With critically acclaimed films like Prisoners and Sicario under his belt, Denis Villeneuve is one of the up-and-coming directors in the industry. His previous successes have landed him a high-profile gig as the helmsman for Blade Runner 2, but before he calls the shots on that movie, audiences will get a taste of his approach to sci-fi in the form of this year’s Arrival. A first contact drama, it tells the story of a linguist (Amy Adams) who must determine if alien visitors are friend or foe.
Just under three months remain until the film’s premiere (as of this writing), and the studios are now beginning their marketing campaign. Domestic distributor Paramount got things started in the way of a TV spot and images last week, and now they’ve released the first full trailer to set the stage for the plot. You can watch the preview above.
The trailer establishes an outline for the narrative, in which Adams’ Dr. Louise Banks discovers that the ship that’s in the U.S.A. is one of 12 such craft across the globe. As the countries of the world try to work together to figure out the aliens’ intentions, some nations view the extraterrestrials as a threat, and the possibility of a war looms over the operation. In addition, there are severe personal stakes at hand for Banks, as she’s greatly impacted by her work with the aliens (see: Jeremy Renner’s line, “Are you dreaming in their language?”). Per the official synopsis, Banks takes a chance that could spell the end of her life and humanity, so Villeneuve isn’t cutting any corners.
Sony is handling the project overseas, and in conjunction with the domestic preview, they released an international trailer for Arrival, which you can see above. It offers new footage and details, such as the aliens’ request for the humans to “offer weapon.” This twist adds some intrigue to the proceedings, since it’s unclear from the trailers what the aliens’ ultimate objectives are. For as much as is shown in these two previews, there are still numerous questions about Arrival left to be solved, which is a welcomed development.
Arrival should prove to be one of the more fascinating offerings in fall 2016. Renner described the film as a hybrid between the works of Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg, which is reaffirmed in these trailers. It’s easy to make comparisons to Spielberg’s classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind (a hopeful tale of making contact with aliens), but the overall tone and atmosphere of Arrival hints at something a little more ominous than that. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together, but it looks like sci-fi fans will not be disappointed with the results.
Given Arrival‘s release date in the thick of awards season, there’s a chance it becomes a player at this year’s Oscars as well. Since the Academy expanded the Best Picture category, genre works like Gravity and The Martian have found their way into the field. Arrival certainly has the pedigree with a respected director and a top-notch cast, so it’s definitely one to watch as we approach the tail end of 2016.
Arrival opens in U.S. theaters November 11, 2016.
Sources: Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures