As much as I like big, action-packed, sci-fi movies, I do admit that I could take less of it in exchange for sci-fi flicks on the brainier side. Luckily for me, it seems like Alex Garland will be the one to provide those types of movies. So let’s talk about his latest.
Ladies and gentlemen… “Annihilation”.
After he husband seemingly goes missing, a biologist (Natalie Portman) signs on to a mission to explore this strange zone where everything has mutated. And as the biologist and her team goes into this zone, they soon experience a journey that is as scary as it is fascinating. So now we have our sci-fi plot. But it’s not just a “go and look at weird mutations” type story, as it’s a deep and layered exploration of a lot of mature themes. It’s difficult to talk about this plot without accidentally spoiling it, so I’m gonna stop explaining the plot here. But let’s just say that I found it all to be quite riveting. The only flaw I have is that it starts out quite slow. But it doesn’t really take anything away from the plot, at least not in the grand scheme of things, especially since it gets going soon enough. Sure, the entire thing is fairly slow-paced, but aside from the start, I don’t mind this slower pace. So overall I think this is a great plot.
The characters in this I will not go too in-depth with, as their development is best left experienced. But I do think most of them get really good development, whether it’s through what we see, or through a piece of dialog. In the core team we have Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Tuva Novotny. And they all deliver really good performances. We also get Oscar Isaac in a supporting role as Natalie Portman’s husband, and Isaac is of course damn good in the role. Everyone’s good. ’tis a well acted movie.
The score for the movie was composed by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow, and they did a really good job with it. The score here is very dreamlike, adding to the strange and uneasy feeling of the environment that the team are exploring. It also helps in building tension and emotion throughout. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well within their scenes.
Based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, this movie was written and directed by Alex Garland (as mentioned in the beginning of the post). And while I can’t compare how accurately Garland captures VanderMeer’s novel, due to not having read said novel, I can give my thoughts on Garland’s overall direction. And it’s really good. Like with the music, Garland gives the movie a very dreamlike feeling throughout, which helps give it a very unique mood that we almost never see in movies. It really helps this strange place feel even more realized and interesting. There’s also a lot of tension in Garland’s direction, both in normal walking scenes, and in scenes where things do happen. Rob Hardy’s cinematography is also really good, this place looks fantastic. And for any sensitive viewers out there, “Annihilation” has some really gruesome imagery in it. The only reason why I’m mentioning this is because I can stomach blood/gore in movies, but the shit you see in this movie somehow got to me. So there’s your warning.
“Annihilation” isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a slow and brainy science fiction movie, then I highly recommend it. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Annihilation” is a 9,62/10. Even though the start is a little slow, it still gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
My review of “Annihilation” is now completed.
To quote Winnie the Pooh: Think, think, think…