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95 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SCI-FI AS IT SHOULD BE...
"The Arrival" was underrated when it was first released, and, as with all good, underrated movies, it has since become a cult favorite. Clever and imaginative, a lot was done on a limited budget to make it into a top notch sci-fi thriller. It has an intelligent and well reasoned story, and the special effects are imaginative.
Charlie Sheen, clean and sober, plays...
Published on March 2, 2002 by Lawyeraau

versus
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This review is of the blu-ray release, not the film!
This reviewer considers The Arrival one of the TEN BEST science fiction films ever!

My comparisons between the standard (red-ray) Live-Artisan DVD double feature (The Arrival and Arrival II, dual sided single disc); and the blu-ray release are below. I have never seen the original single-sided red-ray release of just The Arrival (Live-Artisan); or the red-ray...
Published on May 11, 2009 by jammer


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95 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SCI-FI AS IT SHOULD BE..., March 2, 2002
This review is from: The Arrival / The Arrival II (DVD)
"The Arrival" was underrated when it was first released, and, as with all good, underrated movies, it has since become a cult favorite. Clever and imaginative, a lot was done on a limited budget to make it into a top notch sci-fi thriller. It has an intelligent and well reasoned story, and the special effects are imaginative.
Charlie Sheen, clean and sober, plays radio astronomer, Zane Zaminski, who picks up radio signals that are not earthly. When he takes a copy of the tape of these signals, which he believes to be indicative of intelligent, alien life, to his boss, chillingly played by Ron Silver, he is summarily fired from his job. Suddenly, all is not right with the world.
Smelling something real fishy, Zane sets up a home satellite and tries to zero in on the signal. He gets lucky, or unlucky, depending upon how one looks at it, and he picks up the same signal he previously had picked up. It crosses a signal given off by a Mexican radio station, which motivates him to go to Mexico and check it out.
While in Mexico, he meets a fellow scientist (Lindsay Crouse), who is there on her own investigation, as she has noted major atmospheric changes, which indicate that global warming is occurring at an alarming rate, almost as if there were a greenhouse effect. Unbeknownst to Zane at the time, her concerns are connected to his.
While at a power plant with her, he comes across a doppelganger for his former boss, which sets off alarms in his head. Returning undercover at night, he discovers that the entire plant is operated by aliens, and they are not here just to say hello. There, a series of events transpire to reveal to him an immense, alien plot. Yes, it's the old alien conspiracy story rearing its ugly head. Only this time, it is handled with surprising intelligence. Zane is now on a mission to convey what he knows to the world, but the aliens will stop at nothing to silence him. Will he make it? Watch the film and find out. If you love sci-fi films, you will not be disappointed.
"Arrival II", the sequel to "The Arrival", is not in the same league. None of the original cast are in it. Instead,, the viewer gets handsome Patrick Muldoon in the role of Jack Addison, Zane's estranged brother, picking up where Zane left off in the fight against alien invasion. Jack teams up with investigative reporter Bridget Riordan, played with energetic enthusiasm by Jane Sibbert. Together they seek to foil the sinister alien conspiracy that threatens mankind.
Lacking the more intelligent script and better production values of "The Arrival", the sequel still manages to entertain. Borrowing some of the original themes and types of special effects, it is played out as more of an action film with a lot of chase scenes. While I did not enjoy it as much as the original, I forgave it some of its faux pas and enjoyed it, nonetheless. All in all, it is an entertaining, sci-fi film.
This DVD is really value priced for what one gets. One gets two full length, feature films, both of which are enjoyable. The DVD also gives the viewer the standard production notes, cast and crew bios, as well as a theatrical teaser and trailer. Moreover, the quality of picture and sound is excellent for both films. This is a DVD well worth having in one's collection, if one is a sci-fi fan.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite sci-fi thrillers., December 2, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Arrival (DVD)
