Thread Rating:
  • 4 Vote(s) - 4 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
ANNIHILATION (2018) Post-Release Discussion
you should bow, saxon

we are in the presence of alex garland


(edit: I just googled photos of garland because I realized I had no idea what he looked like. it's hard to find a photo of him smiling! at most, he has a VERY subtle uptick in the corners of his mouth once in a while!)
Reply
(03-13-2018, 07:31 PM)wasp Wrote: yass, Saxon, yass.

join me in my obsessed revelry!

Include me too! I love this film.

https://t.co/Q364IerK58?amp=1
Fantastic write up. Full of spoilers if you haven’t seen the film.
A
Reply
I enjoyed this mainly on the face value level of it being a solid example of that sci-fi sub-genre of people putted against some deadly alien force they don't understand, one where the threats feel genuinely creepy and alien and for once don't feel derivative of other movies. I loved the swerves into outright psychedelia. A bit of tightening up in the first half wouldn't have hurt.

What I didn't really connect with was whatever the film was trying to say with the human characters, even with Leigh and Portman having one of those "let's discuss the themes of the movie we're in" conversations halfway through.

If it's about learning to deal with change, the character who most embraces change... turns into a hedge? There's probably some self-destruction symbolism in Portman blowing up a duplicate of herself, but to me all that stuff felt removed from the actual drama of what was going on, and I just don't feel any great urge to go back to untangle it.

But it does make me want to read the book trilogy that's been sat on my shelf for the last two years!
Reply
(03-14-2018, 04:41 AM)Paul C Wrote: I enjoyed this mainly on the face value level of it being a solid example of that sci-fi sub-genre of people putted against some deadly alien force they don't understand, one where the threats feel genuinely creepy and alien and for once don't feel derivative of other movies. I loved the swerves into outright psychedelia. A bit of tightening up in the first half wouldn't have hurt.

What I didn't really connect with was whatever the film was trying to say with the human characters, even with Leigh and Portman having one of those "let's discuss the themes of the movie we're in" conversations halfway through.

If it's about learning to deal with change, the character who most embraces change... turns into a hedge? There's probably some self-destruction symbolism in Portman blowing up a duplicate of herself, but to me all that stuff felt removed from the actual drama of what was going on, and I just don't feel any great urge to go back to untangle it.

But it does make me want to read the book trilogy that's been sat on my shelf for the last two years!

maybe this is is to your point but the themes of the film and what it's doing with its characters are on almost a completely different wavelength from what the books are trying to do. I think at the end of both the film and the trilogy there is basically an idea of acceptance of change, but boy do they get there by radically different avenues and character arcs.

the only strong overlap I really felt was between Ventress and the psychologist in the books, and even then, they still felt like drastically different characters, just with sorta, kinda similar motivations.

to be honest though I am not even sure exactly what the books are trying to do with the characters. I liked the third book pretty well, certainly more than I liked the second, but there's definitely an aspect where the situation sort of just overwhelms the characters to a degree and the books actually do spend a lot of time building these characters. the effect is not necessarily one of disappointment when the story is done, but more just that it feels like the trilogy wasted some serious time on stuff it didn't need to and that didn't really add anything to the sum total. and then there's some stuff at the end, when a bit of what's going on in Area X is finally sort of explained, that ends up making no sense. like the door into Area X. Vandermeer put so much detail and theorizing into that door thing and then at the end you're just like, "so, uh, yeah, about the door? what?"
the empire never ended
Reply
I just love this movie so damned much. On the surface, it's simply a really good horror movie that managed to really unsettle me in places. I've always been creeped out by body horror, so video footage of something slithering around inside of a guy, or a woman slowly turning into a plant with vines growing beneath the skin of her arms, was always going to make me shift uncomfortably in my seat. When you throw in one of the best horror scenes I've seen in ages (the bear entering the room whilst everyone is tied up) and give me a monster that steals your voice as it eats you.... well, I'm sold. 

