> Prev
From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
Subject: Review: Annihilation (2018)
Full headers:
X-Received: by with SMTP id 200mr7021972itw.48.1519834231597;
Wed, 28 Feb 2018 08:10:31 -0800 (PST)
X-Received: by with SMTP id 80mr845582otj.9.1519834231390; Wed,
28 Feb 2018 08:10:31 -0800 (PST)
Path: news.netfront.net!goblin2!goblin.stu.neva.ru!peer01.am4!peer.am4.highwinds-media.com!peer03.iad!feed-me.highwinds-media.com!news.highwinds-media.com!e10no173781itf.0!news-out.google.com!a2ni2135ite.0!nntp.google.com!w142no742577ita.0!postnews.google.com!glegroupsg2000goo.googlegroups.com!not-for-mail
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.current-films
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 08:10:31 -0800 (PST)
Complaints-To: groups-abuse@google.com
Injection-Info: glegroupsg2000goo.googlegroups.com; posting-host=;
User-Agent: G2/1.0
MIME-Version: 1.0
Message-ID: <468e3778-3d98-4331-aa21-0831c68e566b@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Review: Annihilation (2018)
From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
Injection-Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 16:10:31 +0000
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
X-Received-Body-CRC: 2291800765
X-Received-Bytes: 4701
Print Article
Forward Article
               (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: Alex Garland, who wrote and directed the 
    excellent EX MACHINA, has co-written and directed 
    a second film.  A strange expanse has turned into 
    "the Shimmer," a square-miles-wide region where the 
    laws of physics no longer work.  After scores of men 
    have failed to return from the Shimmer, a team of 
    five women enters.  (Take that, Bechdel Test).  
    Garland gives the film a tone that may not be really 
    alien, but is very foreign.  A lot of the film is 
    incomprehensible or requires repeated viewing.  I 
    hope it does well at the box office, but a downbeat 
    title like ANNIHILATION will be a hard sell to an 
    audience who may not even be able to spell it.  
    Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

The Shimmer.  What is it?  A few square miles on the Eastern 
seaboard have become alien territory.  It follows none of the 
physical world laws we know.  Several assaults have been made to 
understand the field, but as yet nobody has ever returned.  To try 
a different approach, the government assembles a team of five women 
to take on the suicide mission of entering the Shimmer to attempt 
learning its secret.  The main character is Lena (played by Natalie 
Portman), who had lost her husband to the Shimmer.  The main 
timeline is the story of the team's visit to the Shimmer.  The film 
jumps around from that timeline to flashbacks of Lena with her now-
missing husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac).  It also jumps forward to 
Lena's de-briefing after she is the first and only human ever to 
escape the Shimmer.

Like the film STALKER by Andrei Tarkovsky, much of ANNIHILATION 
takes place on what might well be abandoned landscape that the 
script gives science fictional importance.  That might 
significantly ease the budget.  These are some scenes in which our 
team is threatened by what can be considered monsters and they are 
created visually believable without letting special effects 
dominate the film

My wife pointed out two flaws in the script.  It seems unexpected 
and a little convenient that in the military there are five 
advanced scientists who also happen to have experience with 
armaments like assault rifles.  I guess we are to assume that the 
weapon creates the action hero.  Also the government would not send 
a team into the Shimmer for days on their first time in.  They may 
start with a goat on a rope and send the goat in for two minutes; 
then pull it out and see if it still lives.  Then it might try 
three minutes and gradually increase the exposure.

ANNIHILATION is a rarity.  Among other unusual things it is a 
science fiction film in which an intelligent woman is the main 
character.  The only other such films that come immediately to mind 
are CONTACT and the rare film ADVANTAGEOUS.

This is one of those films that will require six or so viewings 
before it starts to make sense.  Ironically, though the tempo of 
this film is slow--do not look for STAR WARS pacing--there are a 
lot of ideas packed into the film.  So the viewer is never bored.  
It is more complex but still not up to Garland's EX MACHINA.  
However, expecting a film of that quality is setting the bar very 
high.  I rate ANNIHILATION a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2018 Mark R. Leeper