Released around the same time as the moronic Independence Day, it's too bad The Arrival was killed at the box office. It's truly the vastly superior film, with an intelligent plot, strong performances, adroit direction, and a lightning pace. Independence Day needed souped-up action scenes to keep the audience awake, but writer/director David Twohy holds the audience's attention with an engaging story, filled with little surprises that unfold brilliantly. I actually saw this movie before Twohy become hot property with the equally great Pitch Black, so I can tell this man is going to be one of the most sought after writer/directors in Hollywood.
The performances are stellar, with Charlie Sheen superb as the paranoid protagonist. Many felt he was miscast for some strange reason. I felt he fit the role perfectly. Teri Polo is good as the girlfriend who may be more than she seems. She's not in the movie nearly as much as Sheen, but she makes an impression with her beauty and solid performance. Ron Silver is utterly chilling as Sheen's boss, who knows more than he's saying. His underplaying of the role is a wise choice; an over-the-top performance would have been out of place.
Twohy is also impressive in creating action scenes. The chases in The Arrival are true heart-pounders, but they work so well because of the intriguing story and the vested interest we have in Sheen, who creates a truly likeable character to root for. Those who want only mindless action sequences might as well go for Independence Day, but for those looking for sharper suspense, thrills and a plot, The Arrival is the obvious choice.
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most underrated sci-fi/thriller of the 90's, March 26, 2000
By 
Eric (Tennessee) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Arrival [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The Arrival is a little known science fiction thriller thatarrived in the early summer of 1996 a year that is much more wellknown for a little film called Independence Day. Both movies are about alien invasions, but are different in execution and style. As to where Independence Day is an action film about visuals and explosions, The Arrival focuses on paranoia, plausibility, and drawing the audience in with an intriguing and credible plot.
Zane Ziminski (Charlie Sheen) and his partner Calvin (Richard Schiff) are radio astronomers who have picked up a signal from outer space, just around a star called Wolf 336, which is 14.6 light years away from Earth. Arrival is writer David Twohy's directorial debut (his other work is Pitch Black, another great sci-fi thriller) and he does a very good job. He makes the plot quite intelligent and keeps the pace moving quickly with a riveting finale. The underlying paranoia is one of the aspects that fuels this movie along. X-Files fans should definitely enjoy this film and get a kick out of it.
Many critics seemed to think Charlie Sheen was miscast, though I find no credibility in that statement. He is superb in his role as a normal guy who gets caught up in a dangerous conspiracy. His entire performance is very believable and it's easy to feel sympathetic and root for him at the same time. The supporting performances are decent, with Teri Polo and Lindsay Cruise doing fine jobs as the women in Zane's life. Ron Silver is particularly menacing as a CEO executive of SETI and he plays his part with a lot of subtlety.
There's a lot of scientific talk in this film with many ideas thrown around and developed but it's doubtful viewers will get lost in this film's plot. It may seem confusing at first but it starts to become clear by the middle and the end.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SCI-FI AS IT SHOULD BE..., July 8, 2001
This review is from: The Arrival [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This movie was underrated when it was first released, and, as with all good, underrated movies, it has since become a cult favorite. Clever and imaginative, a lot was done on a limited budget to make it into a top notch sci-fi thriller. It has an intelligent and well reasoned story, and the special effects are imaginative.
Charlie Sheen, clean and sober, plays radio astronomer, Zane Zaminski, who picks up radio signals that are not earthly. When he takes a copy of the tape of these signals, which he believes to be indicative of intelligent, alien life, to his boss, chillingly played by Ron Silver, he is summarily fired from his job. Suddenly, all is not right with the world.
