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Full Version: ANNIHILATION (2018) Post-Release Discussion
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AI saw this a little while ago and fucking loved it. There's some great Lovecraftian elements and moments of body horror that really creeped me out.

[SPOILER=Warning: Spoiler!]That bear-thing being able to mimic the screams of its last victim was disturbing as Hell.[/SPOILER]

I am considering sneaking out of my house right now to go catch a screening. Trying to judge how soundly my wife is sleeping.

What have I become?

I was never really sold on the previews for this, so maybe I went in with lowered expectations.   That said, I loved every frame of this.

It's certainly going to be a divisive film for audiences.  Having only seen it once, I'm not really sure I can explain ANYTHING that happens in the last 20 minutes.


Originally Posted by MadmanNixon View Post

I'm not really sure I can explain ANYTHING that happens in the last 20 minutes.


So many of the reviews are like, "Boy, this movie's gonna be polarizing/divisive," and yet unlike the reviews, for say, mother!--it's a pretty positive critical consensus overall. But who knows with the GA.

This was intriguing as hell, and a visual treat. I can't wait for people to get in here and start giving their take on things.

Bradito hated it.


Originally Posted by Jacob Singer View Post

Bradito hated it.

He's easy to lure but tough to please.

A[quote name="Jacob Singer" url="/community/t/160083/annihilation-2018-post-release-discussion/0_100#post_4479615"]Bradito hated it. 
Well, not every movie can be as masterfully crafted as Justice League.

*which I actually kinda liked*
ANot sure I like it but I do appreciate it. It swings for the fences. That's for sure.
A[quote name="Jacob Singer" url="/community/t/160083/annihilation-2018-post-release-discussion#post_4479615"]Bradito hated it. 


But, for real, what drew you guys in? Help me understand. I'm a dumb ape.
AIt's a modern take on The Colour Out of Space. It's gorgeous, creepy, and inexplicable while delivering some really visceral scares. It's a little cold and it's not hard to figure out what's going on, but it pulls no punches and has some real unsettling stuff. Portman fighting her mirror and her self destructive nature is really eerie and unique.

I think this is great.

Man, between this and Ex Machina, Garland might now be my favorite living writer/director. The beginning is a bit of a slow burn, but once they get to The Shimmer, it's just flat-out stunning film-making. I really have to read these novels now.

AKinda loved it, imperfect though it was. Ballsy and interesting, and the second half is absolutely insane.
AWhat I did like: the music during the finale, when Natalie Portman and the grayboy are doing their little interpretive dance; the bear that looks like The Relic; the antelopes with flowery antlers.

this girl also gets it (from Slashfilm):

The film is a firestorm of representation. Fresh on the heels of Black Panther’s roaring success and trailblazing black cast, Annihilation is another feast of diversity, with female narratives and perspectives at its core. All of the leads are women, the three supporting male characters are all men of color. The film talks about mental illness, addiction, debilitating grief. One character is openly gay, another terminally ill. The women are mothers and wives, but they are also masters of their chosen fields, and the fact that they’re all female is barely highlighted – it simply is.

In terms of artistic design, I can't remember the last time I saw a Hollywood flick this original. Totally striking.

Pretty much all the technical credits are major ace level. I have lots of thoughts I'd like to share, but for now I will just say that it felt to me almost like a well-funded and modern Fulci directing an early Cronenberg script.

So, yeah, insanely dope.

This one's going to take a while to process, I think. My biggest block is I can't seem to figure what (or even if) it's going for, thematically. And it's too abstract narratively to get away with being abstract about it's themes.

See, I thought the narrative was pretty straightforward, honestly, the film just allowed the weirdness of the situation to be, well, weird. But at the climax of the film where I've seen so many reactions of "MIND TRIP" or "WHAT DID I JUST SEE," I'm like, uh, it was actually totally clear what was going on. Now, why were certain things happening? I mean, that was a bit more vague, but even there they put a bit of a capper on that in the denouement.

