Annihilation ★★½

Many who know me will also know that I usually tend to really enjoy high-concept sci-fi movies. Interstellar, Blade Runner 2049, Edge of Tomorrow, Inception, Looper, ARRIVAL? Totally up my alley. Granted, we're not talking PRIMER levels of complicated, but still pretty rich in subtext and delightful science-fiction minutia. So, one would think this movie should be able to join the ranks of those other films and fit right in. Unfortunately, it's not so.

I went into Annihilation with no expectations (I watched the teaser trailer maybe once?) but yet still found myself consistently let down. I wanted to love it far more than I was actually able to. This is one of those films with an insanely complex, high-concept, supposedly thought-provoking premise...that ends up being just more of the same nonsense we've seen before - almost, dare I say, like The Cloverfield Paradox. The slow pacing works at times in that dreamlike sort-of-way, but at others, it feels like a very simple premise that's being stretched out into an unbelievably arduous slog with twists and turns that one could see coming a mile away. Could have been a mind-blowing short film, but ends up being nothing more than a tiresome drudge when lengthened to 2 hours.

There is some definite merit, don't get me wrong. The effects/visuals are tremendous, the sound design and music are chilling and intoxicating, and the sheer premise in the first place is shockingly complex to the point where it's a surefire feat that this even got made in the first place. But unfortunately, despite all of the technical grandeur and extravagant ideas, Annihilation didn't make me feel anything. Not fear, not sadness, not empathy, not joy, not even - in all honesty - all that much intrigue. Every moment that should be beautiful or sacred is overshadowed by the depressingly sterile world the film constructs, and every scene that should be tense or terrifying is nothing but predictable, and at times eye-rolling. It's static, it's self-important, and even the talented cast are rendered flat and unengaging before each of their time is up.

Some will adore this, and that's cool. But I found it consistently tedious and uninvolved.

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