Smelling something real fishy, Zane sets up a home satellite and tries to zero in on the signal. He gets lucky, or unlucky, depending upon how one looks at it, and he picks up the same signal he previously had picked up. It crosses a signal given off by a Mexican radio station, which motivates him to go to Mexico and check it out.
While in Mexico, he meets a fellow scientist (Lindsay Crouse), who is there on her own investigation, as she has noted major atmospheric changes, which indicate that global warming is occurring at an alarming rate, almost as if there were a greenhouse effect. Unbeknownst to Zane at the time, her concerns are connected to his.
While at a power plant with her, he comes across a doppelganger for his former boss, which sets off alarms in his head. Returning undercover at night, he discovers that the entire plant is operated by aliens, and they are not here just to say hello. There, a series of events transpire to reveal to him an immense, alien plot. Yes, it's the old alien conspiracy story rearing its ugly head. Only this time, it is handled with surprising intelligence. Zane is now on a mission to convey what he knows to the world, but the aliens will stop at nothing to silence him. Will he make it? Watch the film and find out. If you love sci-fi films, you will not be disappointed.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best space alien invasion movie ever, and a lousy sequel, July 24, 2000
By 
S. Schonberger (near Seattle, WA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Arrival / The Arrival II (DVD)
I haven't seen every space alien invasion movie ever made, but I still think I can safely call The Arrival the best ever made in that genre. Too bad it was mostly lost in the marketing assault of Independence Day, a spectacularly awful movie in the same genre. Not only is The Arrival the best space alien invasion movie ever, it's one of the better science fiction movies.
The Arrival, unlike most space alien invasion movies, gives the invaders motivations, cleverness in place of firepower, secrecy instead of grand overconfidence, exploitation of human weakness, and an overall sense that beings capable of star travel aren't stupid. The hero is clever too, and dedicated to his work, and finds a credible way to continue his research after things go bad at the office. He usually makes common-sense decisions rather than idiotic blunders or ridiculously lucky choices. It's good when characters in a movie do what we'd do, instead of something that doesn't make sense but forces the plot in the direction the movie-makers wanted.
Unfortunately, The Second Arrival was an undistinguished sequel. It wasn't truly awful except in comparison to the original, but it certainly wasn't good. Its first problem was that the original didn't leave a good place for a sequel to go, even though its ending left some things unresolved. Another problem is that no one involved in the original was interested in the sequel. Some of the visual design was borrowed from it, but little or none of the mood or intelligence. It's just a not-very-exciting chase movie borrowing a title and a few themes from the original. It's as if a piece of cheesy fan fiction had been adapted into a movie.
To rate the DVD, which has The Arrival on one side and The Second Arrival on the other, it's best to think of the latter as just a DVD extra. Even the lamest DVD extras shouldn't reduce the rating for a good movie. I rate The Arrival at five stars. The Second Arrival deserves only one star, but since it was free with a movie I would have bought anyway, I can give it two. This DVD doesn't do anything bad to The Arrival, so I give it the same five stars as the movie.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Science Fiction Highpoint, October 16, 2004
By 
Stephen B. O'Blenis (Nova Scotia, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Arrival (DVD)
One of the best movies ever made about the concept of cotact with extraterrestrial life; one of the best 'conspiracy' movies (maybe THE best); "The Arrival" is an involved, intelligent and dark science fiction tale that should appeal to fans of suspense thrillers and horror movies just as much as sci-fi enthusiasts. Dead-on realistic with uniformly excellent performances, including top-billed Charlie Sheen (I never would have guessed from movies like "Hot Shots" and "Major League" that he'd be so capable of doing this kind of role so excellently) and Ron Silver, outstanding special effects and true conceptual innovation, I would have to rank this as one of the best science fiction movies ever.

