Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Annihilation (2018)

Director: Alex Garland

Writers: Alex Garland, Jeff VanderMeer

Composers: Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury

Starring: Natalie Portman, Benedict Wong, Sonoya Mizuno, David Gyasi, Oscar Isaac, John Schwab, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Tessa Thompson, Sammy Hayman, Josh Danford, Kristen McGarrity

More info: IMDb

Plot: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don't apply.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  I think so.

This was a picture I was eagerly awaiting.  I LOVED Garland's first (and only other directed) film, EX MACHINA (2014).  That was brilliant. This one looked like a natural next step for him and one that would be a welcome addition to cerebral sci-fi.  Well, I'm not all that fond of it.  It's a good movie but while it's presenting a neat idea, it doesn't live up to its ambitions.  The real meat of the plot is in the last twenty minutes and that's the part I like most, where you finally get the answers the characters (and us) are looking for.  But along the way there are things that happen that tax your suspension of disbelief and two of them are the two creatures we encounter.  They aren't handled as deftly as they should've been.  It's like having a fine expensive meal and the desert looks amazing in its presentation but it's nothing more than store-bought ice cream dressed up to look special.  There's a fast food element to the creatures (and how they're handled) that lets the film turn into a cheap horror movie for a few minutes.  Until the last twenty minutes, at no point did I feel like the film was compelling.  The absence of tension was noticeable.  I thought that perhaps my expectations were too high but ten years ago, with the last Indiana Jones picture, I put the breaks on getting too excited about seeing a film.  So there goes that idea.  ANNIHILATION is good but it doesn't achieve the greatness it feels like it was shooting for.  There is A LOT to like about this flick from the visuals to the wonderful ideas and everything in between but it was disappointing that despite all of that, I wasn't more enamored with it.  I'll probably give this another shot in a few years and perhaps I'll feel differently.  I hope so.

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