It’s no secret that Arrival was one of our favorite sci-fi flicks of 2016. Amy Adams killed it, and the entire film was a thought provoking masterpiece. Arrival has gotten all sorts of buzz as well as a whole slew of Oscar nominations. So much buzz, in fact, Arrival even got a theatrical re-release before it was available on Blu-Ray.
Here is a quick glimpse behind the scenes, and 5 lesser known facts about Arrival.
1. A fully functioning alien language was created for Arrival.
When you are directing a movie about deciphering an alien language most would just wing it, right? Not in Arrival. Director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Eric Heisserer went as far as creating their own alien language. No joke. The language was fully functioning and included over one hundred logo-grams. You see less than half in the movie.
2. The aliens weren’t Kang and Kodos
On my first watch of Arrival, all I could think about was how similar the aliens seemed to Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons. While I still think that there was some inspiration there, Abbott and Costello were actually modeled after several different animals. Octopi, elephants, whales, and spiders were all inspirational to creating the tentacled aliens. Villeneuve was going for a look that was like a “huge beast underwater”, or something that you dreamed up in a nightmare. I am still going with Kang and Kodos….
3. Sideways-gravity was added after the fact
The tall alien spacecraft in Arrival may have looked cool, but how on earth were mere earthlings supposed to navigate it? Why turn manipulate gravity of course! The spacecraft design was decided early in production but the creators struggled with how to explain navigating in such a monstrosity. Someone had the bright idea to turn gravity on its side, which made much more sense than re-designing the spaceship. To be quite honest, it is this unique piece of sci-fi that definitely contributed to Arrival being nominated for best cinematography.
4. There really is a myth that “kangaroo” originates from a misunderstanding.
In the film, Louise tries to make a point to Colonel Weber by explaining that the word kangaroo originated from a misunderstanding and originally meant “I don’t know.” She used this to get what she wanted but later revealed to Ian that she made it all up. But in reality, it was long believed that kangaroo originated from a misunderstanding, not just a made up story for Arrival. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that linguists were able to debunk the myth and set the record straight.
5. The ships hovered for a reason…
I find this fact very neat, for the simple fact that it goes deeper than simply “looking cool.” The ships hovering was very intentional, and just adds to the complexity of Arrival. Production designer Patrice Vermette explains;
“The twelve identical ships would travel across the universe and end the journey by hovering twenty-eight feet above the ground in delicate equilibrium, leaving it to Earth’s people to make the final outreach to contact them.”
So while the aliens made the trip to Earth, it was up to Earth to make the final step to reach out, and initiative communication.
I am sure that there are plenty more facts about Arrival, but these are five that stood out to me. As people start to dissect the blu-ray release and dig into the special features, I am sure that we will see more. If you find something interesting about Arrival, drop us a line in the comments below.