1996 was a good year- Deep Blue the chess computer beat world champion Garry Kasparov, we cloned sheep, and how could anyone forget the discovery of “element 112” better known by it’s stage name, Ununbium? It was also the year that brought us David Twohy’s Sci-fi thriller, The Arrival, starring Charlie Sheen and recently deceased character actor Ron Silver. The concept behind the film is clever and certainly timely focusing on global warming as Sheen who plays Zane Zaminski, (worst character name ever) a radio astronomer, stumbles upon an extra terrestrial radio transmission than leads to a conspiracy which leads to a very campy special effects extravaganza in Mexico.
It’s quite an interesting ride even though the plot is a bit predictable at times and moves too quickly. There is a certain John Water’s over-the-top Attack of the Killer Tomatoes feel which is enjoyable especially because it takes itself absolutely seriously at every moment. Sheen is totally 90’s sheik in the film and shortly after the opening credits becomes a stereotype of the “impassioned, scientist who is trying to save us all at any cost” and Silver plays one of his trademark roles as “the guy in the suit who’s pulling all the strings.”
The film is interesting because it shows some of writer/director David Twohy’s early style (he went on to write and direct Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick) and although it doesn’t come through on its potential it’s fun in it’s own unique way. It’s just been re-released on Blu-Ray and it’s a perfect choice for Science fiction nuts, LSD fanatics, and the people of Tepotzotlán, Mexico where it was filmed.