But I just love the themes going on underneath, and what it says about human beings and their need to self-destruct. I love that this same weakness is what ultimately saves Lena; that she gives it to the alien entity at the end and it self destructs in her place, allowing her to keep going. I love how the entity's effect on the world around it seemed to be saying we're stronger together than apart, which is why the plants and animals began to merge together (with the humans who enter adopting traits from one another, in the form of tattoos and accents) - a strong message as we grow increasingly more apart both as individuals and nations. I love that there's almost an element of hope in the end; that Lena gave up her desire to self-destruct, and Caine's duplicate no longer remembers her infidelity, so perhaps they can have a loving relationship going forward.

Man, there's so much to unpack in this movie. Did I mention how good Natalie Portman is in this movie?

"If I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists" -  The Manic Street Preachers

Steam ID: iammrsaxon / Blizzard ID: MrSaxon#2283 / Xbox ID: MR SAX0N
Reply
You KNOW I'mma give you rep for that, Sax!

but yes, yes, yes.

I follow Matt Zoller Seitz on Twitter and he LURVES this movie so it's been fun watching him unable to stop himself from tweeting about it. He's really been championing it and he joked (at least I think he's joking) that he's to the point where he wants to host a festival where it's just watching Annihilation 3 times with discussion after/between.

Sign me up for that!
the empire never ended
Reply
(03-13-2018, 06:07 PM)somewhere Wrote: The math for the Mandelbulb's way over my head, and of course I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I think in a very broad sense it's analogous to a tesseract.  The Mandelbulb is an extrapolation of the 2D Mandelbrot formula into 3D spherical coordinates... and the Mandelbrot set is kind of a slice of complex number space (i.e. "imaginary" numbers) rendered into a 2D picture we can look at.  So the Mandelbulb is like a 3D projection of an object from higher dimension complex spaces?  In that sense, it also seems to fit the movie thematically - only being able to see a small part of something beyond our comprehension, and struggling to interpret it.
Also, it's cool lookin

It certainly is cool looking.

Found this:

http://www.newsweek.com/annihilation-mea...use-818834


Quote:After much exploration, Whitehurst and his effects team decided to use a single geometric shape in order to signify the entity's make-up. They relied specifically on the Mandelbulb, a three-dimensional fractal, and once you recognize it, Whitehurst, explained, you'll see it all over Annihilation. It's peppered across every growth and tumor, and even lodged into the backside of the meteor that began it all.


and this.
https://www.popmatters.com/annihilation-...71659.html

Quote:We looked at light refraction as a starting point. We looked at the strange forms that exist in nature, [like] the very strange forms you get in a shell, the mathematical forms of a fern. We looked at what literal mutations looked like, like tumors. Ultimately, what we looked at was maths. The form we ended up settling on [for the humanoid] stemmed from a form called a mandelbulb, which is a three-dimensional fractal shape. It's a kind of 3D version of the mandelbrot set. If you looked it up, you'd probably be familiar with it. It's a shape that's got a lot of common currency in the world because it's beautiful. It has some very interesting qualities -- it moves in a way that feels predictable and yet completely unpredictable. It sort of makes sense in the way it moves, but you can't quite see where it's going to go.
Reply
Anyone have any theories about the skeletons lined up outside the lighthouse? Previous teams that went into the shimmer?
Also with this and Ex Machina Garland’s films have the best end credits.
A
Reply
(02-27-2018, 01:51 AM)bradito Wrote: AThey're in Louisiana, right?

I got the vibe that they were in coastal NC, especially with all the Black-Ops Super Science around Fort Lejeune, which is where a lot of the V-22 Osprey training deaths happen - pretty common to see major movement of weaponry and troops along 17 whenever there was a crisis like the Boston Bombing.  There's alligators and bears there too.
Reply
I thought this was pretty fantastic. Need to let it stew some more but WOW.
"I mean don't get me wrong fucking the wolf man is impressive but ugh." - Waaaaaaaalt
Reply
(03-14-2018, 03:25 PM)Codename Wrote: I thought this was pretty fantastic. Need to let it stew some more but WOW.

