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  1. #1
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Arrival (UHD Blu-ray) review

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    Plot
    Five-time Academy Award® nominee* Amy Adams “delivers one of her best performances” (Brian Truitt, USA Today) as expert translator Louise Banks. When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team races against time to decipher their intent. As tensions mount between fearful governments, Banks discovers the aliens’ true purpose and, to avert global war, takes a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

    My Thoughts
    This one arrived in theaters with very little fanfare or advertising, but the premise definitely intrigued me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see it in the theater and eagerly awaited its release on home video to finally check it out. I wasn’t surprised to see the film get slated for a 4K release, which I presumed would be the best way to watch the film—boy was I wrong!

    The video quality on the UHD Blu-ray is bad—as in “what the hell happened here” bad. The gamma level is completely off, probably approaching the 3.0 range (typical gamma for a display is 2.2-2.4, depending on how dark your room is. The lower you go, the brighter the gamma, the higher you go, the darker.) My room is very dark and I shoot for a 2.4 gamma in my calibrations and frankly, the UHD Blu-ray was unwatchable with my default settings. Unfortunately, I had company over to watch the film so I couldn’t pause it and fix as I normally would, so I just stopped the movie 10 minutes in and replaced the UHD with the Blu-ray and sure enough, all was right there—no more obscured shadows.

    Edit: 2/18/2017: A friend of mine, Manni01, from AVS discovered a new way to calibrate the gamma for UHD on our JVC projectors and utilizing his methods, I was able to get a much better gamma curve for UHD, which greatly improved the look of this film. That being said, it's still too dark for my taste, but I'm upgrading the score to an 7 because with this new gamma calibration, its at least watchable (but I still prefer the look of the Blu-ray).

    Regardless of my technical difficulties with the disc, the movie itself is outstanding. In fact, it’s one of the best pure sci-fi films to come out in decades! The acting is excellent, the story is compelling, and best of all, it makes the viewer think! There’s a twist at the end that I was able to figure out, but it definitely isn’t something that’s obvious.

    The color timing on the film helps tell the story and once you see it, you’ll know what I mean. The majority of the film is very cold, dreary, and gray—which the disc portrays accurately (the Blu-ray, that is), and the audio track is extremely engaging, even though Paramount opted NOT to have Atmos or DTS:X.

    4K Video 7/10 (HEVC)

    Blu-ray Video (4/5)

    Audio 9/10 (DTS-HD MA 7.1)


    Special Features:
    · Xenolinguistics: Understanding Arrival
    · Acoustic Signatures: The Sound Design
    · Eternal Recurrence: The Score
    · Nonlinear Thinking: The Editorial Process
    · Principles of Time, Memory & Language
    · Blu-ray + UV Digital Copy





    Conclusion
    This is a fantastic movie and definitely deserves a place in your collection. It’s compelling and certainly has replay value due to the nature of the story and how it unfolds. Unfortunately, UHD is not the best way to watch the film due to the technical issues surround the disc. I’ve informed the studio of my issues and hopefully a fix will be in the works. In the meantime, enjoy the film on Blu-ray. It’s one of the best of the year. Highly recommended.
    Last edited by David Vaughn; 02-18-2017 at 12:55 PM.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  2. #2


    Thanks again David. This film also got underneath my radar and I didn't see it in the theater. But thanks for your review I'm going to get the Blu-ray.
    Barry
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  3. #3
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Let me know what you think Barry. I found it quite intriguing and intellectually stimulating.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  4. #4
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Review has been edited to reflect a new gamma curve that I'm using.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  5. #5


    David, we usually agree but man oh man I hated this movie.

    Boring, drab and lifeless. Ripped off countless other alien-type flicks. The third act was ludicrous and the whole idea was just Interstellar lite. It wasn't really even sci-fi, more like a language-driven mystery. There's no "sci" at all.

    However, I'll admit I had very high hopes after hearing lots of good things. I thought Villeneuve was due for his masterpiece, but no. Though to be fair, one of his lesser-known movies, Enemy, is amazing.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Brandon,

    I went in with no expectations and found it to be compelling, but to each their own. If we all agreed, life would be boring
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  7. #7
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    I have to agree with Brandon. We saw this in the theater with another couple and when the movie was over, we all looked at each other and said, "what was that about?" I even apologized to my friends for dragging them along. I can't understand why Adams was nominated for best actress for the Golden Globes either. She has done far better work in other films. Sorry Dave. I just couldn't get into this one.

  8. #8
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Wow...we had friends over for this one and we all enjoyed it. Different strokes I guess!
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  9. #9


    Slaughterhouse five

    Quote Originally Posted by David Vaughn View Post
    Let me know what you think Barry. I found it quite intriguing and intellectually stimulating.
    I enjoyed the movie, but I couldn't help think the directors inspiration was Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. For those who read it would instantly recognize the aliens as Tralfamadorians and Adams character as Billy Pilgrim, who came unstuck in time. Vonneguts aliens also had the ability to see existence in a non linear form, where you could visit your past and future at will. It was interesting to see Vonnegut's novel updated in this fashion.

  10. #10
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayleaf View Post
    I enjoyed the movie, but I couldn't help think the directors inspiration was Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. For those who read it would instantly recognize the aliens as Tralfamadorians and Adams character as Billy Pilgrim, who came unstuck in time. Vonneguts aliens also had the ability to see existence in a non linear form, where you could visit your past and future at will. It was interesting to see Vonnegut's novel updated in this fashion.
    I haven't read that novel, but I may have to now. Sounds very interesting. Thanks for posting and welcome to the forum!
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

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