Two radio astronomers involved with the ongoing globally co-ordinated scanning of the skies for radio waves that could be of artificial origin (alien transmissions) suddenly hit the jackpot when on one random night, 'The' transmission gets picked up. What should be the discovery of a lifetime becomes a maddening frustration as they're disbelieved and suppressed, and a nightmare as more drastic action is taken and the movie begins to reveal the stunning iceberg that the initial, undeciphered transmission was just the merest tip of. Outstanding.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ranks among the best sci-fi thrillers (maybe it IS the best), August 9, 2002
This review is from: The Arrival [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Writer/director David Twohy accomplished the near-impossible in the summer of 1996; he delivered a fun, fast-paced AND intelligent sci-fi thriller with The Arrival, an intriguing, thought-provoking film that was unfairly ignored in theaters at the time of its release (most viewers chose to see Twister, M:I, Independence Day). The movie has a classic premise, featuring a radio astronomer (Charlie Sheen) who receives a signal from outer space that may or may not have come from extraterrestrial life.

To say anymore would be unforgivable, as Twohy packs in believable twists and turns throughout the plot, which is fun without insulting the brain, and complex without ever bogging down in mind-numbing confusion. The script does have a few head-scratchers here and there (I was particularly miffed that Lindsay Crouse's character, an environmentalist, wasn't familiar with the concept of terraforming) and some contrivances, but they're hardly bothersome and aren't noticeable until a second viewing.
As good a screenwriter as Twohy is, he's even more adept as a director (further proven by Pitch Black, a superbly crafted deep-space thriller with a script not even half as smart as The Arrival's). With great pacing and precise editing, Twohy builds momentum with each discovery Sheen unfolds, until it culminates to an edge-of-the-seat climax that's quite satisfying (unlike...cough...cough..."V: the Final Battle", Independence Day).
The cast is all-around effective, with Sheen delivering a surprisingly terrific performance as the paranoid astronomer. It's great to see an intelligent protagonist who thinks his way out of tight jams, rather than shooting and blowing up everything in sight. No one else gets half of Sheen's screentime, but Ron Silver is nicely ambiguous as his boss, and Teri Polo, however underused, is fine as Sheen's girlfriend. Lindsay Crouse also makes a good impression as an environmentalist studying some strange activity.
On a technical level, some sci-fi fans might be a little disappointed. Those weaned on "V" and ID4 will notice the lack of large-scale special effects. Sorry, no disc-shaped motherships here. Still, the visuals present are mostly decent, certainly passable enough that they don't become a distraction to the plot. Despite the use of CGI in its more primitive stages (this was '96, after all) the effects are still occasionally excellent and imaginative, such as the spherical object those tight-lipped men wield. Composer Arthur Kempel's score adds a bit more tension to the already excruciating suspense, and evokes a creepy atmosphere during the film's quieter moments.
Remember, folks, The Arrival is a rarity, a once in a while example of how pure movie magic can be created when we've got dedicated filmmakers who want to intrigue the audience rather than catering to demographics just for the sake of box office returns. Forget Independence Day, The War of the Worlds, or V and its sequel, The Arrival is the most satisfying depiction of alien invasion to date (note: Signs is actually an overall better film than The Arrival, but that picture was mostly a microcosmic look at a possible alien invasion, and was not necessarily in and of itself about the existence of aliens).
**** 1/2 out of *****
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Arrival and Arrival 2, February 6, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Arrival / The Arrival II (DVD)
Buy The Arrival on its own if possible it's a worthwhile purchase for sci-fi fans.4 STARS
I bought The Arrival and The Arrival 2 on one DVD and I'm not happy!
1. The box states on the back a widescreen and standard (full screen) format for The Arrival but I can't find a standard format anywhere on this disc!
2. Also and more important is that you don't want to pay the extra for The Arrival 2 because they have boxed it together with the first one because it would not sell on it's own! The Arrival 2 is at best a bad TV movie not even as entertaining as a bad episode of The X-Files. Bad acting , bad directing , bad story , and cheap special effects AVOID THIS ONE ! 0 STARS
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best transfer for this film to date, colors very subdued, April 22, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Arrival [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
As a fan of this film in the 90's, I was excited to see this film receiving a blu-ray treatment. It was watched on a 42" Panasonic Plasma and Panasonic BD35 player. The film itself is very clear and has a marked improvement over the SD. However, I was surprised to see a very subdued color palette (the reason for the 4/5, overall). Perhaps the director intended it to look this way, but it was still a bit strange, especially in some scenes, where I expected colors to pop.

It felt like I had turned the color down (which I had not), and even the grass, trees and any other color rich items in scenes were just not very vivid. However, I must rave about the DTS sound! It is very powerful and I absolutely recommend renting or purchasing this disc if you're a fan of the film. There are several thunderous scenes where the DTS really shines, and is very enjoyable.

The film itself contains some poor acting, but the storyline is what has always attracted me to this film. I am a huge fan of space, exploration and alien films, and while a bit comical at times, this one offers some neat little surprises in the storyline. Since visual effects technology has progressed significantly, even over the last 10 years, it's worth noting that the effects of the actual creatures are eye candy for fans of this genre. Charlie Sheen's mission to prove the existence of extra-terrestrials, by constructing his own super antenna drives the film, and creates the "1 man against the world", theme that is very enjoyable. You want him to succeed, and watching the film unfold is fun. However, there are no special features on te disc, which was very disappointing for me. I Recommend this BD for clarity and sound, and a must if you're already a fan!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This review is of the blu-ray release, not the film!, May 11, 2009
By 
jammer "jammmer" (Laramie, Wyoming United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Arrival [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This reviewer considers The Arrival one of the TEN BEST science fiction films ever!