Yeah, I was pretty blown away.  Just an amazing adaptation.  Certainly in my top five for the year along with Dunkirk, Florida Project, Get Out and I can't think of a fifth so American Assassin I guess.
Reply
I'm trying to get my weekly movie night friends to go see this movie.

Maybe I can succeed...
Reply
The acting in the flashbacks was good, but they reminded me too much of the offensively bad Solaris remake. Every change in that one served to make it more mundane and movie-ish.

It was less of a problem in Annihilation since the payoff was great, and the bonus unexplained bits eclipsed the more typical elements.
Reply
(03-14-2018, 08:00 PM)kyle reese 2 Wrote: The acting in the flashbacks was good, but they reminded me too much of the offensively bad Solaris remake. 

DEAD TO ME
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
I thought Solaris remake was decent in the theater. Then I saw the brilliant original. Another compare and contrast viewing of the remake after left me in existential agony.

I'm reading J.G. Ballard's "The Crystal World" right now. I think that one also went into the inspiration blender with Stalker and Solaris.
Reply
Goddamn I can't get this movie out of my head! And I don't want to...

I've never read the book so I approached this as its own thing and I'm glad I did. It helps approach the movie on its own ideas and that only strengthens it.

It's surprisingly Lovecraftian in ways I did not expect. Especially in the way the alien lifeform just defies any typical description from a human standpoint, especially on a moral level. Honestly, if Guillermo del Toro doesn't want to take another shot at At The Mountains of Madness let Garland do it cause he clearly gets it. That whole Lighthouse sequence is a damn all-timer and I was mesmerized from beginning to end. Performances across the board are impeccable and the fact that its quite a diverse film from a casting standpoint is always worthy of respect. The team were economically well established and I managed to connect with them each on their own level without any excessive exposition and backstory. The movie gives you just enough to go on and reminded me of Predator in the best of ways. I REALLY felt each of the respective deaths because GODDAMN FUCK THAT BEAR! As if the scene where it grabs Sheppard and pulls her into the night with her screaming in terror wasn't horrifying enough they make it SO MUCH WORSE in the following scene in the house. That was the most horrified I've been from a movie in a long time. Fuck...Anya did not die well and those goddamn screams will haunt me. Instant lock for the eventual '2018 by the moments' thread. SUCH a great moment. It's also interesting that it is implied that the reason Nightmare Bear is able to copy Sheppard's screams is cause it literally ate her vocal chords (you see the wound when Lena finds her body).

The themes of self-destruction and the nature of change were fascinating to grapple with. I kept being reminded of Butterflies...when a Caterpillar cocoons itself it literally liquefies itself and is completely remade as a Butterfly. Does the Caterpillar know its going to be annihilated to be remade? Does the Butterfly remember its days as a Caterpillar? Is the Butterfly even the same animal as the Caterpillar? Those were the questions going through my mind and the movie and I seemed to be on the same level in relation to how The Shimmer changes those inside it. I look forward to the analysis this movie is going to generate. Especially among people much smarter than my Proletariat ass.

If I had one criticism its that I felt the resolution in the Lighthouse to be a little weak. All these strange creations and happenings and in the end the day is saved thanks to FIRE! I know this was never made with a sequel in mind but the way the whole Shimmer situation is resolved just felt a bit TOO neat for me. Even with the "twist" at the end. But this is small potatoes compared to how much the movie gets SO RIGHT. I can't wait to watch it again.

And fuck me, this was just gorgeous to watch. So many great shots on display (the horrific/beautiful corpse growth in the pool and the crystal trees on the beach immediately coming to mind). Between this, BR 2049, Thor: Ragnarok, The Shape of Water, The Last Jedi and others I'm sure I'm forgetting we're kind of getting spoilt in terms of great cinematography as of late and I LOVE IT!
"I mean don't get me wrong fucking the wolf man is impressive but ugh." - Waaaaaaaalt
Reply
Loved it. Loved the beauty the horror the sadness the joy.

Amazing. Which I'd had the chance to see it at the movies but at least zero interuptions at home.
Reply
yeah, I wonder what I would have thought about Solaris if I hadn't already seen Solyaris. in a vacuum Solaris is probably a decent movie but it just paled so much in comparison the original, which is one of my favorite movies.

saw Annihilation again late last night. once again, two other people in the theater. I hope they tell their friends to go watch it, lol!

