What are the most unrealistic parts of Arrival (2016 movie)?

Posted 10Sep2017.

To start off, I thought it was a great movie full of thought, inspiration, and intrigue.

However, I paused it and began a running Facebook commentary due to the inconsistent portrayal of several details:

Watching “Arrival,” and the Army’s influence still interferes with enjoying movies.
As the scientist arrive and get in-processed, I’m sitting here wondering:
“Helicopter sound is wrong…”

Gah. Helicopters + Hollywood = bullshit. There is no way around it. They did a fair representation of the noise difference once Amy Adams put on those really effective David Clarkes, and I would even go as far as to say that the rustling on the microphone boom as they moved and looked around was extremely plausible, but the exterior sounds?? No. Wrong. Just stop, Hollywood.

“The missed the discolored grass from the APU…”

That lush, green grass of Montana looked a lot like the landscaping around many Headquarters buildings I have landed on… and nothing like what we left after we departed. Exhaust gasses leave a very distinctive footprint, and with the amount of rotary-wing traffic going into that research site, there would be unsightly brown smudges from both the main engines as well as the auxiliary power unit.

“…Where the fuck is his headgear?”

The NCO indoctrination was weak with their advisor. There was something deep inside me (buried under my fond memories of receiving my DD-214 and the layers of unfettered sleeping in since that day) that started twitching at all the 670-1 violations. Not that I was the type of person that would knife hand the hell out of that place, but once you have gotten your ass chewed for not having your top on in the middle of summer in Kuwait or forgotten your patrol cap back in the office and have to pass the Brigade Command Sergeant Major… things like that resonate.

“False. NO ONE is wearing PT belts. Alien ship sitting off the ground…? Doesn’t matter – there will ALWAYS be that one CSM screaming about PT belts and eye pro.”

The echelons above reality would probably have a system or color scheme to denote rank, heat casualty potential, and alien abduction history in this case… and the eye protection would be emphasized to keep any of the acidic bodily fluids from rendering you blind (“…And you won’t be able to claim that for disability”) as your face gets hugged by a personal-space violating xenomorph. Game over, man… GAME OVER.

“All those tents, at such a critical moment in human history, and S1 probably lost paperwork, are expecting the aliens to fill out travel vouchers, or insisting that Amy Adams completes her on-line AT certification/SSD 1-4, and the command climate survey…”

Unfortunately, they neglected to explore the plot complication of a coffee ring or spillage from someone’s dip can resulting in a horribly misinterpreted sentence. “This phrase is either ‘Skoal Wintergreen,’ or ‘Decaf is for pogues…’ I don’t know… Wait… Are the aliens knife-handing me??”

“Oh HELL NO… Riding in the bed of a pickup without a troop strap??”

They also neglected the fact that the drivers of the trucks were burned-out Specialists who had a habit of being too aggressive on the brakes – hence the guy getting Medevaced out earlier in the movie.

“They got the plywood phone center right, though…”

They omitted the preponderance of phallic images carved into the wood, however, which leads me to believe that the troops in the film were only Intelligence types with no 11B background.

“Oh, and no one… NO one… breaks down a TOC that quickly.”

I have seen tactical operation centers broken down in pouring rain with an amazing quickness once ENDEX has been announced, but this one? Yeahno. There would be 15 dudes at the smoke pit, waiting to see if someone else was going to tackle that mess of decontamination stuff, three 2nd Lieutenants trying to wipe off the contaminated stuff they got on their forehead somehow before anyone noticed, and a Staff Sergeant wandering around because he has “fifteen days, man… fifteen days and I’m out.”


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