.

This the most intelligent SF film in years, in my humble opinion. But it stills packs a great deal of emotion. Amy Adams is phenomenal in this!  The aliens are some of the most alien ever depicted in cinematic science-fiction. The special effects are refreshingly low-key and serve as background for the story and excellent character development. ARRIVAL easily earns a place on my list of top ten SF films ever made.

A movie with the central themes of understanding and communication was  a welcome relief after the events of this past week.

Oh, and in the credits Phil Plate is listed as a consultant! I hope the Rogues discuss this film on the podcast.   

Offline Gravity Allen

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2016, 03:50:15 PM »
Just got back from seeing this. I picked up the short shory collection by Ted Chiang containing the novella this is based on a few days ago, but held off on reading it until I saw the film. Glad I did. It's best to go in as unspoiled as possible, I do intend to read the source story this evening.

This the most intelligent SF film in years, in my humble opinion. But it stills packs a great deal of emotion. Amy Adams is phenomenal in this!  The aliens are some of the most alien ever depicted in cinematic science-fiction. The special effects are refreshingly low-key and serve as background for the story and excellent character development. ARRIVAL easily earns a place on my list of top ten SF films ever made.

A movie with the central themes of understanding and communication was  a welcome relief after the events of this past week.

Oh, and in the credits Phil Plate is listed as a consultant! I hope the Rogues discuss this film on the podcast.

Oh, cool! Good eye! I was so busy looking for other names, I totally didn't notice Phil's. I really hope they do a review; I know Steve's a big Kubrick fan, and this one definitely has hints of 2001. Like Interstellar before it, I think there's definitely some juicy science meat to chew on with this one. :laugh:

Also, a interesting question occurred to me shortly after seeing it (:cthulhu:-sized spoilers ahead):

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« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 07:55:23 PM by Gravity Allen »

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2016, 03:27:35 AM »
Very good!  Speculative sci-fi, great atmosphere.  It didn't fall into any of the traps I was worried about and overall was quite effective.
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2016, 07:02:12 AM »
Well, all the above changes my plans. I usually scout this kind of movie so Boss Lady doesn't have to sit through duds on her precious days off. Doesn't appear that we'll have to do that this time. Well done, all.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2016, 02:46:49 PM »
Well, all the above changes my plans. I usually scout this kind of movie so Boss Lady doesn't have to sit through duds on her precious days off. Doesn't appear that we'll have to do that this time. Well done, all.

 I actually think that this one of the rare SF films that women will be moved by......especially if they are mothers. (probably said too much)









Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2016, 04:15:30 PM »
Just finished "Story of Your Life" the source short story for the film. Very much glad I saw the movie first. I have to say, while the story certainly has it's merits, the film improves upon it. It amazes me that anyone saw a  movie in this. It's not very cinematic at all. Lofty kudos to the writer and director for fashioning such an entertaining movie from a frankly dry short story.

In the story, the aliens remain in orbit around the Earth, only sending down 129 "looking glasses" or communications devices scattered around the globe. Nine of these are located in the United States alone. Humans and aliens never directly interact in  the story. The international tensions of the film are totally absent from the story.

The story goes far more  into the details of the science of linguistics and the difficulties of communicating  with the aliens than any film could, of course. And it is interesting. The basic plot, central theme and end point of the story remains intact with the film. But  ARRIVAL  makes a major change concerning the emotional component of the story (trying to dance around spoilers here) that I feel is a vast improvement.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 04:23:20 PM by Paul Blevins Jr. »

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2016, 07:35:38 PM »
Remember, "2001" was based on a short story, as was "Thing From Another World".
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: Arrival (2016)
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2016, 06:11:34 AM »
Remember, "2001" was based on a short story, as was "Thing From Another World".

Sure, many movies have been based on short stories. Some are good, bad, worse than the original, better than the original. What's your point?

I didn't mean to imply that basing a movie on a short story was a misguided idea. I just found that this particular story did not scream "would  make a great movie!". It's still a good story, but the movie expands and improves upon it, in my humble opinion. 

 

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