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The Arrival

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Arrival

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Crouse
Director: David Twohy
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: May 1996
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Teri Polo, Ron Silver, Tony T. Johnson, Richard Schiff, Leon Rippy, Buddy Joe Hooker

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Tired of overhyped shows with big budget stars? Want to see an old fashion grade B sci-fi flick? Well, I have just what you are looking for, THE ARRIVAL. Within the parameters of this genre, THE ARRIVAL is a fun and surprisingly good film. It is funny without ever lapsing into self-parody. Even the hokey plot somehow evolves into something bordering on plausibility if you just turn your brain off and go with the flow.

In the opening, that I worried would be an omen for the audience, scientist Ilana Green (Lindsay Crouse) looks out on a green field of wildflowers in the Arctic and proclaims a single sentence, "Shouldn't be here." It turns out that I was glad I was at this show, but in the next scene when I saw nerdy Charlie Sheen as radio astronomer Zane Ziminski, I began to worry again. Zane has classic bad glasses, a goatee from the 60s, and a burr haircut to boot. A highly overdrawn character to say the least.

Zane works at a Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) facility. One night he finally hears something out in space communicating back to earth. When he plays the 42 second tape to his boss at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Phil Gordian (Ron Silver), Zane does not get the response he expects. Gordian tells him, "searching for ETs in this political environment is a tough sell." He then goes on to explain how Zane is being downsized out of his job effective immediately. Zane is nonplused calling his find, "the premier scientific discovery of the twentieth century."

As in most B movies, there are a couple of unnecessary romantic subplots. Zane can not understand his beautiful wife and successful stock broker Cher (Teri Polo). Looking at her he remarks, "Boolean logic I trust. Algorithms I trust. Beautiful women are beyond me."

Soon the mysterious holes in the atmosphere that Ilana Green is investigating and the communication from outer space that Zane Ziminski (love that name) is digging into, become linked in a massive problem for the entire planet. Along the way, the script mixes in a lot of natural comedy, both in words and in action. Zane threatens Gordian with, "What do I want to do? I want to blow a hole in your head and donate your organs to science, but I've got a few questions first." Later Gordian warns, "If you can't tend to your own planet, you don't deserve to live here." The funniest scene in the show is the bathtub one, which will have you in stitches. The show is also inventive, a good example of this being how Zane extricates himself when trapped underground.

THE ARRIVAL runs a little long at 1:55, but it keeps your interest up. It is rated PG-13. There is no sex or nudity, and only a little violence, mostly of the non-threatening sci-fi variety. Probably the scariest scene involves big scorpions hidden in Green's bed. The show would be fine for kids over say 8 and perhaps younger. I recommend the picture to you and rate it ***.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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