I don't know if I picked up on too much new (but definitely noticed a fair number of details that hit me more this time, like when they show Cass' body the film specifically shows her throat ripped out--and already I could hear the "heeelp me" in my head) because I had already been thinking about the movie so much and the discussions I've had here and elsewhere with people, but it was nice to actually soak in the movie knowing where it was going, and so getting to appreciate things that I didn't necessarily get into as much on the first viewing. the movie still lands a hell of a visceral wallop with the guts, bear, and ANNIHILATION scenes, but what really stood out to me this time around were the performative/character details. Portman actually is great in this. The film isn't always putting her performance front and center, but she's always contributing some sort of emotional context to the scenes she's in. All the other performances, too, felt better to me this time through, and I liked them the first time. goddamn do I love Ventress' final monologue. so Cronenbergian! and comes with a chillingly beautiful light show after!

as someone who really liked the score, there are a couple great interviews out in regards to it. one focuses in on the four-note alien motif but I can't seem to find that link at the moment. but here's a really good one about the score overall from Rolling Stone:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/featu...re-w517838

I had read in the previous interview (that I can't find now) that they didn't use synths until the end, and I was like "wait a minute, I could've sworn there were some synths..." come to find out in the Rolling Stone interview that that was actually a waterphone. love the part where Geoff is describing it. and really it's just a great interview overall for people who love film music, because Salisbury and Barrow clearly do.

there's a part of the interview, too, where I think Barrow is talking about a film he recently watched that had a synth-heavy score and he felt like the score kind of blew its wad ten minutes into the movie. I really wondered which film he was talking about. from the description, I almost thought maybe Blade Runner 2049? because let's face it, as much as that movie has going for it, Zimmer kind of banged that music out. like, I literally picture Zimmer just banging away at his keyboard.
the empire never ended
Reply
(03-15-2018, 08:01 AM)wasp Wrote: there's a part of the interview, too, where I think Barrow is talking about a film he recently watched that had a synth-heavy score and he felt like the score kind of blew its wad ten minutes into the movie. I really wondered which film he was talking about. from the description, I almost thought maybe Blade Runner 2049? because let's face it, as much as that movie has going for it, Zimmer kind of banged that music out. like, I literally picture Zimmer just banging away at his keyboard.


Thor: Ragnarok maybe?

You are bang on about the performances though. Especially Portman. Watch the scene where Kane comes back to the house. She goes through soooo many emotions in so short a time. She's goddamn miraculous in this.
"I mean don't get me wrong fucking the wolf man is impressive but ugh." - Waaaaaaaalt
Reply
One of the things I appreciate is that, in a lesser movie, our protagonist would probably be innocent, friendly Shepherd. Portman's Lena would be the Carter Burke character, and would probably be portrayed as a bad guy for keeping secrets from the others and for lying to them when she says they have to push on in order to escape.

Thank God we didn't get that movie.

"If I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists" -  The Manic Street Preachers

Steam ID: iammrsaxon / Blizzard ID: MrSaxon#2283 / Xbox ID: MR SAX0N
Reply
ah, here's the link for the interview about the infamous four-note motif:

https://slate.com/culture/2018/02/annihi...alien.html

(03-15-2018, 08:04 AM)Codename Wrote:
(03-15-2018, 08:01 AM)wasp Wrote: there's a part of the interview, too, where I think Barrow is talking about a film he recently watched that had a synth-heavy score and he felt like the score kind of blew its wad ten minutes into the movie. I really wondered which film he was talking about. from the description, I almost thought maybe Blade Runner 2049? because let's face it, as much as that movie has going for it, Zimmer kind of banged that music out. like, I literally picture Zimmer just banging away at his keyboard.


Thor: Ragnarok maybe?

