Supported by magnificent visuals and bold themes, Annihilation carries puzzles that continue to haunt even after the film is over. The following review is spoiler-free.
A meteor fell right above the lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. The colorful dome surrounds the location of the meteor fall. Over time, the dome enlarged. Many times the expedition team was launched, from military personnel, animals to unmanned aircraft, none of whom returned.
Five female researchers deployed to uncover the mystery of the forbidden area named The Shimmer. They are Lena (Natalie Portman), a biologist; Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), psychologist; Anya (Gina Rodriguez), paramedic; Josie Radek (Tessa Thompson), physicist; and Cass Sheppard (Tuva Novotny), geologist.
In the expedition to uncover the mystery of The Shimmer, they discovered horrific irregularities beyond common sense, even though their views as scientists.
This annihilation leaves a long and tiring journey before we can watch it now. Being the science-fiction film the most eagerly awaited by both connoisseurs and lovers of science-fiction, Annihilation actually not planned to air on Netflix starting March 12 yesterday.
Annihilation was previously shaded by the Paramount studio, which will distribute it to be screened in cinemas around the world. Unfortunately, the screening test results are poor, so Paramount is canceled from showing it worldwide by leaving only American and Chinese cinemas. According to Paramount, Annihilation was “too smart for ordinary people to digest,” then they sold their distribution rights to Netflix.
Paramount traumatized gambling with high-risk films after their film last year, mother! (Darren Aronofsky) beats in the market. Their decision to cancel showing Annihilation in international theaters was actually not wrong. Since being released in America from February 23 until March 14 yesterday, Annihilation was only able to reach $ 27 million in revenue, still far below his budget of $ 40 million.
Watching it at home through a television screen or cellphone is actually not a problem, especially Annihilation is fun watching in a private place while enjoying the atmosphere and background music that is atmospheric. However, director Alex Garland said the film was created to be watched on the big screen. And he is right.
Beautiful Visuals and Courageous Themes
Alex Garland is not new to the world of science-fiction. He has been known through films such as 21 Days Later … (2002) and Dredd (2012). His last film before Annihilation was a futuristic themed film with robots and artificial intelligence, Ex Machina (2014). Ex Machina was successful both commercially and critically rated by winning the Best Visual Effects category and was nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category.
Repeating his skills in directing films, Alex Garland made Annihilation, a film about a restricted area adapted from a novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer.
Visual Annihilation is like in a dream with background music that is like a haunt. It was created to be atmospheric as if it brought the viewer to feel what it was like to travel in a restricted area filled with odd things.
The forbidden area called The Shimmer actually looks like a normal forest and swamp, but the light that bounces like sunlight there is colorful, making it look like a psychedelic work of art. The characters in it are like hallucinating. They see a variety of anomalies, such as various types of flowers on the same stem to a crocodile that has sharks’ teeth.
Garland packed Annihilation as a thriller. It is filled with beautiful images, let alone supported by excellent cinematography and production designs. Even so, there are unpleasant sensations that always arise, as if creating a situation where terror can arise anytime and anywhere.
Annihilation carries the concept of high-level science fiction about the basic things that make up living things: cells and their relation to genetics and the tendency of living things to self-destruct.
The complicated science-fiction concept is then also supported by the role of the actors and actresses. Oscar Isaac, who played Lena’s husband, was able to bring a somber mood, just as good as he had been in the previous Garland film, Ex Machina. The acting quality of the researchers is also convincing, especially Jennifer Jason Leigh as a psychologist Dr. Ventress the sociopath and Tessa Thompson as the depressive physicist Josie Rodek.
Meanwhile, of all the actors and actresses mentioned above, no one can beat how dominant Natalie Portman is as Lena. On the one hand, she is a female research hero, while on the other hand, she is fragile when confronted with her husband. All that Portman managed to do while maintaining his mysterious and enigmatic characteristics.
Garland makes Annihilation move slowly from one scene to another, while trying to hide what is and will happen. It seems boring at first to some people, especially the dialogues that sound annoying because they try to look mysterious.
Even so, the advantage of what Annihilation has to offer lies in the final third of the film. Everything that might have seemed boring at the beginning seemed to pay off in those last frightening 30 minutes.
There is no intention to answer
Annihilation does seem blurry to many people. He is not interested in answering the questions that have arisen. Not only is she not interested, but she also doesn’t even have the intention to give an answer. Unlike the blockbuster science-fiction films that are trapped in a vivid explanation, Annihilation instead forces viewers to pay attention and feel scene after scene. The main message is not conveyed through the surface, but through subtle ways behind it.
Plots, themes, and attitudes like that make Annihilation stand tall among other science-fiction films. Alex Garland made something brave, especially with this film production scale as big as Annihilation. It is not easily digested like blockbuster films, but it is also too big to be called an arthouse film. His courage was tested through the failure of his screened-in international theaters and the weakness of the box office. Even so, Garland and Annihilation deserve to be remembered because he spoke something big and ambitious.
Annihilation on the surface is a science-fiction film about genetic disorder on an absurd level. But deeper, he talks about the basic nature of living things: about cells and our nature, which is always self-destructive.
Humans like to damage themselves, for example, smoking and staying up all night long. We as humans know that smoking is dangerous, but people still do it. Not only prisoners, people who feel they have lived well and are happy often do the same thing. Why do we tend to self-destruct, even when life is perfect? It is the same as a cell; our bodies gradually become more and more dead, from birth to enter the grave, and that is indeed natural.
Annihilation actually speaks more than self-destruct. However, these things are purely an interpretation of the audience. Many things we don’t know about Annihilation but doesn’t fear come from something we don’t know?
Because of the lack of explanation of what happened was added to the film that did not intend to answer it makes Annihilation not a consumption of all people. He may be easily liked by science-fiction lovers, puzzle enthusiasts, and conspiracy theorists. Although not everyone will like it, this Annihilation is a pity to miss, because its confusing viewing experience and puzzles will make the audience stunned even when the film is over.