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Arrival, The

US/Mexican film (1996). Live Entertainment, Steelwork Films, Mediaworks. Directed and written by David Twohy. Cast includes Lindsay Crouse, Richard Schiff, Ron Silver and Charlie Sheen. 115 minutes. Colour.

Low-budget Paranoid sf thriller in which the hapless radio-astronomer protagonist Zane Zaminsky (Sheen), working on SETI at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, detects an Extraterrestrial radio Communication from the relatively near Star Wolf 333. His supervisor Phil Gordian (Silver) scoffs at his report; Zane is soon fired and blacklisted from any and all astronomy work. Continuing his research unofficially, and investigating what seems to be deliberate jamming of the mystery signal, he joins forces with climatologist Ilana Green (Crouse), who is concerned with an artificial-seeming acceleration of Climate Change. It emerges that a covert Invasion by Aliens has already taken place; they wear external skins as human disguise, and of course the Villain Gordian is one of them; their goal, as he admits to Zane (who is recording the conversation), is the Xenoforming of Earth to make it hotter and more comfortable for themselves. Though ruthless and commanding superior Technology including a device to generate miniature, temporary and locally destructive Black Holes (one of which gobbles up all Zane's research equipment), the aliens are ultimately no match for our hero's resourcefulness and determination. After various pursuits and complications including the predictable betrayal by a human ally who proves to be another alien in disguise, Zane escapes a final black hole implosion and is able to broadcast his warning to the world.

Entertaining despite logical lapses and intermittent silliness, The Arrival was somewhat overshadowed by the release soon afterwards of the high-profile Independence Day (1996). The sequel was Arrival II (1998), directed by Kevin S Tenney. [DRL]


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 20:36 pm on 22 April 2024.