Arrival was a lovely film… but what why the central role of TIME TRAVEL in the storyline?
I mean, it worked as an editorial style… or did it? Did it really work? Was the Joe Walker recut any better than the original cut? That message from General Shang head of the Chinese military? I was okay with it at the time, or was I? The ending was very much like a recapping of things that have already happened where the film was actively about these things that are yet to happen. So, what the end of the film did was FLIP TIME to answer its own question about the non-linearity of time.
Is the 'critical information falling backwards through the time loop' any less of a sin than the classical time paradox of 'killing one's own grandparents'? I mean, it feels like Hollywood have used this motif a lot, and I can't be bothered to go looking for films, I'm sure there are hundreds of people out there who've got this info at their fingertips right now, were I to request that they share it, and I don't think the motif LETS THE TIME PARADOX OFF THE HOOK as leniently as Hollywood wants it to.
I know that this film is based on the original short story by Ted Chiang but I'm not convinced the 'time' element should have featured so very strongly in this film. It dates it too quickly, in the sense that our current understanding of 'time' is nothing like we'll soon understand the role of 'time'. What could have been a classic of GAE or Galactic Alien Empathy was given this throw-away General Shang get-out-of-jail-free card and then the aliens were quickly like, “Oh, we found you because you'll help us fix us in 3,000 years,” and it's all potentially starting to sound like The Last Mimsy where future Humans return to Earth (in a new-ugly form) to borrow the genetic traits of their forefathers their galaxy travels have somehow eradicated or worn out.
You simply can't just have a future-friend show you a piece of paper that helps you solve a current-time problem… why? Because if you had already solved the current-time problem with the piece of paper, the piece of paper was unneccesary. Therefore, any such narrative trope or trick or stunt that has future-you showing current-you a 'solution' is pointless because IT DIDN'T WORK for some reason. Will never work, for umpteen reasons.
It's a bullshit play, is what I'm saying, and there must have been a better way to end this film that that.