Artisan // 1996 // 109 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Chief Justice Sean McGinnis (Retired) // June 19th, 1999
The greatest danger facing our world has been the planet's best kept secret...until now.
This film was a lot better than I expected -- not usually expecting much from Charlie Sheen.
The first thing to note is that this film is a re-release by Artisan. This disc was originally put out by Live Entertainment in June 1997, which helps explains its few visual deficiencies. Considering when it was released, it probably isn't all that bad. The image is quite soft in certain places (usually when a solid color nearly fills the screen), especially when compared with today's best discs. Additionally, the print used had a few nicks and scratches some, especially towards the beginning of the film, which is the most common place for print problems to occur. These quite minor problems aside and the video portion of the disc is really quite good. This disc boasts good, strong black level, well saturated colors, natural skin tone and good image stability.
The audio was quite well done as well. The surround information, when present, is at the appropriate level and not overpowering. These surround effects are distinctly placed and well localized. Your subwoofer will even get a chance to stretch its legs at times.
The story was also well written, if not completely original. It involves a radio-astrologer named Zane Zaminsky (Charlie Sheen) who thinks he has received a message from aliens while surfing the FM band with his big, bad dish pointing at a star. The shooting involved a few different locales and used some special effect materials wisely. Overall, this story was well worth the price of admission. It is interesting to learn the different ways in which people view our possible first contact with alien races. This story puts the entire planet on the path toward destruction, but not in any way you might think. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'll stop right here.
Most of the acting was pretty well done as well. Don't get me wrong, this isn't Olivier's Hamlet, but then again you know that which is probably why you're reading this right now anyway. Sheen does a credible job as the nerdy Zaminsky. Also of note is the small part allotted to Lindsay Crouse who plays a meteorologist who meets Zane along his quest.
Yes, I would have liked to see more extras, but Artisan chose a different track. Instead, they have included, on the other side of the disc, a full-fledged movie (if you want to call it that) called the Arrival II. WOW, what an abomination. I guess they figured nobody would buy this stinker so why not include it for free on the original. As bad as it was, it was better than nothing, I must admit, I would rather have a stinker movie on side two than nothing at all, like Disney's Holy Man. I'll just call this extra 101 minute film an extra and be done with it. It certainly doesn't warrant a review.
Overall, The Arrival is a pretty good film. As I said at the beginning, a hell of a lot better than I expected.
Acquitted on all counts, especially considering when this disc was mastered.
Review content copyright © 1999 Sean McGinnis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Production Notes
* Cast and Crew Information