Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#51 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:31 am

Arrival discussion moved here.

moreorless
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#52 Post by moreorless » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:35 am

Lost Highway wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:46 am
Watching acclaimed films in the social media age has so much to do with managing expectations. I find critics overreact to something which is ambitious even if the film fails to live up to those ambitions. Annihilation should have been right in my wheelhouse, but I thought it was an intriguing concept and some lovely visuals in the service of a Heap of Dumb, cloaked by a type of ambiguity which doesn't fool anybody who is familiar with sci-fi of the mind bending sort.

The Brownie points this aims for by featuring an all female team have to be immediately deducted for having them act Alien Covenant-levels of stupid throughout. The only known survivor returning from The Shimmer with all the signs of an infection, but lets send a team of scientists in there without hazmat suits anyway ! I'm delighted by the recent career resurgence of Jennifer Jason Leigh, but she may just play the worst, most irresponsible team leader ever. The end goes for
SpoilerShow
a familiar doppelganger/body snatcher ending and while the substitutes may not actually be evil, there isn't much to ponder about.
With its conventional flashback structure, the film also isn't stylistically distinctive in the way a superior genre mind bender like Under the Skin or Upstream Color were. Rather than Stalker, the film this reminds me the most of is Gareth Edward's Monsters, which also has characters head into a forbidden zone overrun with alien/mutating flora and fauna, but that film was unusual in the way it treated its sci-fi/horror premise along along the lines of a Linklater-style walking-and-talking romance. I didn't hate the film and may give it another watch with lowered exectations but it confirms my suspicion that Alex Garland maybe isn't all that. The two films he wrote for Danny Boyle in particular have serious last act problems.

I thought both The Ritual and Ravenous are better direct-to-Netflix genre movies than this is. Neither has the pretensions of Annihilation, Ravenous essentially being a bog standard zombie movie at heart, but as a piece of film making I found it superior to this.
I would say personally that I think Garland maybe strayed too far from his strengths with this film looking to follow someone like Glazer in an obvious Stalker like plot although I think in some respect the result is similar to Upstream Colour that I though was similarly empty cinema, although Curruth put a lot more effort into being obtuse to hide that IMHO.

Honestly it did feel like it would have been better directed by Boyle along the lines of Sunshine or 28 Days Latter as a more conventional horror thriller rather than having pretensions at following something like Under The Skin. I would say the elements that follow that most closely such as the bear attack are clearly the most successful where as elsewhere the film verges on self parody, I'm almost expecting French and Sanders to walk into scenes along the lines of those Bergman parodies they did.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#53 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:10 pm

Here's an excellent and clearly expressed reading of the basic thematic thrust of the movie, one different (and probably more persuasive) than my own above. Worth the 20 minutes.

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