Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

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Luke M
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#26 Post by Luke M » Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:19 pm

I’m convinced that the only people that now use the word refracted are because they saw this movie.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#27 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:25 pm

badass chicks shooting mutant gators in the face
Maaaan. I know this comes off terribly snooty, but I can tell this is going to be a difficult movie to love & defend if this is the sort of conversation going on around it.

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Brian C
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#28 Post by Brian C » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:56 pm

I agree, watching the gator get shot was my least favorite part!!

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Satori
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#29 Post by Satori » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:14 am

Eh, “badass chicks shooting mutant gators in the face” would have been more than enough to get me to the theater in this new Moviepass world.

My take is somewhere in between thinking this is just a fun genre movie and wanting to apply continental philosophy to it (although I feel happy for the above poster’s Deleuzian friend—this is probably a really fun movie to see under the influence of D&G for the first time). I think this is just a really good sci-fi movie that has some interesting ideas and lots of arresting visuals. While this might be a rare enough combination that Paramount had difficulty figuring out what to do with it, it seems to me that there is a pretty clear subgenre of similar films like Upstream Color and Moon.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#30 Post by Lost Highway » 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
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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.

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Persona
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#31 Post by Persona » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:40 pm

Funny because I was watching The Ritual last night and had the exact opposite thought. Though I will give massive props to that creature design in The Ritual.

Sorry you didn't get that much out of Annihilation, I think there is quite a bit of thematic depth to the movie but that's largely dependent on how much you're willing (or how much the film makes you willing) to engage with it. I can only recommend again the reviews on Film Freak Central and New Republic and the piece on Vulture by Angelica Bastien about the film's depiction of the linkage between depression and self-destruction. And some of those themes go part of the way to explaining some of the characters' "stupidity," as you call it.

At first I also thought the Stalker comparison was a superficial one based on some premise and location shooting similarities, but Chaw's review for Film Freak made me question my initial reaction. Yes, they are utterly different movies, Annihilation is very much more a genre flick than an art film, but there is more thematic overlap than I was giving credit for. Also found the connections that Chaw and the New Republic piece drew to Virginia Woolf to be fascinating.

I thought the filmmaking was, in general, top-notch--particularly the work from the art and sound design, camera, and editing teams--and it really shone as a work of craft on the big screen, but maybe my opinion will diminish slightly on that front on home viewing.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#32 Post by Lost Highway » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:33 pm

Persona wrote:Funny because I was watching The Ritual last night and had the exact opposite thought. Though I will give massive props to that creature design in The Ritual.

Sorry you didn't get that much out of Annihilation, I think there is quite a bit of thematic depth to the movie but that's largely dependent on how much you're willing (or how much the film makes you willing) to engage with it. I can only recommend again the reviews on Film Freak Central and New Republic and the piece on Vulture by Angelica Bastien about the film's depiction of the linkage between depression and self-destruction. And some of those themes go part of the way to explaining some of the characters' "stupidity," as you call it.

At first I also thought the Stalker comparison was a superficial one based on some premise and location shooting similarities, but Chaw's review for Film Freak made me question my initial reaction. Yes, they are utterly different movies, Annihilation is very much more a genre flick than an art film, but there is more thematic overlap than I was giving credit for. Also found the connections that Chaw and the New Republic piece drew to Virginia Woolf to be fascinating.

I thought the filmmaking was, in general, top-notch--particularly the work from the art and sound design, camera, and editing teams--and it really shone as a work of craft on the big screen, but maybe my opinion will diminish slightly on that front on home viewing.
Thanks for recommending those reviews. I read the Film Freak Central and they New Repulic ones. They made for interesting reading and they did make more sense of the film for me. I didn’t want to read much about the film before I saw it and haven’t had time to do so afterwards. The review by Walter Chaw in particular was moving and deeply personal. That said, as someone who doesn’t suffer depression (anxiety and panic attacks are my thing) and because that’s a state which can be hard to relate too for someone whom this is alien too, that’s probably why I didn’t connect with it.

I still think the film could have worked on two levels, it still doesn’t quite make sense to me that these scientist set out on a suicide mission from the start. Wasn’t saving the world the initial plan ? Once they are inside it makes more sense that they start to fall apart. I will revisit the film and read a little more about it as I enjoyed those review, maybe my opinion on it will change.

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Persona
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#33 Post by Persona » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:39 pm

Great, I'm glad those reading suggestions were worthwhile for you.

And I don't disagree with some of your points, either. I guess just for me, personally, I get why the movie was doing things the way it was doing them, and having read the trilogy I knew beforehand that this would be far from an air-tight screenplay, so I appreciated Garland being intentional about that and making sure he established this as an "unreliable narrator" story along with some of the dream atmosphere/logic he applied.

When he wrote the script he said he intentionally didn't re-read the book, because it felt like a dream to him and he wanted to do his script as a sort of "dream response" to the story. And for better or worse, that comes through in the movie. (For better, in my case).

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Persona
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#34 Post by Persona » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:32 am

Caught it for a second time late last night, once again in a practically empty theater.

