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This was not a good movie or story, so I don't care.



You care enough to make a dismissive unsubstantive comment. Do you have specific critiques of the movie or story that might contribute to the discussion? I've heard a lot of positive comments. I'd like to hear a constructive dissenting view.


[Warning: Spoiler] The most direct criticism I have is that it's a slightly modified Contact with Interstellar's visual style and time-travel plot twist.


Thanks. Lots of stories are mash-ups or retellings. Sometimes a great production of a classic, well-known tale is a critical success. Is your criticism that it's not wholly original? Did you enjoy the film?


[Spoilers for Arrival, Contact, and Interstellar]

Forget aliens for a moment. Contact is a retelling of one of the oldest stories on record: the plight of the faithful. (Wo)man encounters awe-inspring supernatural force, tells the world but can't prove it, gets dismissed as a fraud/crazy, but goes on knowing in her heart that her experience was real. The rest is implementation details.

Putting a scientist in the role of prophet, and getting buy-in from science-y, atheist audiences by using aliens instead of God (you don't know that they're a God metaphor until you're on Jodie Foster's side), are precisely the kinds of intentional inversions that make adaptations of classic tales great. Present the message differently, using different tools, to appeal to different people in different ways.

In theater, Anais Mitchell's Hadestown takes Orpehus and Eurydice, sets it in 20s Appalachia, and expands a story about a hero into a story about the industrialized world: Orpheus and Eruydice's light, playful hearts are nature and beauty and song, while Hades is heavy industry, the coal mines, the Man, the capitalist machine. Also gives it some awesome music.

Sarah Ruhl's feminist Eurydice, from the same myth, subverts a story of a man's heroics in (trying to) rescue his damsel in distress, and transfers the agency to the damsel. These are both, in my mind, highly successful retellings.

Interstellar certainly has components that you'll find elsewhere - what story doesn't? - but none of them that I can place are a huge part of its identity. I wouldn't classify it as a retelling.

Arrival directly copies the setup of Contact: aliens make contact, we ingeniously decode their communication, the message is a blueprint/schematic for something that might be a weapon. Then it concatenates on the ending of Interstellar: time is non-linear, it can be transcended by the power of (love|language). It is neither faithful to nor a clever inversion of either story. It just takes half a plot from one movie, half a plot from another, and puts a different bridge in between them.

I had a good time in the theater, I'd probably see it again, I just don't have as much respect for the story as I did for either Contact or Interstellar individually. The linguistics were an interesting value add, just not that powerful.


Manipulative use of a dead child as backstory to build character. Lack of science in general, merely spectacle and CGI. Overly emotional melodrama instead of a real story. Is that good enough for you?




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