“A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.”
To quickly sum it up. This movie is Predator on acid. Interpret that however you want.
I’m dead serious when I say that Annihilation, Alex Garland’s latest science-fiction film is an acid trip. Throughout the film I kept asking myself, “man this is going to be really difficult to write about.’ Annihilation is best served in dialogue when discussing the film, because it is such a complex and unique film. This is the definition of heavy science fiction, where it leaves you scratching your head long after the movie is over. I’m still digesting what I saw, because it asks so many questions, and like most great science-fiction movies, it doesn’t always give you the answers you are searching for. Now that can leave the average movie goer with a lot of frustrations because you invest your time and money into the movie, and don’t come away with certain answers to questions that are lingering throughout the entire movie.
I’ll say this first and foremost, this movie is not for everyone. You need to have knowledge in your taste in film going into Annihilation. Because this isn’t some grand science-fiction epic, with a ton of action and explosions. It’s also not a summer blockbuster like Black Panther which dropped last week. This is almost an art-house movie, in the sense that it seems small, but asks MASSIVE questions about biology, evolution and what it means to be human. When Alex Garland came bursting onto the scene in 2015 with Ex-Machina, he instantly became a fan favourite when it came to the science-fiction genre, so when he was attached to direct this movie, based on the best selling novel, people’s ears were perked up to say the least. Add in Natalie Portman as the star of the show, and now people were seriously intrigued. The first trailer dropped and I was instantly hooked and this became my fifth most anticipated movie of 2018. Here’s the thing about building up movies, sometimes they aren’t exactly what you want them to be, or simply don’t meet your expectations. Annihilation just wasn’t what I was expecting, so I can’t say it didn’t live up to what I wanted it to be. It would be unfair of me to criticize a movie just because it wasn’t what I thought it “should be.”
No one is going to go see this movie, not because it’s a bad movie, it’s currently sitting at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, but because it’s so different. People just want to go into a movie and sometimes not have to think or be told a unique and insanely different kind of story. Comic book movies, sequels, prequels, they all rule the box-office right now, and it’s a shame, because I think if you can, you should head out and see this movie. It’s deep, it’s rich, it’s very thought provoking material, where I’m still not sure what the message or the ending means. When Kane (Oscar Issac) suddenly returns home, his wife Lena (Natalie Portman) is shocked beyond belief. Meeting each other in the military he went on a top secret mission and had now been missing for just over a year. Thinking he was dead, when he resurfaces, he just isn’t the same. Shortly after his return, he needs medical attention and slips into a coma, and that’s when we find out that he had entered the ‘Shimmer.” Lena is now in Area X, located just outside the Shimmer, she intends to find out what happened to her husband and embarks on an expedition inside it, along with 4 other crew members. Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny) and Josie (Tessa Thompson). All these ladies excel in some sort of scientific background and want to know what exactly is at the hear of the Shimmer. This is a female led film, all of them giving great performances, I thought Gina Rodriguez was tremendous, and we should be again celebrating an all female cast, not just for that single reason, but also because it’s a fantastic movie. Everyone pulls their own weight, and Tessa Thompson is a freight train that cannot be stopped right now.
See something three years prior landed on Earth, at a lighthouse, and ever since, the Shimmer has be manifesting and growing. Every team they send in, never make it out alive, until Kane. Things start off normal, but the Shimmer is a myserteous place for a reason, and when they start to realize that the laws of nature do not apply here. They discover a crocodile that has been crossbred with a shark. From the very get-go the team realizes they are most likely on a one way mission, but they want to try to find some sort of answers. The further they get into the Shimmer, the weirder things become. Lena realizes that their own DNA has been compromised. You knew all of that from the trailers, so I won’t go any further into plot points or spoilers, because everyone should really have the opportunity to fully take in this flick. The visuals are simply stunning, with a 50 million dollar budget, the visuals are better than most blockbusters, and Garland really builds a world of his own. This is just a really ambitious movie, with imaginative story-telling. It’s almost the definition of mesmerizing because at times, you aren’t really sure what you are watching, because it’s so vastly different from anything you have ever seen before it. It can be terrifying in moments, fun in others, and all around suspenseful. It’s unsettling, you see things that make you want to look away, but get you so immersed in the movie, because you want to know why these things are going on. You really want to know what the Shimmer is, but it’s not about the end, it’s about the journey.
This is survival of the fittest, they are battling new elements that the human race has never seen before, but also one another. It leaves you scratching your head at times, because in certain parts they take you one way and you think this is where the movie is going, but then they flip things around, and you want to know why the movie shifted gears so quickly. Don’t worry the climax delivers copious amounts of that blood and gore and a ton of tension, you will get your fill. The landscape is miraculous, it’s a world that wants to shake you up a bit, it’s uneasy for a reason. Some things are better left unsaid, and in some instances unsolved. You don’t get all the answers you are looking for, but going on this acid trip is worth it. Sometimes you need to expand your own horizons, step out of your comfort zone and experience something new. Annihilation is just the thing you are looking for. It’s like creating a new cocktail and Annihilation is part Arrival, part Predator, and part 2001: A Space Odyssey and that is the greatest compliment one can give.
Check ya later
Nate’s Movie Tour Review – Annihilation = 90/100
3 thoughts on “‘Annihilation’ Review”
Good to see that this movie is doing things right after all. Because to be honest I was a bit underwhelmed by the trailers. But it seems like Garland managed to convey the otherworldly and surreal atmosphere of the book. Have you read it?
The climax certainly is like a drug overdose and imho impossible to put onto film. But it’s damn near impossible to write about it either, which makes Jeff VanderMeer a little genius I guess.
I haven’t read the book yet! But I think that’s going change soon!
It’s fascinating. Not at all what I was expecting. And the writing at times is downright incredible.