Singled out for viewing following a recommendation from Trash City editor Jim McLennan. Whilst we often disagree on films, his tastes are intruiging enough to warrant due consideration. This is certainly true of this little known and little seen but entertaining SF thriller from Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick director David Twohy.
This is kinda 'alien invasion' territory or, more accurately, 'aliens are already here but we don't know it' territory. Charlie Sheen is cast against type but actually performs well as a radio astronomer who stumbles onto more than anyone who values their life should know - aliens are gradually changing the Earth's climate to suit their own race (global warming anyone?). Sheen manages to pull off his unlikely role largely thanks to Twohy's direction, which never takes itself too seriously. The gentle humour and odd tongue-in-cheek moment are unusually (for me) welcome. That's not to say that the thriller/conspiracy theory angle is left wanting or is neglected. Far from it, for it is here where The Arrival really scores it points. Twohy (who also wrote the script) adopts many of the usual conspiracy theory components but, refreshingly (and no doubt for budgetary reasons) much of the action occurs in Mexico, where the ET's have their vast underground base.
There are some nice details as a result and X-Files fans should certainly enjoy not only the premise but the delivery. Although the plot is eked out a bit further than the story warrants (the film could usefully benefit from scene tightening throughout and loose at least ten minutes in the process), the result is easy to recommend as lightweight but entertaining way to spend an evening. Thanks Jim. 7/10
Rob Dyer (January 2005)
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