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The Arrival is a 1996 science fiction film directed by David Twohy and starring Charlie Sheen, and co-starring Lindsay Crouse, Richard Schiff, Ron Silver, and Teri Polo. Sheen stars as radio astronomer Zane Zaminski who discovers evidence of intelligent alien life and quickly gets thrown into the middle of a conspiracy that turns his life upside down.

The Arrival is reminiscent of The Invaders TV series that aired in the late 1960s, and is believed by some to have inspired it. A similar TV show, First Wave has similar plot elements, and may too have been inspired by The Invaders.

This film has a sequel called The Second Arrival.


Ilana Green (Lindsay Crouse) is a climatologist who discovers plants and flowers growing 90 miles from the North Polemarker, despite the fact that there is no land above sea level within 90 miles of either the true or magnetic North Poles. She also describes CO2 increases of about 1% each, recorded at about 12 locations around the world, and uses this data to conclude that global CO2 has increased by twelve percent.

Zane Zaminski (Charlie Sheen) is a radio astronomer working for SETI who, along with his co-worker Calvin (Richard Schiff), discovers a radio signal that seems to have extraterrestrial origins. Zane and Calvin confirm the signal is not from a satellite or the Earth. They discover that it is coming from the fictional star "Wolf 336", 14 light years away.

Zane takes the tape of the signal to his boss at the JPLmarker, Phil Gordian (Ron Silver), who dismisses his claim. Phil fires Zane supposedly because of budget cuts, and he says that he will give the tape to someone to check out. He instead destroys the tape. Zane discovers that he has been blacklisted by Gordian and cannot get a job anywhere. He finally gets a job as a TV satellite dish installer. He decides to use some of the dishes he installs to make his own personal array to listen to the signal again. The little boy next door, Kiki, shows interest in what Zane is doing and begins to help him with his work. He discovers that a reply signal is being transmitted from Earth back out into space. Zane tries to go to Calvin with his new information. But he finds that Calvin has just died under mysterious circumstances (right after giving information about their discovery to supposed government agents). Zane is becoming increasingly paranoid about what is going on. He traces the source of the outbound message to Mexicomarker, where the signal appears to have been piggybacked onto a broadcast from a Mexican radio station.

Zane goes to Mexico and he finds out that the radio station has just been burned to the ground. While looking for more information on the radio signal, he finds that a brand new power plant is nearby. He sees a woman on the side of the road having her equipment seized by the plant's security guards. She is Ilana, who is investigating unusual greenhouse gas activity in that region. Zane stops and tries to help her, but they both end up getting arrested and taken into the plant for questioning. While inside, Zane sees a security guard who looks exactly like Phil Gordian. When they are released, they begin to talk to each other about their respective discoveries, and they end up staying at the same hotel. Calling home, he finds out from his girlfriend, Char (Teri Polo), that the company that constructed the plant has been building similar plants in third world countries all over the world. Meanwhile, an old man who has been following Zane kills Ilana by putting scorpions into her room that night after she meets Zane.

Not knowing about Ilana’s death, Zane leaves in the middle of the night to investigate the power plant. He manages to slip into the plant undetected, and discovers that the people working there are all actually aliens. (Their knees and hips bend in the reverse direction as humans). They are able to temporarily reverse their lower joints and, by application of an artificial outer flesh, are able to impersonate humans in the outside world. Deep underground, they are generating greenhouse gases, which is the source of all the emissions that Ilana has discovered. The aliens are generating them, both to kill the human inhabitants, and to reverse terraform the Earth to suit their own environmental needs. The aliens discover Zane's presence and they begin to pursue him. He escapes after running down the Phil look-alike alien with his car. He is pulled over for speeding on the wrong side of the road and brought to the local police station. He tells the detective questioning him about the incident at the plant, but the detective is not convinced. He then finds himself accused of killing a person in a hit and run collision. Zane demands to see the body of the victim, since he knows that it was an alien that he hit. However when they arrive, he sees that they have brought Ilana's body instead. Sensing a larger conspiracy, Zane decides to escape. He manages to smuggle himself back across the border by infiltrating into a Mexican rodeo troupe.

Back in the U.S., he goes to the JPL and confronts Phil. When the two of them are alone outside, Zane threatens Phil, and he gets him to admit that the aliens are planning to kill off the human race during the next 10 years by using accelerated global warming. Without outside interference, it would have taken humans a longer time to kill themselves off, with global warming occurring at normal rates. Once the human race has been annihilated, the aliens will take over Earth for their own habitat. Zane pulls out a remote control for a video camera that he has hidden in a bush to capture Phil’s confession.

He then returns home to find that all of his equipment has disappeared from his house. While he was away, two of Phil's henchmen, posing as gardeners, had done this with a spherical device that swept every object from Zane's makeshift satellite control room into apparent oblivion, leaving no trace behind.

Zane decides to drive out to the radio telescope facility along with Char and Kiki in order to broadcast the information that he has found, by tapping into a communication satellite. However, Char thinks that he’s gone crazy, and she called the police before they left. Instead of the police, Phil and several of his henchmen come to try to stop Zane from broadcasting the information. He soon discovers that Kiki is actually an alien when he stops helping him and gives Phil the tape. Zane realizes that the aliens cannot stand extreme cold, so he freezes them with liquid nitrogen. He then tries to pull the tape out of Phil’s frozen pocket. However, Phil didn't freeze to death, and he grabs Zane’s arm to try to stop him. Zane then grabs an axe and chops Phil's arm off. Suddenly, another spherical device slips from the frozen hands of one of the alien henchmen and drops onto the floor. It activates, and then it begins to sweep up everything in the building, including part of the building itself. Zane and Char barely escape being eliminated by the sphere. They find Kiki still alive and waiting outside. Zane, with the tape in hand, tells him to go tell the other aliens that they have failed, and he will tell the whole world what is going on. Kiki bends his knees and hips backward (into his alien configuration) and runs off into the surrounding desert.

The film ends with a television broadcast of a meteorologist commenting on temperatures over 100 °F lasting well into autumn, when it is interrupted by a pirate broadcast of Zane's recording. As the camera tracks away from the TV screen, we see that it is one screen of many, apparently part of a monitoring station for all satellite broadcasts. One by one, the screens all switch to Phil's confession.


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