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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Reviews    Movie, Television and DVD Reviews  ›  Annihilation - 2018 Moderators: Nixon
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Dreamscale
Posted: March 5th, 2018, 11:29am Report to Moderator
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Written and directed by Alex Garland, taken from the 1st novel of a trilogy by Jeff VandeMeer has been drawing alot of hoopla online for some time now, and I have been looking forward to seeing it.

Well...I saw it, and I'm kind of not sure how exactly to express my feelings about it.

First of all, it is a good movie, with alot going on...on screen, and under the surface, as well.

It's a good looking movie, with a solid cast and some good FX work.

It's very scary and even horrific at times, while at other times, very cerebral and complex.

For me, it's too many things, yet at the same time, too little of what I was expecting, which is horror.

The trailers show the potential horrific moments and it looks like a "thinkers' horror flick"...and maybe it is, but for me, the horror is too few and far between, while the real deep thinking stuff is a little light for me.

I enjoyed myself and did spend some time in reflection, but what I was left with wasn't what I was after, and I totally understand why the film has under performed at the BO, as well as why there was a serious struggle between Producers after the film was originally cut.

I'll watch it again when it hits the small screen, but I doubt my rating will change.

Grade - B-


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.

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Dreamscale  -  May 29th, 2018, 9:24am
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kev
Posted: March 5th, 2018, 11:50am Report to Moderator
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I also don't really know how I felt about this movie. There were some incredible sequences but overall I still kind of had mixed feelings. It was smarter than your average movie in this vein yet it still played out kind of predictably.

I saw this at an advanced screening back in early February and Alex Garland did a Q&A after. He's a really interesting guy to listen to speak and the way he discussed various production woes gave me the impression that he himself wasn't thrilled about how some things turned out.

I'd like to see this movie again before I make up my mind on how I feel about it. However, it's certainly entertaining and I'm excited to see what he does next.


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James McClung
Posted: March 6th, 2018, 6:07pm Report to Moderator
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Not the worst film to kick off 2018 (it was the first one I saw in theaters). Felt like Jurassic Park meets Stalker, both plotwise and in the sense that it's got a foot in both the adventure and arthouse camps. There's also some proper gruesome/freaky shit that totally caught me off guard as well as some good old-fashioned mindfuckery. Alex Garland is a writer first and foremost, so much of the film is inherently evocative and compelling. Sometimes the craft is a little too obvious, though, especially when the dialogue tries to be clever or mysterious. I probably know too much about screenwriting at this point, though; could easily be I've just ruined films for myself forever.

MILD SPOILERS (MAYBE?)...

I think it would've helped if the actors/characters weren't so flat and generic. The closest to a standout is Jennifer Jason Leigh, and that's in part because she's flat to the point of being unreadable. There's also a lot to be said about the ending, which definitely doesn't resolve itself in a tidy fashion. There're some theories out there about what it all means, but the ones I've heard only make the film less compelling. I'd much prefer a straightforward explanation that owns the sci-fi element instead of some boring metaphor about marriage or whatever.

END "SPOILERS"

Not bad, overall. At the very least, an ambitious second feature for Garland. Film #2 is an important one for directors. I much preferred Ex Machina, though.


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colkurtz8
Posted: March 26th, 2018, 9:04am Report to Moderator
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On first viewing, fairly baffled. Just watched it again last night.

Hmm, I don't know if there is much going on behind it all to be honest. Mutations, duplications, an all pervasive, consuming, mimicking, mirroring entity. A metaphor for cancer? Fear of multiculturalism? Our abusive relationship with our planet and fellow humans? The clue is in the title I guess. We are the shimmer basically? I dunno. I read a bit of analysis fumbling for meaning, still unconvinced.

It talks a good intellectual game but is this emperor missing a thread or many? I want to, nay have to! support a film that challenges and the lighthouse sequence does feature some great effects and, in particular, sound design, the shimmer looks deadly but it all feels like a whole bunch of not much.

On the other hand, I rewatched Dune and wow, isn't that a lot of hooey. Makes Annihilation look like Solyaris in comparison. Never has so much incoherent nonsense been crammed into 137 minutes. I appreciate it has its campy, bizarre appeal, fodder for cult status but I reckon it's just flat out bad. The Death Proof of Lynch's filmography if you will.


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JEStaats
Posted: May 28th, 2018, 3:29pm Report to Moderator
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I finally got to see this last night with equal pleasure/disappointment.

-SPOILERS-

What worked:
1. Top notch sound effects and use of music. Quality engineering for your home surround sound. Nice choice of CSN when Kane comes home.
2. Natalie Portman was a pleasant surprise. This was definitely her type of role. The brainiac with gunslinger talent.
3. Visual SFX were top-notch MOST of the time. The plant people were very cool but I wasn't too thrilled with the bear-thing.

What didn't:
1. Holy crap! Why tell us in the beginning who dies? There goes any surprises.
2. OTN writing. Sure, some things need explanation but to almost list it out? Almost self-aware like Deadpool at times.
3. The tattoo clue(s). Just like OTN writing. At least make us look for the eggs!
4. Jennifer Jason Leigh...on a fence with her. She had to really try to be that emotionless and flat. Give her an Oscar or no more work for her. IDK.

All in all, I think I'm going to watch it again tonight. Some say it's slow but it sucked me right in.

8.0/10
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