You think so? Maybe it's a movie I haven't seen, but it definitely feels like he's talking about a Zimmer score, lol (and I love Zimmer). I dunno, here's the excerpt from the interview:

Barrow: Another film I recently caught, once they did the big thing 10 minutes in, it was like, "Man, where are you going to go from there?" And to be honest, they didn't go anywhere. By the end of it, the synths were screaming so hard like 'Gaaarrrrrgh' like they were trying to wring something else out of it, because they had already done it in the first 10 minutes of the film.
the empire never ended
Reply
That sound's been playing in my head all day.
"I mean don't get me wrong fucking the wolf man is impressive but ugh." - Waaaaaaaalt
Reply
(03-15-2018, 03:52 AM)Codename Wrote: The team were economically well established and I managed to connect with them each on their own level without any excessive exposition and backstory.

This is why I love Alex Garland. It is, I think, his biggest strength as a writer. He has a way of presenting complex ideas in very economical ways. Where another writer might give each character a moment to tell their story in a long monologue/conversation, Garland cuts the fat out and leaves only the barest amount to convey what he is trying to say. I remember reading an interview with him years ago after I first read The Beach, which is one of my favorite books of all time(it actually helped me appreciate the movie more which I, initially, did not like very much, because Leo), and I remember him saying something about his Dad being a cartoonist and how he taught him how present his ideas in a very clean and concise way.

Interesting as well about the score. I remember when I saw Annihilation I was thinking "Portishead, probably going to be a lot of electronics" and there were none(or at least not prominently featured). There were actually moments when I thought "is there even a score?". It definitely paid off though, as that ending really hits home when the synths actually start playing.
Reply
(03-15-2018, 08:57 AM)wasp Wrote: ah, here's the link for the interview about the infamous four-note motif:

https://slate.com/culture/2018/02/annihi...alien.html

(03-15-2018, 08:04 AM)Codename Wrote:
(03-15-2018, 08:01 AM)wasp Wrote: there's a part of the interview, too, where I think Barrow is talking about a film he recently watched that had a synth-heavy score and he felt like the score kind of blew its wad ten minutes into the movie. I really wondered which film he was talking about. from the description, I almost thought maybe Blade Runner 2049? because let's face it, as much as that movie has going for it, Zimmer kind of banged that music out. like, I literally picture Zimmer just banging away at his keyboard.


Thor: Ragnarok maybe?

You think so? Maybe it's a movie I haven't seen, but it definitely feels like he's talking about a Zimmer score, lol (and I love Zimmer). I dunno, here's the excerpt from the interview:

Barrow: Another film I recently caught, once they did the big thing 10 minutes in, it was like, "Man, where are you going to go from there?" And to be honest, they didn't go anywhere. By the end of it, the synths were screaming so hard like 'Gaaarrrrrgh' like they were trying to wring something else out of it, because they had already done it in the first 10 minutes of the film.

Yeah...I'm actually a big fan of the Ragnarok score but that's totally a criticism I can see someone having with it.
"I mean don't get me wrong fucking the wolf man is impressive but ugh." - Waaaaaaaalt
Reply
Wasp thanks for all the links regarding this great film. Hoping the bluray comes with some nice features.
A
Reply
Indeed. The score and sound mixing on this was perfect.

Usually when watching anything scifi/horror/action at home I'm constantly on the volume taking it up or down so as not to disturb wife or kids.  But I didn't touch it once here.  The attacks were silent, the gunfire subdued.  I loved the simplicity of the score until it got near the end when the weirdness of it ramped up as the movie did.

And, was that a person in a suit matching Portman, or CG? Probably CG augment but again it's simplicity was exquisite.

Been thinking about this film all night. Breathtaking.

Edit: other things that have drifted through my head today.  I take the point about it not mattering f it was Lena who came back, but my take is it wasn't.  The whole film is told from her POV and she could (probably is) an unreliable narrator.  Josie says to her that her aim is to "destroy it" and that's what happens, one of the Lena's does in fact destroy it.

There's also the tattoo.  And the fact that for the second time in the movie Garland uses the shot through a glass of water to show a reversal (initially with Kane when he returns, but then just after the interrogation for Lena).

The best thing about it being on Netflix is I can just sit and frame by frame this sucker.  Probably going to do that right now.

