Top Surprise of 2018: Annihilation
Seeing the trailers for Annihilation back in 2017, it just didnt appeal to me. I kept thinking “Visually, this looks great. But something isnt sitting right.” Even researching an old chat thread with Kai, I found myself condescendingly calling it “The Ellen Ripley Five”. I would even decide I was gonna sit this one out. Paramount was also feeling the same way as it would change its international distribution plan and drop this on Netflix in almost every market but a few. Including China, who depending on the way the wind blow are either into supernatural films or theyre not. China fully embraced this and it would actually become a blockbuster over there whereas back home in the states here this would debut in 4th place, behind Peter Rabbit, Game Night and Black Panther.
I would finally resign to going to the Cinemark downtown and making this Moviepass movie #39 after seeing a flood of Youtube films praising the film. It makes sense why they liked it. It also makes sense why its so good. Alex Garland adapted this from a novel and directed this. If that name sounds familiar, he also wrote 28 Days Later as well as Write/Direct the critically acclaimed Ex Machina. Disclaimer, Ive never seen Ex Machina, but understand its appreciated in many circles.
This is a great movie. Ive only seen it once and I haven't made any attempts to rent or purchase it as, for me, this was a gallery of amazing visuals that wont look the same on my average HD flat screen. As you can imagine, debuting in 4th place gets a dramatically shorter theater run, so Im glad I saw it when I did.
It has drama, it has action, it has a cast of characters you dont know 100% about but youre invested in them anyway because they are so well written. You feel their confusion. You feel their terror. Suspense surrounds the perimeter of this movie the entire 1 hour 55 min runtime which doesnt feel long. From Natalie Portmans opening line of “I dont know” you want to understand what and why she doesnt “know”.
To say its too smart for the audience is kind of belittling them. Well not all the audience anyway. Part of the problem for this movie, not necessarily with this movie, is that it is a slow burn. It doesnt just explain everything to you. It lets you guess with the characters we are following as to what is going on.
Annihilation is a beautiful movie, thats well written and should have been seen and appreciated on a big screen. Had I reviewed it back in February, Id have given it Four out of Six Blueberries.