"Arrival".

Nov. 24th, 2016 12:41 pm
rhythmaning: (Saxophone)
[personal profile] rhythmaning
I went to see the film Arrival the other day. I thought it was a very good sci fi film, working at a very personal level, although its subject is huge, possibly the biggest possible.

It was very thought provoking, and raised lots of questions. But a couple of things rankled. In posing them, there will be lots of spoilers, so if you want to see the film but haven't, don't read further. (If you haven't seen it, this won't make much sense to you, either.)


So here's the thing. A technologically advanced civilisation able to travel great distances (because that's space for you), able to have vast structures materialise simultaneously around the world, and dematerialise quickly (which seemed reminiscent of Arthur C Clarke's book, Childhood's End), able to counter gravity - so way ahead of humanity's technological achievements - able, even, to perceive the future.

But not enough to have foreseen that they will need a way to communicate with us when they get here, relying on the intellectual abilities of one or two humans to work for months and crack the code.

Not enough to have spent a while considering the best way to approach us, too know that many humans might be belligerent.

Not enough to foresee that one person can help them, and where that person might be. So they go to the trouble of landing in twelve different places, nearly starting an interstellar war, which only one person (fortunately the same person who is the only one to understand them) can help avert. Because they can see the future, but not that much.

Not enough to foresee that the belligerent people might try to harm them until 20 seconds before the bomb blast, when they do foresee it and cancel the gravity thing and save the people but one of the aliens dies in the process.

I'm mean, they're so far ahead that they didn't conceive of these things? They hadn't been watching for a while to pick up his things work? They hadn't managed to translate one or more of earth's languages?

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