|Directed by||Alex Garland|
|Starring||Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac|
|Released on||February 13,2018(Regency Village Theater), February 23, 2018 (United States), March 12, 2018 (United Kingdom)|
Science-fiction? Check. Horror? Check. Crazy amounts of trippy visuals that will give you nightmares later? Check.
Annihilation is based off of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name that’s a part of The Southern Reach Trilogy. When books are made into movies, we usually lose the plot, the characters and in general fans of the book don’t like the movie (Percy Jackson anyone?). Annihilation is an exception, for the movie does justice to the book and is equal in excellence.
The film revolves around something called ‘The Shimmer’ which appears to have spread after a meteor-like thing hit earth. Nothing comes out the Shimmer. Nobody survives it and nothing works in there either, no comms, no coordinates, absolutely nothing. Everything takes place at ‘Area X’, so secrecy is maintained, well sort of.
Lena (Natalie Portman) volunteers to go into the Shimmer, to find out what happened to her husband who returns from it only to fall very very ill. She along with four other courageous women, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Josie (Tessa Thompson) and Cassie (Tuva Novotny) venture into the Shimmer. They need data to figure out how to destroy it, because it’s spreading fast enough to eventually consume Earth.
They come across mutations, some of which are beautiful, some of which are downright horrifying. The Shimmer seems to behave the way a prism refracts light, except the Shimmer appears to refract genes? Breeding between a crocodile and shark isn’t possible, they’re not the same species but the Shimmer does it all. Human and plant? Got that too. It’s stunning.
The movie also shifts between the philosophical and sci-fi genres at times. It talks about how it’s in our human nature to self-destruct. How flawed we really are and so on. It’ll get you thinking that’s for sure.
The Shimmer doesn’t destroy, it just changes and creates something new.
Annihilation was first released to American cinemas, where it did not do well. Then it was dumped to Netflix, where I’d like to believe it did better. See, the core issue with the movie is that, it’s too ‘intellectual’ which is why I loved it. But, even the film studio knew that that was going to be a problem. It’s not for everyone. The movie makers were even asked to make the lead, Natalie Portman’s character more sympathetic and to change the ending, which they outright refused and with good reason. The movie isn’t a sappy romcom or drama, it is sci-fi horror. It’s supposed to get you thinking and maybe give you a nightmare or two.
With a stellar cast, the film tells a formidable story with incredible visuals. If you haven’t seen it you should, it will blow your mind.