THE ARRIVAL (1996) Reviews and overview

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The Arrival is a 1996 science fiction feature film written and directed by David Twohy (Pitch Black; BelowThe Chronicles of Riddick; Riddick).

Despite praise from critics and audiences alike, the film only grossed $14 million in the domestic market against a budget of an estimated $25 million. However, the film had a reasonably successful run overseas. A sequel, Arrival II: The Second Arrival was released on November 6, 1998.


The movie stars Charlie Sheen (The WraithGrizzly II: The Predator; Scary Movie sequels), Lindsay Crouse, Ron Silver (Silent Rage; The Entity; Shadow Zone: The Undead Express), Teri Polo (The Phantom of the OperaHouse of Frankenstein; Van Helsing Chronicles) and Richard Schiff (Tales from the Crypt TV series; Se7en; The Lost World: Jurassic Park).


Climatologist Ilana Green (Lindsay Crouse) is examining a poppy field and remarking that it “shouldn’t be here”. We then see that the poppy field is in the middle of the Arctic.

Zane Zaminsky (Charlie Sheen), a radio astronomer working for SETI, discovers an extraterrestrial radio signal from Wolf 336, a star fourteen light-years from Earth. Zane reports this to his supervisor, Phil Gordian (Ron Silver) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but Phil dismisses the claims.

Zane soon finds that he has been fired because of supposed budget cuts, and blacklisted, preventing him from working at other telescopes…



“It’s a strong, lean piece of writ ing that moves quickly. Nothing is wasted, and nothing happens the way you’d expect. Twohy is able to make the sight of water dripping down a wall seem ominous, and he’s completely in control of scenes like the one in which a woman prepares for bed not knowing that scorpions are creeping under the sheets.”  San Francisco Gate

” … like so many science-fiction films, begins as a promisingly eerie mixture of pseudo-scientific exposition and chilly paranoia. But once its plot has been bared, it turns into a muddled chase movie filled with glaring inconsistencies.” The New York Times


“Let’s also say that Sheen’s acting, which can range from effective, controlled intensity (Platoon, Wall Street) to idiotic, uncontrolled venting (Terminal Velocity), is in pop-eyed mode here, and he spends most of the movie in a kind of sweaty apoplexy that makes one worry for his health.” Entertainment Weekly



“The well-chosen effects combine models, computer-generated creatures, some neat transformations, and a deeply frightening scene involving scorpions. It’s one of the most uncomfortable moments in modern horror.” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide


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Cast and characters:

Charlie Sheen as Zane Zaminsky
Ron Silver as Phil Gordian / Mexican Guard
Lindsay Crouse as Ilana Green
Teri Polo as Char
Richard Schiff as Calvin
Tony T. Johnson as Kiki
Leon Rippy as one of Phil’s agents
David Villalpando as a Cabbie
Buddy Joe Hooker as another of Phil’s agents

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