Science fiction is my favorite genre. This movie reminded me exactly why.
“Annihilation” is written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later). It’s based off the book by Jeff VanderMeer, which is part of a trilogy called the Southern Reach.
I sincerely hope they turn the movies into a trilogy because I absolutely LOVED IT.
Alex Garland successfully created a world that is equal parts beautiful and disturbing. The plot follows a biologist named Lena (Natalie Portman) who attempts to save her husband (Oscar Isaac) by venturing into this strange environmental phenomenon that has been termed “The Shimmer”. She volunteers for an expedition amongst fellow military scientists played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Tuva Novotny. Together, they try to investigate what’s inside The Shimmer and what caused this strange occurrence.
This movie was riveting, ambitious, and absolutely mesmerizing to watch on screen. Amongst the many evolving things in The Shimmer, one of the biggest parts within it was the animals. Garland takes the mutations of animals and balances beauty with terror all in the same area. As an audience member, you can see this abundance of life that’s growing and flourishing within it that looks truly wonderful, but you also see the monstrous side to this beauty and how these mutations can really go either way. The deeper the team goes in, the worse it gets. Which leads me to the scares in this movie. There’s definitely some moments that had me hiding behind my hands, but the trailers make it out to seem like a film that’s filled with jump scares. Have no fear folks, there’s none of those, just some disturbing images created by Alex Garland (THANKS, MAN).
Another great aspect to this movie is its message. The key to a successful science fiction film is the takeaway. When you leave the theater, you’re left mulling over many different portions. This film has a strong message about how humans have a need to thrive, but also to destroy. It’s difficult to find a balance and this movie explores that in a very interesting way. It also does a fantastic job with representation, which I can’t applaud Alex Garland for enough. The group of women in this movie are simply referred to as scientists, there is never a moment where their gender is defined or they fall separate from their male counterparts. This was something I also noticed in “Black Panther” and it brought a smile to me face.
10/10 would recommend, this movie is phenomenal. You can check it out this weekend at your local theater OR you can check it out on Netflix March 12th!