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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Annihilation - Movie Review


The Movie: Annihilation

The Director: Alex Garland

The Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac, Benedict Wong,

The Story: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don't apply.


The Review:
Alex Garland is quickly proving to be one of the most prominent science fiction directors in the business. Ex Machina was absolute genius in how it jumped head first into the genre without sugar coating anything or tailoring the story to a mass market audience. There has also been talk recently from Karl Urban that Garland actually directed Dredd which he is currently credited only as the screenplay writer.

Visually, this movie is stunning and demands to be viewed on a big screen in a movie theater. I'm not talking about large scale battle scenes with lasers and explosions all over the place, I'm talking about stuff that will blow your mind because you're eyes don't know what to do with how beautiful and ethereal all of it is. Every scene and every moment has an intent and purpose to move the story forward by introducing constant change both obvious and subtle in the environments and in the characters.


It's nice to see Natalie Portman put front and center in a movie that offers empowerment, individuality, and leadership to its roster of female characters. Along for the ride are Tessa Thompson who was fantastic as Valkyrie in Thor Ragnarok, Gina Rodriguez who has made her mark recently in Deepwater Horizon and Jane the Virgin, Swedish actress Tuva Novotny, and Jennifer Jason Leigh who turned in a brilliant performance in The Hateful Eight.

Watching these women work together on screen was a real treat especially as there was a real purpose for their characters to be part of a team rather than just thrown together because they are women. The characters have depth and history and have to learn to work well together in an environment that is constantly changing and seemingly working against their every step forward. With this movie, women now have bad ass science fiction role models who are also super smart scientists and fully realized female characters to boot. Has anything like this been done before? While I'm sure it has to some effect, I can not recall anything like it at this scale within the genre.


The Verdict:
Annihilation is a revelation and another leap forward in Alex Garland's career as one of this era's foremost science fiction story tellers. While it may not please genre fans who are looking for epic scale battles and swashbuckling spectacle, it is the type of fascinating and engrossing story that I am very happy to see being brought to life.





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