Arrival Blu-ray Review

Posted: Feb. 14, 2017
Blu-ray runtime: 1:56:22
Average Bitrate: 27,340 kbps
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Blu-ray release date: February 14, 2017
Theatrical release date: November 11, 2016

The Film

Arrival, based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, is a slow-paced, conceptual film, and it's not for everyone. I think that many people disliked the film because it wasn't what they expected. But I went into this film without expectations and found it to be a beautiful, deeply compelling and satisfying experience that caused me to think about the unique ideas it presented. I knew immediately after seeing it in the theater that it was one of my favorite films of 2016, and I couldn't wait for its Blu-ray release to watch it again.

Video Quality

Arrival on Blu-ray faithfully matches its theatrical presentation. If it appears slightly soft on Blu-ray, it is only because it is delightfully free of edge enhancement. The lightest impression of grain is never obtrusive and the AVC encoding is remarkable compared to poor encoding from too many other releases - the encoding must have been a real challenge, as much of the film takes place in dim environments, but the encode rarely succumbs to the faintest hints of macroblocking and banding under close scrutiny. When slight banding does occur, it isn't the type of banding that one typically sees, and while you can pick it out from screenshots of the darkest scenes, it isn't apparent while the film is in motion. No danger of crushed blacks here - blacks are not deep and this is not a high contrast film, but that is its very deliberate aesthetic. Arrival's dim and moody atmosphere perfectly compliments the contemplations of its protagonist, Louise Banks (Amy Adams), as she tries to unravel a profoundly personal mystery in the midst of an alien arrival.

To examine the video quality of this release for yourself, have a look at the Blu-ray screenshots below - click each image to see it as a lossless PNG in full 1080p resolution.

The Soundtrack

Though not featured on the film's soundtrack release, Arrival makes prominent use of a piece of music titled "On The Nature Of Daylight" composed by Max Richter. The piece was originally written for Richter's album "The Blue Notebooks" but became well-known for its use in the movie Shutter Island. Richter's comments about allowing its use in Arrival follow:

"When I wrote 'On The Nature Of Daylight' in 2003 I conceived it as the opening of my upcoming record, 'The Blue Notebooks.' At that time (as now) I was troubled by the political and humanitarian circumstances of the Iraq war and, like most of us, felt powerless to do anything; 'The Blue Notebooks' was a protest record. 'On The Nature Of Daylight' is also a reflection on my own childhood, and that fantasy space that children sometimes retreat into - an alternate reality of safety, quiet and sanity. I never imagined that the piece would have a life outside this context: It was so personal.

"However, since life is very strange, the music took off in all sorts of unforeseen directions. Choreographers and film makers especially have connected to the work's emotionality, and so its second life began.

"When I was contacted by the makers of 'Arrival,' I was initially cautious. Having allowed the work to be used in two outstandingly powerful films, Martin Scorsese's 'Shutter Island,' and Henry Alex Rubin's 'Disconnect,' I was doubtful about granting another use. But Denis Villeneuve called me and described the integral nature of 'On The Nature Of Daylight' to the architecture of 'Arrival' - it starts and ends the film - and, as he described the film I was drawn into his powerful world. So, in the end it was an easy decision."


Purchase Arrival Blu-ray on Amazon.com
.

Purchase Arrival Soundtrack on Amazon.com.
Purchase The Blue Notebooks by Max Richter on Amazon.com.

Screenshots

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 1

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 2

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 3

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 4

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 5

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 6

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 7

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 8

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 9

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 10

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 11

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 12

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 13

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 14

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 15

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 16

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 17

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 18

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 19

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 20

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 21

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 22

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 23

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 24

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 25

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 26

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 27

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 28

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 29

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 30

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 31

Arrival Blu-ray Screenshot 32