Proving yet again that science-fiction can be a vehicle not only for intergalactic thrills but also for inherently human drama, Arrival was one of 2016’s finest films. If you missed this first-contact thriller — which doubled as an inquiry into the nature of communication and time itself — during its successful theatrical run ($99.4 million at the U.S. box office), tomorrow’s your chance to catch up with director Denis Villeneuve’s gem when it’s released on Blu-ray and DVD. To whet your alien-drama appetite ahead of that debut, look above to play a ten-minute clip from the film exclusive to Yahoo Movies.
In the scene, linguist Dr. Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams, makes herself at home in the U.S. government tents stationed near one of the dozen UFOs hovering over locations around the globe. After doing her best to explain the difficulties of striking up a conversation with creatures who don’t communicate as we do — either verbally, or in written form — she tests out her theories in practice by trying to chat with the giant seven-limbed “heptapods” whose appearance on Earth has raised a host of (potentially alarming) questions.
Arrival’s writer Eric Heisserer — whose script received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay — recently told us that he was drawn to the film’s source material, Ted Chiang’s award-winning short story “Story of Your Life,” because of its surprising emotional power:
“I would say it’s rare to find a story, even a science-fiction story, that appeals to both the head and the heart. Ted is just a magician in that way, in that he crafted this story here — “Story of Your Life” — that taught me so much about linguistics and science. We’re talking about a piece of fiction that has a graph delineating Fermat’s Principle of Least Time in it, so it gets very detailed and theoretical. And with all of that came this bittersweet, heart-filled story about a mother and daughter, and that relationship. By the end of it, I was just emotionally devastated and uplifted at the same time.”
While Chiang’s story doesn’t, on the surface, seem like surefire movie material — thanks in large part to its non-linear structure — Heisserer was happy to find that, for the most part, those involved with the project believed it could be turned into a successful film:
“There really wasn’t any push-back from the producers, or the buyers; I believe we probably got a little bit of push-back once the studio, Paramount, finally got to see the film. There was some question of, will audiences follow this or not? But thankfully, my creative partners early on embraced it as well.”
To see how the ten minutes above fit into Arrival as a whole, grab a copy on Blu-ray and DVD beginning tomorrow, Feb. 14. And to read our entire conversation with its Academy Award-nominated writer, Eric Heisserer, check back at Yahoo Movies later this week.
Watch as ‘Arrival’ Oscar Nominees Denis Villeneuve and Bradford Young Describe the Alien Movie’s ‘Dirty Sci-Fi’ (Yahoo Movies Exclusive):