   
Reply
Really glad to see so many people responding positively to this movie. I can easily see this growing into something of a cult classic (if cult classics can still exist in this day and age).

"If I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists" -  The Manic Street Preachers

Steam ID: iammrsaxon / Blizzard ID: MrSaxon#2283 / Xbox ID: MR SAX0N
Reply
(03-15-2018, 08:01 AM)wasp Wrote: I don't know if I picked up on too much new (but definitely noticed a fair number of details that hit me more this time, like when they show Cass' body the film specifically shows her throat ripped out--and already I could hear the "heeelp me" in my head)
oh, whoops, just noticed Codename making this same observation a couple posts above mine!
great movie, great minds! or something like that...
the empire never ended
Reply
I'm a big fan of your work Mr. Garland.

I'm glad Andy mentioned the reflection and the tattoo wrt Lena at the end being changed. I also noticed the Corpse Mould...tree...art...thing had the same tattoo on his arm.
"I mean don't get me wrong fucking the wolf man is impressive but ugh." - Waaaaaaaalt
Reply
(03-15-2018, 01:24 PM)Andy Bain II Wrote: And, was that a person in a suit matching Portman, or CG? Probably CG augment but again it's simplicity was exquisite.


It was actually performed by the other girl from Ex Machina.  I believe she is trained dancer, and that is part of the reason Garland wanted to use her so the final confrontation was more elegant and, well, like a dance between them.

   
Reply
And Sonoya Mizuno makes a small cameo early in the film as one of Portman's students!
Reply
Just wanted to hit a couple of things where I saw something a certain way and no one else in this thread seems to agree.

1. I thought what happened to Josie was more ambiguous. Everyone seems to think she turned into flowers right away. I think it's 50-50 that she could have just run off with a few plants growing out of her skin and made herself at home in the Shimmer. When they're questioning Lena at the start, she says a couple of the others are dead, but for one of them she says she doesn't know what happened. Was that Josie that she was talking about? (Could also have been Dr. Ventress I guess)

2. At the very end of the movie, I saw it as being specifically the hug, the physical contact, that passes something from fake Kane to real Lena and gives her the weird eyes. Although, I guess they do go out of their way to show that Lena's changed even before we see the eye thing happening, with the new tattoo and the glass of water stuff.
Reply
(03-16-2018, 12:08 PM)rage blackouts Wrote: Just wanted to hit a couple of things where I saw something a certain way and no one else in this thread seems to agree.

1. I thought what happened to Josie was more ambiguous. Everyone seems to think she turned into flowers right away. I think it's 50-50 that she could have just run off with a few plants growing out of her skin and made herself at home in the Shimmer. When they're questioning Lena at the start, she says a couple of the others are dead, but for one of them she says she doesn't know what happened.  Was that Josie that she was talking about? (Could also have been Dr. Ventress I guess)

2. At the very end of the movie, I saw it as being specifically the hug, the physical contact, that passes something from fake Kane to real Lena and gives her the weird eyes.  Although, I guess they do go out of their way to show that Lena's changed even before we see the eye thing happening, with the new tattoo and the glass of water stuff.

to your first point, rage, the dialogue goes something like this:

Lomax: "What happened to Josie Radek?"

Lena: "...I don't know."

Lomax: "What about Anya Thorensen? Sheppard?"

Lena: "...Dead."

Lomax: "Ventress?"

Lena: "...   I don't know."
the empire never ended
Reply
Ventress' face at the end is wonderfully creepy at the start of her monologue. That whole bit is stunning.

Spent a very large part of Saturday watching from Lena's entry to and exit from the lighthouse. It's hypnotic.
Reply
if you don't want to know how the sausage gets made, don't read:

https://ascmag.com/articles/annihilation...on-unknown

very in-depth on the cinematography. there's a part towards the end where they detail a specific technical approach they took to shooting the, uh, "dance" scene.

I knew there was something different about how that scene was shot, it was subtly unlike anything I had seen before, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Well, this article explains what they did. Fascinating.
the empire never ended
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)