Pretty much as effective a viewing as the first watch, and some of the emotional beats hit a bit harder though the visceral impact was slightly lessened just from knowing what was coming. But even with thinking about and discussing the film constantly since I first saw it a couple weeks ago, it's a very detailed work and I still picked up on a lot of things that I didn't notice as much the first time
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like when they show Cass' body and you see the throat ripped out--I could practically hear the bear crying "heeelp me"
Also, going in with knowledge of the character motivations and arcs really enhanced my appreciation of all the performances in the film, but ESPECIALLY Portman's. Her performance isn't always front and center and there is so much going on in the film aesthetically, it's easy to lose sight how much she is doing to bring an emotional depth and context to every scene. But on the second viewing it really shines and you see, too, how the film uses little moments from Portman to really flesh out the subtext of the film.
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on first watch I didn't even notice her reaction when they first go into the abandoned house and you can see her questioning if she's hallucinating or something to that effect because it's so similar to the house she shared with Kane (it was confirmed that the abandoned house was a redress of Lena & Kane's home).

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djproject
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#35 Post by djproject » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:15 am

Spoiler-free assessment: beautifully horrifying.
Spoiler thoughts (probably an overreaction, but it's better to d…Show
I never thought that the visceral momentum of something like The Thing or Tremors or, yes, Alien/Aliens could be blended with sensibilities found in Solaris and Stalker. I know the latter is more opaque than how Annihilation deals with its themes and you don't have a lot of poetic moments from Stalker appearing here. But honestly, I really like films that are in the mainstream fare but will build an audience *up* rather than making them complacent in watching mediocre fare. I'd rather have the effort be there than just resorting to the safe fare ... (cough)A Wrinkle in Time(cough)

I do want to revisit this again and find some other people to talk through what happened and what the implications are. And if more these films are found in the Big Cinemas - meaning well-crafted, well-made, sincere and doesn't assume the audience is a bunch of drooling idiots - then I think audience attendance wouldn't be an issue.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#36 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:32 am


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Ribs
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#37 Post by Ribs » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:35 am

I find this news actually perplexing, considering A) Paramount have become the studio with the most UHD output by a large margin and B) the movie actually, all things considered, overperformed its expectations. I'm guessing it's a limited time exclusive considering I really can't imagine they actually think this wouldn't sell considerably better than their just-released UHD of Downsizing?

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mfunk9786
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#38 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:48 am

Paramount has shown no limits in their capacity to be spiteful toward this film, so I'm just glad they're releasing it in UHD at all

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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#39 Post by onedimension » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:57 am

Still digesting this one, might need a second viewing. The film is itself a kind of hybrid, like its “monsters”, half naturalist sci fi action like The Thing and other genre landmarks, and half art film - or like the bear of genre movies ate an art film and now roars in cerebral, surreal psychedelia. The lighthouse scenes seemed to be “saying something”, and I don’t know yet if the confusion is mine or Garland’s.

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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#40 Post by Slaphappy » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:27 pm

Persona wrote:When he wrote the script he said he intentionally didn't re-read the book, because it felt like a dream to him and he wanted to do his script as a sort of "dream response" to the story. And for better or worse, that comes through in the movie. (For better, in my case).
I found out this only after watching the movie and it makes a lot sense to me. First half of Annihilation felt frustratingly incoherent before I managed to adjust my expectations. I’m happy, that Garland got this picture done. It was clear watching Ex-Machina, that instead a straight forward scifi thriller he might have ambitions for stuff like Under the Skin or Beyond the Black Rainbow.

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barryconvex
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#41 Post by barryconvex » Tue May 22, 2018 3:08 am

I can't believe there are some dissenting voices out there-this was staggering. I'm still so shaken by it 24 hours later, i'm having trouble typing and i still can't organize my thoughts into a coherent summation. So, i'll just say Garland needs to be recognized as a major talent. As great as Ex Machina was, this is a leap forward on every possible front. The jeers about rip-offs of Alien, The Thing and whatever other sci-fi movies of the past are superficial at best. This is the most intelligent film i've seen all year.

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colinr0380
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#42 Post by colinr0380 » Tue May 22, 2018 12:38 pm

barryconvex wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 3:08 am
So, i'll just say Garland needs to be recognized as a major talent.
I would agree with this despite not having yet gotten to Ex Machina and Annihilation! I would highly recommend reading Garland's novel of The Beach (I like the film but the novel is even better) and especially The Tesseract, which is kind of what you would get if you mashed up multi-strand, multi-language dramas like Traffic and Amores Perros together (before it became a trend with films like Crash and Babel), with a novel Manila setting. It got a rather lacklustre film adaptation directed by Oxide Pang (of Bangkok Dangerous fame, who pushed it more into the abstract action sequences characteristic of his films rather than juggling multiple plot strands simultaneously, which is really what that adaptation needed), but the book is excellent.

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barryconvex
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Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)

#43 Post by barryconvex » Fri May 25, 2018 10:07 am

Thanks for the tip. Will definitely check those out...

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