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Author Topic: ANNIHILATION (2018)  (Read 227 times)
jdv
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« on: June 13, 2018, 07:25:56 PM »

Part THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, THE THING, and all 3 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, Alex Garland's ANNIHILATION is a surprisingly good scifi/horror movie starring Natalie Portman.

The plot is seemingly simple - an ex-Army biologist is thrust into an ever growing zone of shimmering waves into which no one ever returns from once entered.

Part of the box office failure of this movie is both the horrible title ("annihilation" could be about almost anything - WWII, a plague, an atomic bomb, yada), it's super slow, and it's told in a series of flashbacks.

Normally, anyone of the above would automatically make me hate it, yet this type of tale - paranoia mixed with a low burn end of the world - is prolly best told slowly.  Indeed, all of the above films are slowly paced.  Garland somewhat known for the skipping around flash-backy way of telling tales, but I'm not sure it helps this movie much... but it doesn't kill the movie either.

Portman herself is excellent in the film, one of the few believable women in an action movie (in part because it doesn't show her doing MATRIX-like flips, rather a proficient use of an AR-15).  The rest of the casr, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, is good, although Portman's love interest in somewhat mis-cast.

The action, when it happens, is good - violent, gory, hard-hitting, and believable - the movie does a good job of convincing the audience that the shimmer zone is the lat place on earf you want to be.

That's in no small part due to the many excellent special effects.  The zone looks a bit like WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, which is to say prettier than real life... and a whole lot more dangerous.

The music is minimal... until it isn't.  There's a boat-load of dope music/sound effects at the end of the movie, somewhat like the soundtrack from FORBIDDEN PLANET (albeit not on a theremin).  The sound effects, costumes, yada all what you'd expect from a big budget Hollywood flick.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about it is that it's worthy of the movies I listed above and while not an instant classic, it comes close.  I hope to re-watch it soon...

BOTTOM LINE: 3.5 (maybe 4) "get the gasoline, we gotta burn the rest of them..." out of 5
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 07:43:20 PM by jdv » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2018, 07:38:21 PM »

I'll check it out!
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 10:33:01 AM »

I finally got around to checking this movie out.

It's crap.

You're right that it's 'part' all those movies, but not in a good way.  It's not a homage to those films, it's a senseless hodgepodge that makes zero sense, then just sort of ends.

So let's start at the beginning:

1. There is no protagonist.  If so, who is it?  Surely not Natalie Portman, the unfaithful whore, cheating on her solider husband while hes on mission?  Yeah, I no longer care what happens to you.

2. No likable characters.  This film is chock full of prototypical feminist character tropes that are so grating that the real challenge in this film is trying to figure out which useless female character you hate the most.

3. Bad setups.  Who on EARTH thought it was a good idea to send 4 women, only one of whom had any sort of combat training, into a super-dangerous area just behind the last group of highly trained Special Forces troops failed to return?  This level of dumb rips you right out of whatever bullshit narrative they're trying to push.  It would never ever happen.  Three combat-untrained women packing full-auto M4's?  Yeah, I'll stay behind thanks.

3a. (Side note: "Good Shot" on the mutant alligator?  Bitch, she just emptied a clip into its mouth at less than 10 yards, hardly sharpshooting)

4. No narrative drive.  So besides Jennifer Jason Leigh's cancer diagnosis, what exactly was the rush?  Also, why exactly didn't they use a vehicle?  No explanation as to why they had to go on foot.  But either way, it was expanding at what?  A foot a day?  Pretty sure they had time enough to get a humvee or other amphibious vehicle, not to mention more TROOPS and not the local Feminist Book Club.

5. Bad Ending.  I'm all about 'interpretive' endings, but this one takes the cake.  Was the whole movie about world replacement?  Was it about the universality of motherhood?  Was it about an alien invasion?  Who knows?  Worse, who cares?   How did you get that tattoo again?  No wait, I don't give a fuck how you got it, whore.

--------------------------------------------------

The 'Compliment Sandwich':

Ok, so besides being thematically obtuse, lacking a narrative, and a complete absence of likable characters, the film does have a few good points:

1. Manbearpig was scary.  That was well done.

2. The film looks good.

3.  The effects were mostly good, the psychedelic "Laser Floyd" vagina/womb sequence at the end not withstanding.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Bottom Line: 1 "Trudge-through-if-you-must" out of 5
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 11:24:01 AM »

The last 20 minutes are dope-tape worthy. Also the part with the bear was the most fucked up thing I saw last year. I side with jdv on this one. Although I'm really tired of seeing Oscar Issac in every god-damned thing lately, the movie was solidly fucked up.
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 11:49:14 AM »

There was a line in the movie that explained that anything with a mechanical engine died in a matter of minutes within the Shimmer.

I think it's pretty clear that Portman's character is the protagonist. One thing I liked about the movie is that the star is in almost every scene. The fact that she ruined her marriage with an affair is part of her damaged character. Everyone who enters the Shimmer has similar damage, making them suicidal enough to embark on a one way mission.

Your point 3 has some teeth though. It makes no sense why they haven't nuked this place after it's been growing for years. Also her, her husband, and anyone else who went in there and came back would be "indefinitely detained" or "disappear" without prejudice.

The ending is probably the most interesting/scary part of the movie. I didn't care for the ambiguity but it did force to me work it out in my head. Her tattoo came from one of the other crew members. So it shows that she was absorbing pieces of the other humans not just the plants, animals, or aliens.

The overall goal seems to be an alien invasion where beings are trying to replace Terran DNA with their own, slowly over time.

Stylistically I did like the contrast of the beauty of the Shimmer with it's horrific danger.

3 colors outta 5
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Warpig
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 11:57:32 AM »

Damaged she may have been, but she faces ZERO consequences for it and is essentially let off the hook at the end.  (Yeah, I KNOW she's ostensibly the protagonist, I was making a point of simply not caring about her.  Affairs aren't mistakes, they are calculated decisions)

Sorry, I must have missed the line about mechanical engines not working, my mistake.

Well, you fellas seemed to like this movie a whole lot more than I did, so we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

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jdv
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 12:27:48 PM »

The overall goal seems to be an alien invasion where beings are trying to replace Terran DNA with their own, slowly over time.




There are three things I really like about the movie - 1, it's not a sequel.  2, it's not a super hero move.  3, it tries to do something original.
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