Arrival appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image worked well.
Sharpness appeared strong. Only a little softness materialized, as the majority of the movie displayed appropriate delineation. I saw no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and print flaws remained absent.
In terms of palette, Arrival tended toward standard teal and orange – especially teal, as blue/green dominated the image. These hues showed good representation within stylistic constraints.
Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows seemed fine. Arrival intentionally opted for a semi-murky viewpoint, and I heard complaints about the darkness of the image from people who saw it theatrically. While the movie did go for a dense look, I still thought elements remained appropriately visible. The movie offered a good transfer.
As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio, it came with occasional instances of dynamic information, mainly during a few action-oriented sequences. Those popped to life in an exciting fashion.
Most of the flick went with gentler audio, and those segments succeeded as well. These contributed a good sense of atmosphere and formed an involving sensibility throughout the film, especially related to the aliens. Despite its often-subdued nature, the soundscape helped bolster the story.
Audio quality seemed solid. Music was bold and full, and effects followed suit, as those elements appeared accurate and dynamic. In particular, the heptapods boasted awesome low-end response. Speech remained natural and without edginess or concerns. I felt the soundtrack suited the tale and helped it succeed.
Five featurettes appear here. Xenolinguistics: Understanding Arrival runs 30 minutes, three seconds and provides comments from author Ted Chiang, screenwriter/executive producer Eric Heisserer, producers Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder and Dan Levine, director Denis Villeneuve, linguistic consultant Jessica Coon, scientific/engineering consultant Stephen Wolfram, production designer Patrice Vermette, visual effects supervisor Louis Morin, costume designer Renee April, director of photography Bradford Young, and actors Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker.
The program covers the source novel and its adaptation, Villeneuve’s approach to the material, story/character areas, cast and performances, linguistic domains and creature/spaceship/costume design, sets and cinematography. “Xenolinguistics” goes over a lot of film-related territory and does so fairly well. It could boast more depth – I’d like a better comparison between novel and movie, for instance – but it still gives us a nice overview.
Next comes Acoustic Signatures: The Sound Design. In this 13-minute, 59-second piece, we hear from Villeneuve, supervising sound designer Sylvain Bellemare, and heptapod vocals sound designers Michelle Child and Dave Whitehead. As expected, this piece examines sound-related domains. “Acoustic” covers relevant areas well.
For the 11-minute, 24-second Eternal Recurrence: The Score, we get notes from Villeneuve and composer Johann Johannson. The show discusses the movie’s music, and it does so with a reasonably detailed program.
Nonlinear Thinking: The Editing Process fills 11 minutes, 20 seconds with info from Villeneuve, editor Joe Walker and supervising VFX editor Javier Marcheselli. Here we learn about editing and effects. “Thinking” turns into another useful overview.
Finally, Principles of Time, Memory and Language takes up 15 minutes, 24 seconds and features Chiang, Coon and Wolfram. “Time” examines scientific elements of the film and its concepts. It turns into a thought-provoking take.
At times, Arrival can seem a bit too derivative of other science-fiction movies, as genre fans will see prior tales reflected in it. Nonetheless, the film stands well on its own and gives us a smart, involving view of alien visitation. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio as well as a fairly informative set of supplements. Arrival may not be a sci-fi classic, but it’s still a strong film.