New Arrival Trailer Lands on Common Ground

The latest (and perhaps last?) trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival takes a very different tack from the ones that came before: Most of it is dedicated to one of those feel-good videos of strangers meeting and discovering some shared ground or inexplicable connection. But it’s actually a sly bit of marketing on Paramount Pictures’ part, because over the course of a minute you watch pairs of strangers who don’t speak the same language solve the puzzle of what thing they have in common—a theme undoubtedly mirrored in Arrival.

It could be coincidence that two of the subjects are engaged; it’s a common enough thing, as are the pregnancies two women discuss through motions and huge grins. But by the time it got to losing a parent, I was welling up even as I realized that the producers of the video must have chosen their participants according to these specific life events, to see if they could communicate their shared experience. I would have been curious to have seen this video released as pure viral marketing, tweeted out by someone other than Paramount, and consider how many demographics aside from the movie’s intended audience it hit.

There’s also some new footage from the movie, mostly of Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) communicating with the aliens by demonstrating the meaning behind words and phrases like “human” or (with Jeremy Renner volunteering) “Ian walks.” In fact, the minute of feel-good video could be a hint as to Arrival‘s plot—just as these humans see their joy and grief in one another’s pregnancies and deaths, there must be something that the humans and the heptapods share. I wonder what it could be…

Arrival lands in theaters November 11.


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