H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


The Arrival [Blu-ray]


(David Twohy, 1996)



Review by Gary Tooze



Video: Lions Gate



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:55:14.073

Disc Size: 19,705,385,359 bytes

Feature Size: 18,538,567,872 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.45 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 21st, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 5185 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 5185 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, English (SDH), Spanish, none



• Previews in HD (8:33)





Description: Radio astronomer Zane Ziminsky believes he's picked up a cosmic noise that signals extraterrestrial intelligence. But after turning over the tape to his boss Phil Gordian, Zane is fired, his girlfriend gets transferred and his partner is found dead from a supposed suicide. Zane's desperate search for answers leads him to a mysterious power plant in Mexico generating more than electricity and run by people who are not what they appear to be. A sinister alien conspiracy could wipe out the human race.



The Film:

Climates are changing. Scientists blame factory smokestacks, car exhausts and the destruction of the rain forests. ``The Arrival'' has a more terrifying hypothesis to explain the phenomenon. In the great paranoid tradition of science fiction, the discovery of this possibility is made by one man who cannot get anyone to listen to him and who grows desperate as the establishment slams its doors. The man is Zane Zaminski (Charlie Sheen), a radio astronomer who listens for signs of intelligence from outer space. Unlike his colleagues, he's looking in the noisy FM band: "It's like searching for a needle,'' his partner tells him, "in a haystack of needles.'' When he picks up an unmistakable signal, Zane takes it gleefully to his boss (Ron Silver), only to be told that the government's entire intergalactic eavesdropping operation is being scaled down because of budget cutbacks. Zane's frustration is the engine for a science-fiction film of unusual intelligence that keeps on thinking all the way to the end, springing surprises and ideas. The movie is as smart as "Mission: Impossible'' is dumb.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Arrival appears pretty middle-of-the-road on hi-def Blu-ray which is actually a little better than I expected from LionsGate. This is only single-layered and is either faded or has a kind of soft-palette appearance that remains consistent throughout the film. As a plus - it's never too glossy and detail has some reasonably remarkable moments. Minor artifacts and infrequent speckles exist but I don't see heavy manipulations. This is probably not far off how it looked originally (over 13 years ago) but is probably a shade 'lighter'. I think you'd probably have to have a decent system or a strong eye for these things to note dramatic improvement over a DVD - but you can be sure it does exist.














Audio :

A fair site more intense than the image quality is the DTS-HD Master 7.1 at 5185 kbps audio. A couple of instances almost had me blasted out of my seat but this is not an overly heavy effects driven film (ditto for the visuals). The mix has it's moments but don't expect too much as the film is less aggressive than one might expect for the genre. There are no other audio options or DUBs and optional subtitles are available in English or Spanish. My Momitsu identifies this as being region free. 




Extras :

Nothing but some 'preview trailers' in HD to precede the presentation. The film really doesn't warrant a commentary but some form of PBS-style 'life out there' documentary extra could have been found and tacked on I suppose.


I enjoyed the first half of this film but differ from Ebert in giving the entire of The Arrival any solid accolades. Sometimes I just can't 'get over' Charlie Sheen - but am a big Lindsay Crouse fan. I'd have preferred something simpler but the plot tends to go off on a more unbelievable tangent than was necessary. Good conceptually - but a bit unfulfilled. The Blu-ray rendering is nothing special but perhaps that suits The Arrival and it is priced accordingly. I was expecting more from the film but while not a full thumbs down - it's certainly leaning that way. I guess these days you can't expect too much for under $18.


Gary Tooze

April 20th, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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