My comparisons between the standard (red-ray) Live-Artisan DVD double feature (The Arrival and Arrival II, dual sided single disc); and the blu-ray release are below. I have never seen the original single-sided red-ray release of just The Arrival (Live-Artisan); or the red-ray two-disc double feature edition of same put out by Lions Gate. It is possible that either of those two editions have better picture quality than the comparison red-ray release.

I used a 1080p LCD (Sony Bravia 32XBR6), a Pioneer (BDP-51FD) Blu-ray Disc player; a Pioneer Elite DVD Player DV-59AVi (top of the line!) for standard red-ray DVDs; and a Sunfire receiver-amp with the largest Klipsch speakers and woofer money could buy. I have neither the proper equipment, time, nor inclination to make a more scientific analysis. I can't count speckle density or minute dirt fleck artifacts or other source contaminants. I can't freeze frame to examine defects. But I can mount the standard red-ray disc in the Pioneer Elite player, mount the blu-ray disc in the Pioneer Blu-ray player, and then intercut selected scenes of special interest between these two onto a shared Sony 32XBR6.

Upon doing this, one thing becomes very clear: The blu-ray image is VASTLY SUPERIOR in every respect! By comparison, the red-ray image looks grubby, blurry and truly awful (the price one apparently pays for getting used to blu-ray?)! And the DTS sound track is spectacular. If you are a big fan of this film, have blu-ray, can afford the reasonable price, and are debating; then the decision is clear: Get the blu-ray release for your collection and dispose of the other one!

That being said, this blu-ray release is not without problems, likely tracking back to the original filming. Image quality varies from scene to scene depending on such factors as underground, indoor or outdoor locales; and foreground versus background definition. The opening scene of the earth from space fading into the giant radio receiver antenna is great! By comparison, the red-ray image appears grey and drab. Other shots of Californian or Mexican mountains are good in their faded desert clarity and color definition. Details on close-ups of faces, facial wrinkles and blemishes, strands of hair, sweating from the excessive heat, clothing fabric weaves and patterns, neck-tie details, are exceptionally sharp and up to full blu-ray standards.

Blu-ray's superior definition reinforces a key plot-point: Earthlings are suffering from the sweltering temperatures induced by the alien terra-forming. Sweat literally rolls off Zane's face. But the aliens of course (like Gordy) don't sweat; THEY LIKE IT HOT! On red-ray DVD, picture detail is so poor that such a subtle reinforcement almost escapes notice.

Filmed in Technicolor, no grain was visible except where intended. I've heard they use a newer Technicolor process than that of old, wherein colors are muted and blacks lack good fidelity as is the case here. Knowing little about photography, the cameras used for the filming obviously had very poor depth of field. (Some big budget recent films - I Am Legend - display exquisite detail simultaneously in both foreground AND background, NOT true here!) Why? Because of computer-generated digital backgrounds? More sophisticated cameras? Rear projection techniques? Use of blue screen? In this film, camera shots lacking foreground focal points (like faces), where depth of field is not a problem display very pleasing distance detail: the walls inside and outside of this "one of our much very best hotels;" the water trickling down and over the tile floor; many of the panning landscape shots in California and Mexico; images of that giant radio receiver; were all good, some even showing exquisite detail.

My biggest criticisms concern the underground scenes which are grey, foggy and indistinct; colors are excessively muted and black saturation fidelity is abominable! As said in another review somewhere: it's as if an obscuring film was laying over everything. Two positive notes on these underground scenes: First, close-up details of Zane's face, that of other aliens, and foreground shots of equipment and the like are crisp, despite the background color fidelity issues, the color for such underground foregrounds being mostly pretty good. Second, after comparing several key scenes, I saw no instance where the underground special effects weren't at least the equal of, or significantly improved (sometimes much more) over red-ray: There is more detail in close-up alien shots and in the underground combustion chamber, with better color too.

It's pretty hard to compete with big budget computer generated digital backdrops, likely why some recent films with such newer technology come out so well on blu-ray. Yet this release is a clear step up from what was out before.
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The Arrival [Blu-ray]
The Arrival [Blu-ray] by David N. Twohy (Blu-ray - 2009)
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