Not only is Arrival one of the best films of the year, it’s also a thoughtful sci-fi film that takes an intellectual approach to the arrival of extra terrestrial life on our planet. There’s a lot of talk about real science and linguistics. But this is a Hollywood movie, and sometimes liberties must be taken with real science for a filmmaker to tell the story they want to tell.
However, in the case of Arrival, it sounds like they actually stayed pretty close to real scientific theories, practices and more in order to tell a grounded story of having close encounters with alien life. In a recent episode of Science vs Cinema, the web series takes a closer look at all the real science on display in Denis Villeneuve‘s movie. But beware, there are some major spoilers for the movie, so don’t watch or read below if you haven’t seen it yet.
Here’s the science of Arrival explored in a recent episode of Science vs Cinema:
In conversations with Mathematica creator Stephen Wolfram, SETI astronomer Seth Shostak and linguist Jessica Coon, Science vs Cinema explores the accuracy of the science in Arrival. They also talk to Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner about their character’s scientific fields, as well as writer Eric Heisserer about how he approached these ideas.
It’s a lengthy video, but it’s all rather fascinating. There’s even more discussion about how the aliens see time, revealing that there was a page in the script that explained how they see the future, referencing Fermat’s Principle of Least Time. That revelation is one of the biggest emotional punches I’ve head in a theater all year, and knowing that there’s real science behind the concepts int he movie makes it satisfying on a whole other level.