Sunday, April 2, 2017
They came almost at the same time, and in cinema time lapse that means exactly at the same time; so it’s like a festival of Science Fiction, and in a big way, form the obvious effects to the less obvious scripts. But the results are way too different for any average Sci-Fi consumer, from the deepest of linguistic theories to the lightness of a fake love drama. That’s why it’s unfair to compare one to the other, with what looks like a clear advantage for Arrival, unless you talk about special effects; and not because that deep plot of Arrival doesn’t’ have great effects, but because they’re just the average and functional, not spectaculars.
That’s the big advantage of Passengers, a show of almost magic and beauty at its best; with the only problem of a weak plot —a real weak one—, build with improbabilities one after another. The film is so weak that becomes a parody of itself, and display its beauty like a dystopia to corrupt any hope on humanity; from the egotism on the main character —which lure us with a drama in perspective— to the series of technical failures that lead to the conflict. The problem is not the start, with that meteor shower so improbable in reality, because that’s where the fiction starts; the problem begins with the whiteness of the cast, not matter the presence of Laurence Fishburne, so small and secondary that looks like a utility, even behind the android.
It could be a twisted interest of the plot, as a tangent to alert about our hope in a technological singularity without a parallel grow on our minds; and a big irony lays on the class disparity that echoes our own societal actuality. But that approach is so subtle that could be sustained only for the best intellectual will, and that’s not the Hollywood’s strength; also, everybody repeats along the film that the company has a history of security, and flaws never occur… unless accidental. What it’s more proper of the industry is the exuberance of the show, about all when it sets the suddenly loss of gravity; and from that point, the film goes down the path to mediocrity through and adventure episode like Indiana Jones; to end with the most fake resuscitation drama, and the cliché of a forest improper but compulsively build inside the spaceship.
Differently, Arrival advances a theory based on linguistics, and develops a very real drama of humanity; with contradictions that appeal to our most rooted concepts about moral, sensibility and culture. Even —and from the beginning— the film is less offensively withe, with a strong —and not as a mere utility— counterpart on the great Forest Whitaker; but also contrast the projection of sciences like theoretical physic and linguistic, that end collaborating one with the other, making a statement with so little jokes. The script is so serious that probes a theory about precognition in a very solid manner, anchored in the anthropologic means of linguistic; and its adventure episodes are absolutely credible, even at the surprising end, that explain —as on the old films from other times— all the questions it dramatically opened.
As a secondary gift on Arrival, the morphologic solution of the aliens is never on the middle of the plot; even if it’s mentioned in this scope, advising to don’t expect triviality from the director, a French Canadian who knows how to draw a drama. On the technical aspects, both films are above average, with the says difference on their respective script and main interest; and also with the performance of the actors, from the mains to even the uneven roles of Fishburne and Whitaker.