It would seem we fans of Smart Science Fiction only get about one worthy entry in the sub-genre a year (I count Smart Science Fiction as a category all its own). Sometimes every few years. Films like The Martian, Ex Machina, Moon, Contact, Solaris (both versions, although the original Russian film is superior), Primer, Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey and dare I say it… Interstellar (I didn’t particularly like Interstellar, but I never considered it a stupid science fiction film – it just wasn’t my cup of tea) come out in theaters all-too-rarely. Instead we get stupid shit like endless Transformers, Resident Evil, and Alien vs. Predator franchise films. For every one fantastic and cerebral film like Timecrimes we get a dozen Battlefield Earths, the Rollerball remake, Wing Commander, Lost in Space, the Lawnmower “Virtual Reality Will Turn You into a Superhuman Digital Monster” Man, that totally fucked first Planet of the Apes reboot starring Mark Walberg directed by, holy creeping Jesus, Tim Burton?!? I mean, seriously, I could spend the next several days amassing a master list of all the worst Science Fiction films ever made. It would take me an hour to make the same list for the greatest Sci Fi films. There’s that many bad Sci Fi films out there and that few good. It’s like film studios are clown cars and stupid sci fi movies are the clowns. Stupid, ugly clowns sitting around drooling into a pile of their own shit wondering how in the world anybody can possibly sort out gross grammatical pickles like the proper usage of there, their and they’re. You see, because they’re morons.
And then there’s ARRIVAL. That’s right, all caps [sic]. I put it in all caps because, HOLY SHIT IT’S GOOD.
Arrival is one of those rare films where your movie-going experience is 100% enhanced by knowing exactly dick going into it. If you’ve seen a trailer then you know the basic premise, but what the trailers do not show you is what makes Arrival such a fantastic, not only Science Fiction film, but film, period. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote a very pointed and concise description of how Science Fiction is unfairly viewed in critical circles. Arrival is one of those films brimming with heart, brains and confidence, the same qualities that allowed ________ to win a Best Picture Oscar in _______. You’ll notice the Best Picture winner and year are left blank. That’s because no Science Fiction film has ever won a Best Picture Academy Award. This is a trophy that has gone to dreck like Crash, Chicago, A Beautiful Mind, Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, and the king mother of films wrapped in unwarranted, unearned, and totally unbelievable praise… Forrest Fucking Gump. Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for Best Picture last year, along with nominations in 9 other categories. It did not win Best Picture, but it did win 6 Oscars in other categories. So there is hope. Maybe this year Arrival will make history by actually winning Best Picture. It won’t. Not when critics are creaming themselves over ‘serious drama’ like Manchester by the Sea and Fences. But one can dream.
I’m not going to run the risk of negatively impacting your movie-going experience in any way if you have not seen Arrival. I won’t get into the super smart plot or wonderful performances. Just go see it. Nooooooo, don’t get sucked in by La La Land’s pandering horse shit, Assassin’s Creed’s hazy rooftop antics, or Passengers lead actors’ chemistry. Buy a ticket and go see Arrival. If you come out of it with a negative opinion, then ask yourself this… is Forrest Gump a better film than Pulp Fiction (or The Shawshank Redemption for that matter)? If your answer is yes, then please, for the good of humanity, lay down and stop breathing. You’re poisoning the gene pool.
I really hate Forrest Gump.
p.s. I am aware that Lord of the Rings: The Return of the The King won Best Picture in 2003. It’s not Science Fiction. It’s Fantasy.