|The Heptapods. Painting by Rachel Koning.|
Arrival is the adaptation of Ted Chiang's wonderful science fiction short story, Story of Your Life. I had hoped audiences would get to see plausible aliens in the film, because realistic aliens are about as rare as realistic spacecraft in science fiction. Though I wrote an article explaining the quasi-plausible nature of some aspects of the xenomorphs from the Alien series, I can't say the xenomorphs—exactly as presented in the films—are possible as real organisms. However, I do think the Heptapods of Story of your Life are entirely believable as products of evolution on another world. Unfortunately, despite my initial hopes, I cannot say the same about the creatures we see in the film.