I recently committed to a monthly MoviePass subscription which has dramatically lowered my standards on movies I’ll frequent at the theater. At $10 monthly and the ability to see a movie a day a lot of throw-away movies have been added to my must-see list. Annihilation, written and directed by Ex Machina and 28 Days Later creator Alex Garland, was not supposed to be one of those movies. Annihilation based on the first novel of the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer is a women-led sci-fi series that follows a biologist, anthropologist, psychologist and surveyor into an area called The Shimmer. The Shimmer is a mysterious area under military surveillance that is cut off from the rest of civilization. We follow our characters into the shimmer as they try to reach the epicenter to discover it’s source and a way stop it’s growth before it consumes the world.
The movie starts with biology teacher Lena, played by Natalie Portman, discussing cellular division to her class (referenced SEVERAL times throughout the movie). From there we quickly discover that Lena has been mourning the disappearance of her husband Kane (aka Poe Dameron) who has been missing for a year after going on a secret military mission. We establish that Lena has become a recluse that refuses to leave her home and spends many of her weekends simply coping with the loss. While repainting their room Lena’s husband mysteriously appears in the doorway of their bedroom. Lena is of course overwhelmed with joy and confusion hugging her husband and bombarding him with questions on his whereabouts. Kane behaving strangely answers with no more than an “I don’t know”. Kane then discloses that he does not feel well and begins to cough up blood. We are then transported to a rushing ambulance that later gets pulled over by government entities. From here we are introduced to the remaining characters and the area called The Shimmer. Our group is 1 of 12 groups who have entered The Shimmer previously with very grave results.
Overall the visuals within the movie are stunning. The Shimmer, much like a bubble, refracts light displaying beautiful arrays of color both outside and inside its perimeter. The creatures within are a mix between animal and plant, causing deer like creatures to sprout flowers from their antlers and some of the darker creatures within to be even more terrifying. The visuals alone will have you glued to the screen. Where the visuals prevail the storyline plummets. The characters are very predictable and nothing about their personalities draw you in. The younger member of the group is expectedly rash and makes many detrimental decisions for herself and the group. While the cold-shouldered leader leaves the group behind as soon as it fits into the script. If you were hoping the ending of the movie would at least provide you with a better understanding of the overall core purpose of the movie you would be wrong. The ending leaves you even more confused than when you started this journey, scratching your head wondering what the heck just happened.
I think overall the movie had great potential to deliver a great story on evolution and self-destruction but missed the mark for me. Now knowing that the movie is an adaptation of a novel I do wonder if I would have liked it more if I had read the books first. Would the information within the novels have made the movie easier to follow or would it have left me even more disappointed? I plan to check out the series and add it to my 2018 reading list because I do have an overall interest in the story and what it was supposed to be. So I guess there’s at least 1 good takeaway from going to see Annihilation.
Indy Hip Chic is a lifestyle blog following the amazingly awesome lives of 4 Indy natives. Originally created to be a creative outlet and place to try new things we thought why not share this experience??? And with that Indy Hip Chic was born. From cosplay to vegan recipes we cover a little bit of everything while showing off the place we call home.