I very nearly labelled The Arrival worthwhile. Ultimately it is saddled with a few too many issues, deficiencies and goateed Charlie Sheens to justify the assertion. But I will say that
director David Twohy has built a nice little CV of movies that deliberately don’t just toe the mainstream line, with cult favourite Pitch Black and the under-rated Below as two fine follow up efforts, and say what you want about The Chronicles of Riddick – and one day I will – but it attempted to be BIG.
In The Arrival, Zane (Charlie Sheen) is a workaholic astronomer who comes across a potentially history making discovery, which he promptly takes to his Boss.
Within days he has been sacked, lost his good name in the industry, his best friend is dead and everyone is starting to think he has gone nuts. (Wow, most of that sounds like the real Charlie Sheen.)
Undaunted Zane and a nosy neighbour kid set up a giant elaborate ham radio to try to once again locate the mysterious signal, which Zane thinks might be proof of intelligent life in outer space.
His research leads him to Mexico, where he hooks up with an American female scientist investigating another angle that has brought her to the same location. Gee I wonder if they might be related?
What follows is a lotta the right place, right time stuff, as Zane lucks into top secret finds and unbelievable coincidences. And all the while others seem to be watching his every move, and not your run of the mill others…
As Zane moves inexorably closer to uncovering the truth the movie picks up the pace, still a few dead spots drag, costing the film momentum and boosting the running time to an unnecessary 2 hours. To Sheen’s credit he doesn’t phone his performance as Zane in, which given the subject matter he might well have done, the result is hardly awesome
but often admirable.
The Arrival is the prototypical 6.5 film, not nearly good enough to recommend to friends, but you won’t feel jipped having watched it. And as with every 80s and 90s sci-fi film it might very well have been better with more advance CGI and special effects.
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. An ambitious muddle, a little sci-fi with some drama and action. Not enough of anything to make it that good, but a decent effort nonetheless.