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The Arrival (1996)

 -  Action | Mystery | Sci-Fi  -  31 May 1996 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 22,206 users  
Reviews: 103 user | 53 critic

Zane, an astronomer, discovers intelligent alien life. But the aliens are keeping a deadly secret, and will do anything to stop Zane from learning it.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Calvin
Shane ...
JPL Guard #1
...
Phil Gordian / Mexican Guard
...
Phyllis Applegate ...
Mrs. Roosevelt
Alan Coates ...
Terraformer
...
DOD #1
...
DOD #2
...
Co-worker
Tony T. Johnson ...
Kiki
Catalina Botello ...
N.C.A.R. Woman
Georg Lillitsch ...
Computer Tech
...
Cabbie
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Storyline

Zane (Charlie Sheen), a young, mild-mannered astronomer discovers an extraterrestrial radio signal. After being fired from his organization for reporting this to his superior, he takes a chance on discovering the truth: that his workplace is not quite what it seems to be and a sinister conspiracy is at work. The aliens are keeping a deadly secret, and will stop at nothing to prevent Zane from learning it. Written by vishakbt1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For centuries we've bee watching the skies, when we should have been watching our backs. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi violence and terror, and for brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

31 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shockwave  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$184,261 (USA) (26 July 1996)

Gross:

JPY 20,609,500 (Japan) (15 November 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Zane is talking to Gordian about the signal, Zane smashes the gyroscope. But a few seconds later, the top of the gyroscope can clearly be seen revolving in the bottom right hand corner. See more »

Quotes

Cabbie: [looking towards old, scruffy building] Posada San Marsol. One of our much very best hotels!
See more »

Connections

References E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Dos Arbolitos
Performed by Mariachi Sol
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User Reviews

 
An intelligent and fast-paced sci-fi thriller.
3 December 2000 | by See all my reviews

*** 1/2 stars out of ****

The Arrival remains the little seen and little known sci-fi thriller released the same summer as Independence Day. Most people opted to watch the latter film for all its big action scenes, which left The Arrival a box office loser, a destination it most definitely did not deserve. Since then, it has gained some life on video and will probably gain more popularity since the film marks the debut of director David Twohy, who is proving to be a force to reckon with in Hollywood, especially after his success with Pitch Black.

Zane Ziminski (Charlie Sheen) is a brilliant radio astronomer who, along with his partner (Richard Schiff), receive a radio signal which Ziminski believes was emitted from an extraterrestrial source. But as soon as he hands the recording over to his boss Phil Gordian (Ron Silver), everything seems to go wrong. Zane is fired, his estranged girlfriend Charlotte (Teri Polo) is transferred, his partner dies of an apparent suicide, and the tape of the recording has seemingly vanished.

Ziminski's new job, as a cable repairman, gives him access to his neighborhood's attena dishes, which he lines up together into a phased array in hopes of receiving the signal again. To his luck, the signal returns, but it's coming from a small town called San Marsol in Mexico. Heading down there, he meets a scientist named Ilana Green (Lindsay Crouse), who is down there studying the rising temperatures of third-world countries. As Ziminski continues his investigation, he believes he may have uncovered a worldwide alien conspiracy.

What makes The Arrival as great a film as it is is because of the story, which is smart and interesting. Rather than giving us mindless action scenes, writer/director Twohy prefers to keep our attention with an intelligent story. Despite this being his first time behind the camera, he proves himself an adroit filmmaker, weaving the story together brilliantly, and unfolding little plot surprises along the way.

The Arrival is primarily a thriller, and Twohy is more than competent at creating action and suspense (witness Pitch Black), both elements of which are sharply executed in this film. The final hour of the film is full of edge-of-the-seat excitement. Composer Arthur Kempel's score also adds an extra bit of tension. The film moves at a lightning pace and there's never a loss of momentum or a lag in the running time, which runs smoothly throughout all 115 minutes.

The cast is also strong, with Charlie Sheen taking top acting honors. I'm a little suprised of all the statements claiming he was miscast for the role. If anything, he's the only person who could play the part, and he comes through superbly, never failing to convince for a moment. Teri Polo is decent as Sheen's girlfriend, and while her character isn't developed as well, she still makes an impression in her limited screentime. Ron Silver is utterly chilling as Ziminski's boss, who wisely underplays the role, rather than chewing the scenery.

It's truly a breath of fresh air to watch a sci-fi thriller that relies on logic and plausibility to carry the story. For viewers who enjoy a fine story and believable science with their sci-fi, The Arrival is a true must see.


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