Annihilation ★★½

One of the biggest disappointments of 2018 is Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” based on the book of the same name. Natalie Portman plays Lena who goes on an expedition into The Shimmer, a spreading entity which could start encompassing states, if not the whole of the U.S. and beyond if not stopped. Lena’s husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) went in to the Shimmer on a covert mission only to be the one of his crew to come back. Let’s just say Kane’s not right upon return. Lena goes in to The Shimmer with a team of her own to search for answers such as what happened to her husband and why doesn’t anyone return. The most frustrating thing about “Annihilation” is you know where the film is headed after the first five minutes. The trailer promised wonders in The Shimmer but almost everything good about the film is in the trailer. Moments that are teased in the film as part of what you think is the film’s set up come from the end. I know there’s an argument about film fans about weather to watch or avoid trailers. I generally like to them, I want to know briefly what the film is about. I want to know what is headed to theaters and have some knowledge about the upcoming film but in the case of “Annihilation” they give away too much and at the end of all places. So blame marketing but also blame the story itself for being mostly set up with little payoff (not to mention typical and predictable of all things). There’s also times I felt this dragged. I know there’s a high RT score but I don’t mind being the minority. I loved  Director Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” but “Annihilation” left me cold. Points for score, good performances, and special effects though.

Edited 2/25/18 to add: After seeing the high RT score and seeing in the synopses the talk about the mysteries of the film I thought about giving it a second chance thinking I missed something. However I have read a series of articles on the “mysteries” and the timeline and despite how mysterious others have found this movie I was unimpressed by the ideas put forth in the articles. I wanted and hoped for mystery, the trailers even promised mysteries, but ultimately the film did not deliver. It seems like I have seen this sort of thing before and again the final scene was telegraphed from the start. I wanted more from this relatively straightforward film. I do not care to revisit this film because it’s ultimately filled with things seen before in sci-fi films.

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