I don't think the film was really all that abstract thematically. If anything, there were a couple moments where I thought it was a bit too on-the-nose (I mean, they really pressed in on the idea of self-destruction being hard-wired into us right down to the cellular level... and then there are obvious metaphors at the end for a sort of simultaneous culmination/transcendence of that idea). It does seem like different people are getting different things out of the movie, which is great, but for me it was sort of like a strange, fictional nature film.  About our inner nature, and the Nature that shapes it. That demands our death and rebirth, and the horror/beauty of those demands.

I love that everything inside the Shimmer is a sort of an exaggeration of Nature taking over, then twisted, refracted, into something that at first feels to our characters like a hybrid of Heaven with Hell. Only for them to slowly realize that the environment they are in is neither malignant or benign. It simply is, and it's new.

It's terrifying, the idea of losing yourself to something bigger than you. But this is the truth of death, and in a funny way, it's also the hope of many religions and faiths. Annihilation is not a spiritual movie, but it respects the metaphysics of awareness and the existential crisis of that when confronted with one's mortality and insignificance and then somehow finds its own version of hope.

I also LOVED the setpieces in this, and the last time I said that about a flick was Fury Road. They are few and they are brief but so effective. There's one sequence that will remind a bit of the pivotal blood test scene in The Thing but it's doing its own thing here and it is absolutely greatness.

Loved the soundtrack, too. Most unsettling use of Crosby, Stills, & Nash ever. And the finale music definitely goes into "dramatic sound effects" mode but goddamn if it doesn't do it exceptionally well. It's Geoff Barrow from Portishead (with Ben Salisbury) and in some ways I want to call Annihilation cinema's first trip-hop masterpiece, and that goes beyond the music, it's the way the movie itself kind of grafts so many disparate references and influences into this very unified whole that has a flowing, fresh, moody vibe.

I linked a review above from Vox by Alissa Wilkinson. She did a great job of addressing some of the film's themes with clarity and insight while not trying to dictate a strict interpretation on the movie.

About our inner nature, & the nature that shapes it. That demands our death & rebirth, & the horror/beauty of those demands.


Originally Posted by wasp View Post

Pretty much all the technical credits are major ace level. I have lots of thoughts I'd like to share, but for now I will just say that it felt to me almost like a well-funded and modern Fulci directing an early Cronenberg script.

The more I think about this I feel like this is something Cronenberg would have written in the morning after a restless night thinking about The Search for Spock, lol. Which is not something I would have said about the books, at all, but it's definitely how Garland's story/script turned out. Which, again, dope.

I will say, though, as much as I like the Vox review, it really leans on the comparison to Tarkovsky's Stalker... and while Stalker is one of my all-time favorite movies (along with all of Tarkovsky's other movies, in my top 100), I think the similarities between that movie and this one are just superficial ones built into the premise and, uh, location scouting. Aesthetically, tonally, rhythmically, thematically... drastically different movies. Stalker is a classic art film. This is a modern sci-fi/horror/drama. They both have a philosophical bent to them and a few story points that are similar but the approach to the material and how they elaborate on their ideas, it's worlds apart.

On a downbeat note, I saw this in a big theater in the middle of Columbus, OH, which is not a small city... and there were 3 other people in the theater. THREE! Saaad.

Please go see this, it truly might be one of the last times you get to see a bold, original, new IP sci-fi film on the big screen. Feels like the streaming model is going to rapidly increase in its swallowing up of movies like this. Thankful that Neftlix is going to make it possible for other countries to see this sooner than later, but yeah, this is definitely silver screen worthy. An audio-visual treat.

I've noticed, too, that Paramount/Netflix botched their promotion of how this was going to be released. I have seen a lot of comments from people in North America thinking they can just check this out on Netflix in a couple weeks.

AWasp is actually Alex Garland IRL.

Hey, I'm sorry I've made a film I really believe in!

But to prove I'm not actually Alex Garland, let me reiterate what I've said on here before: Ex Machina is just aight.

