Actually the dead "Ä" key while glide typing made me so desperate that I tried to switch to another third party keyboard. I installed Swiftkey, which had served me well on iOS. But compared to Google's keyboard, is kind of crappy. Basically Google have shamelessly copied everything that was great about Swiftkey, and made it much better. I'm extremely relieved to switch back, now that they've fixed the bug.
And by "leveled up", I mean that it's now the same Gboard that's been available on iOS for months before it came to Android. Which is weird, but it's very like Google.
I watched Arrival yesterday at the theatre, and was very impressed. In fact, I went home and read the original short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang directly after, and I'm even more impressed with the film adaptation. I'll say that I enjoyed the movie more than the novella, and it is certainly a very worthy reinterpretation that I believe stays true to the original story. Some aspects are changed (simplified or expanded) for the big screen, and in some cases I think it improves on the storytelling. I'm not saying one is better or worse than the other, but they do emphasize different aspects. Without spoiling anything, I'll say that I loved how beautifully the movie handled the writing, for instance. That simply wouldn't have worked on the big screen the way it was told in the novella, and they found a wonderful solution.
On to strengths and weaknesses.
One weakness is that this movie will not appeal to all viewers. It is slow, beautiful, and intellectual, so please mind whom you watch it with. It effectively alienates most of those simply looking for cheap entertainment or a good popcorn action flick. There were some teenage boys sitting in front of me, and they were immensly frustrated upon exiting the theatre, adding comments like "What the heck happened" or "that movie sucked so much". I think they were hoping for something like "Independence Day", and "Arrival" really, really isn't that kind of film. Well, other than that I can't think of anything to complain about, really. :-)
Besides the core story, adapted from Ted Chiang's award winning 1998 novella (which I liked, and will not spoil here), the movie has some real strengths not found in the source material. These strengths are also present in many other science fiction works to varying degree; I think mostly of Carl Sagan's "Contact" which still stands as one of the best first contact stories I've ever read. Even the lesser, flawed movie interpretation of "Contact" has these strenghts -- capturing the zeitgeist, the current view of the state of our planet, and how we might realistically react to an actual first contact scenario. It is interesting and depressing at the same time. I loved the news footage, and the geopolitical events triggered by the alien presence, and this makes the movie into something so much more than only the textbook first contact story of the original novella. This additional element in the movie was brilliant, and I loved it.
In summary... Watch it on the big screen, and by all means, read the novella. Preferably in that order, and try to avoid all spoilers. This is great, great stuff, which has a lot to say about the world today.
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