Author Ted Chiang Is Sci-Fi Cinema's Next Big Thing Thanks To Arrival

Currently sitting at 93% on movie review aggregator site RottenTomatoes and pulling in $24.1 [...]

Currently sitting at 93% on movie review aggregator site RottenTomatoes and pulling in $24.1 million opening weekend, Arrival shows there's still an audience for smart sci-fi films that have more heart than explosions. Based on the Ted Chiang's novella Story of Your Life, the film shows humankind's first contact with extraterrestrials that focuses on understanding one another more than violent conflict. Wired believes so strongly in Chiang's talent and ambitious ideas, they recently devoted their Geeks Guide to the Galaxy podcast to discussing their admiration for the author.

Critics were incredibly harsh with this summer's Independence Day: Resurgence, which was all spectacle with no real humanity, which made Arrival the perfect palette cleanser. More similar in tone to Robert Zemeckis' Contact, Arrival stars Amy Adams as a linguistic expert on a mission to decipher the spoken and written language of heptapods, 7-legged creatures from somewhere else in the universe.

Geeks Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley is thrilled to see a successful movie based on Chiang's work, claiming, "After this you kind of think he's got to become the next Phillip K. Dick of Hollywood."

A guest on the podcast, Christopher Cevasco, appreciated the realism of the way the story unfolded. "This is a science fiction movie, and so you always expect a little bit of hand-wavy-ness, but the funny thing is that all of the science fictional elements in the movie didn't bother me at all," Cevasco explains. "They felt, for the most part, as grounded in reality as those sorts of things could be.

Another podcast guest, Andrew Liptak, emphasized how much he enjoyed the film's entire aesthetic, citing, "The director [Denis Villeneuve] also did a lot of shots right on her face—she was centered right in the middle of the shot as things were going on around her. There's this one gorgeous shot where she sort of looks to the side, and in front of her is the alien sentence, in an arc around her head. I thought it was gorgeous."

Known for his slow writing process, Chiang will sometimes produce only one short piece of fiction a year, so hopefully Hollywood doesn't burn through the rest of his catalog too quickly. The strong praise from critics and audiences of the film also bodes well for Villineuve, whose next film is Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Interestingly enough, Phillip K. Dick wrote the novel Do Androids Dream of Digital Sheep? upon which the original Blade Runner was based.

[H/T Wired]