Both are about space and co-star Forest Whitaker.
Yes, there are subtle differences. I’ll try to delineate them without getting confused. One is a slow schmaltzy cerebral film trying only semi-successfully to convey complex concepts and esoteric ideas while the other is a combination war movie/video game. I think ARRIVAL was the former.
One starred Jeremy Renner, who had absolutely nothing to do in the film. The other starred Riz Ahmed, who was the kid in THE NIGHT OF, and found himself in prison again. Oh no. Now I’m REALLY confused.
Both films were prequels – one to the original 1977 STAR WARS movie and the other to THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT (which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1962).
Both movies were somewhat derivative. One had elements of CONTACT and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, the other was a highlight reel of all the previous STAR WARS action scenes, three STAR TREK space dogfights, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE LONGEST DAY, KELLY’S HEROES, and THE IRON GIANT.
One difference I was able to detect: ROGUE ONE was the film with a great last hour battle sequence. I know that for sure because of the two, that was the film I was able to stay awake for.
Beyond that, the two films were just a jumble of gobbledygook technical terms, soldiers running with machine guns, mythology, evil emperors, space aliens that looked like Donald Trump, daughters in trouble, CGI effects, scope, and of course, Forest Whitaker.
One aspires to lift the human spirit; the other hopes to knock off MOANA.
What’s a filmgoer to do?
But in all seriousness, ROGUE ONE was a fun ride and ARRIVAL was an ambitious Oscar-bait film that didn’t really fulfill its promise. And JACKIE I review Wednesday.