In the midst of a successful, albeit relatively young career, Denis Villeneuve may have directed, arguably, his most critically successful endeavor in the form of this year's sci-fi picture Arrival. Arrival not only garnered rave reviews from its critics, it is also expected to receive several nominations at the upcoming Academy Awards – including Best Actress for its standout lead Amy Adams, as well as a nod from the highly-coveted Best Picture category, among others.
Perhaps where this feature shines the brightest, however, is in its tightly-written script. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer worked extremely hard, and for several years, to bring Ted Chiang's short story to the big screen; with the end result being one of 2016's finest pictures. That said, it would appear that Arrival not only succeeds in delivering an entertaining story to moviegoing audiences but a scientifically accurate one as well.
According to Science vs. Cinema (h/t /Film), a YouTube series created by astrophysicist Andy Howell and filmmaker James Darling in order to review the scientific accuracy of Hollywood films, Arrival may be more based in reality than you would first anticipate. Through interviews with linguist Jessica Coon, SETI astronomer Seth Shostak, and world-renowned physicist and mathematician Stephen Wolfram, Science vs Cinema host Dr. Andy Howell explores the plausibility of Arrival's events.
What Dr. Howell and audiences soon learn, is that resources such as Wolfram and Coon were used throughout the research process of the film. Both of the film's stars, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, met with Jessica Coon and Stephen Wolfram in order to gather more backstory for their respective characters. Additionally, each of these highly regarded professionals was tapped for information during the filming process as well. Not to mention, real coding, real programs, and even a brand new language was created for this ambitious endeavor.
Moving forward from an age full of popcorn sci-fi flicks, it is nice to see a project handled with such care and respect. Denis Villeneuve has never been a filmmaker known for skimping on the research, but the work that must have gone into Arrival is a different story entirely. All of this hard work and dedication are evident in even the most minute of details from within the film, its dialogue, special effects, and its presentation.
With this successful sci-fi feature film now behind Villeneuve, fans of the director should look forward to his next project, Blade Runner 2049, even more than ever before.