Review: Garland continues sci-fi success with Annihilation

Perplexing ending will leave audiences in awe for days to come

Lucas Torborg
Staff Writer

Movies like the recently released “Annihilation” only come out once every couple years, movies that leave the audience simultaneously in confusion and awe.

“Annihilation” is a film that avid movie goers will discuss among each other for hours, while each one will have their own unique and personal interpretation of the movie.

The extremely thought provoking “Annihilation” was directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker, Alex Garland, who has filmed award winning movies such as 2016’s “Arrival” and 2014’s “Ex Machina”.

Garland’s films primarily fall under the genre of sci-fi and even a little bit of horror. Garland has a unique way of making highly surreal and visually appealing movies and “Annihilation” is no exception.

The movie is based on the novel, of the same name, written by Jeff Vandermeer. The general plot of the novel is the same. However; halfway through the movie the story diverges from the novel and provides more details that are absent within the very obscure book.

Annihilation’s plot focusses on a piece of land that scientists have renamed Area X. Previously this land was hit by a strange meteor that has slowly been changing the ecosystem within the area and producing a strange light known as “the shimmer.”

Throughout the years eleven research parties have been deployed into the area in search for answers surrounding the bizarre phenomenon. Each individual of every party has been mysteriously killed while in “Area X” except one man who had returned home not knowing who or what he was.

The story centers around Lena, played by Natalie Portman, a biologist and former U.S. soldier. Lena’s husband Caine, played by Oscar Isaac (Po from “The Force Awakens), was in the latest research party and was the first to ever return from Area X.

A twelfth research party is being conducted, but this time consisting only of female scientists. The newest party’s  objective is to find where the meteor hit, which would indicate the center of the strange activity. Lena volunteers to be apart of the 12th party and the group of five wander into “the shimmer” as they quickly begin to experience unexplainable occurrences.

“Annihilation” is a very different movie, I was actually surprised that such an unconditional film managed to get a wide theatrical release. Garland does a magnificent job at creating tension and dread of the unknown. The movie is very eerie having many scenes that are already becoming infamous online, specifically a scene involving a bear, that I will not spoil.

The movie’s ending will have audiences scratching their heads for days and eagerly searching the Internet to find the meaning behind the film. This could anger some people. However, even if one is confused and lost within the plot the visuals within this film will keep the viewer’s eyes glued to the screen.

Annihilation is simply beautiful to look at. The imagery is thought provoking and, in lack of a better word, trippy. The film score is accompanied by a mysterious bass that really adds to movie. Natalie Portman gives a great performance and the audience is able to understand her character’s emotions just by her facial expressions. The rest of the cast is fairly good, but at times they lack character development.

When I walked out of “Annihilation” I really did not know how I felt about it. Part of me hated it because I had so many questions, but another part of me loved it. It has been almost five days since I’ve seen it and I still cannot get the movie out of my head .

Some people will hate this movie and some people will absolutely love it. No matter what, it is a movie that will be talked about for some time. Anyone who has the chance to should see it in the theatres and soon because unfortunately it probably won’t be in theatres for long considering its low box office. Overall, “Annihilation” is less of a movie and more of an experience that deserves to be seen.

Gabe Hewitt

Gabe is a junior mass media student at MSU. He's usually up for anything. You can find him on Twitter (@gabehewitt) or you can email him at gabriel.hewitt@mnsu.edu.

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