Now Ex Machina is definitely a tighter, smaller focus film and often I'd be more down for that. But aesthetically and in terms of its ideas, it very much felt like something I had encountered many iterations of before in science fiction stories and TV and movies and the like.

This felt a lot fresher to me, and I appreciated the level of execution relative to the major bump up in scale, especially when $55 million is not what I'd call a big budget for a movie of this nature. There's obvious influences on it, sure (the book, Asimov's "Green Patches," Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, Tarkovsky's Stalker, Cronenberg's eXistenZ, 2001: A Space Odyssey, John Carpenter's The Thing, Alien, Arrival, Fulci and Argento, Giger, Lisa Frank, again, The Search for Spock) but it is such a hybrid of so many very different things and really combines them rather seamlessly--in keeping with the movie one could say that it refracts the very DNA of its art/lit/film predecessors--it ends up feeling like something new and unique.

I also found that this film really works on several different levels, be it drama, adventure, horror, action thriller, mood piece, thought-provoker, and so on. The visceral and conceptual function of Ex Machina felt more limited to me. It's basically an idea movie, and since the ideas felt a bit rote to me as a sci-fi fan, I never got a lot out of it. Whereas I am not sure I've ever seen a genre movie really focus in on our biological/psychological programming towards self-destruction and then find a way, through science fiction, to elaborate on that idea and develop it towards a conclusion that is simultaneously devastating and transcendent.

The moment the film's title is spoken and what immediately happens after... that's going to say burned into my memory for a long time. I really felt this film give new meaning and a different emotional context to the idea of annihilation. It takes both the language and physics definitions of the word, and finds a powerfully resonant middle-ground for them both, a hybrid definition whose truth you can feel. This is something only art can do.


complete destruction or obliteration.
"the threat of global annihilation"
the conversion of matter into energy, especially the mutual conversion of a particle and an antiparticle into electromagnetic radiation.

AWasp is 100% Alex Garland.

But no, seriously, go see my movie!

ANobody's going to see this! Time to make 28 Months Later!

Sunshine 2: Here Comes The Sun

ASunshine 2: Moonlight
ASunshine 2: Heliocentric Boogaloo.
AMore than few times while I was watching this I remember thinking “this feels like a mushroom trip.” I enjoyed it overall, maybe a bit less than I had wanted.

Three questions:

what was the narrative purpose of the protagonist’s extramarital affair? I wasn’t sure where that fit in the story.

If their DNA is turning into gumbo and their insides are coiling snakes, how are the characters brains even able to put two words together?

Do bears really live in swamps?
A[quote name="Amos Orange" url="/community/t/160083/annihilation-2018-post-release-discussion/30#post_4480588"]what was the narrative purpose of the protagonist’s extramarital affair? I wasn’t sure where that fit in the story.[/quote]

At one point she mentioned that her husband knew about the affair, so I think it's implied that's what drove him to take on the mission into the shimmer. I think one of the reasons she goes into the shimmer is because she feels guilty for possibly driving him away in the first place.
AI agree with everything wasp is saying, just a bit less enthusiastically. Good movie, I hope more people see it. A significant cut above the standard for films of this type (in broad terms, Cloverfield Paradox did an awful job of all this earlier this month). But this one really goes for it.

When it comes to the ending, I recall knowing exactly what was happening in the theater, but afterwards, found it difficult to put into words. Maybe it’s kind of like the ending of Fallen?
A[quote name="HP Pufncraft" url="/community/t/160083/annihilation-2018-post-release-discussion/30#post_4480595"]
At one point she mentioned that her husband knew about the affair, so I think it's implied that's what drove him to take on the mission into the shimmer. I think one of the reasons she goes into the shimmer is because she feels guilty for possibly driving him away in the first place.[/quote]
There's also something there about how since Ventress is only selecting people who don't care about coming home it's contributing to why nobody comes back. Though why this would have effected that first ranger who went in when the Shimmer first appeared is left unexplained.
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