Movie of the Month - Annihilation (June 2018)

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I kinda like the timing window of this chat about the film, because I strongly disagree with a lot that's been said but I'm really interested to see these takes pre-podcast release.

I think the podcast might change a few minds.



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currently editing a post...
I'm curious to hear it too. I feel like none of this movie is meant to be literal. Hopefully the pod only deals with the movie and no book references.

I know this was supposedly impossible to adapt to the screen and wonder if this creates some of the issues I see in it.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Have people here read the book? Interesting that it is a 3 book series but the film is only interested in this one and from what I hear, will not continue on.

WARNING: "FOR THE BOOK" spoilers below
In the first book, if I recall correctly. It ends with Lena going into the hole, but we never find out what is down there. This gives Garland basically free reign to tell whatever ending he wants since he shows us not only what is down there, but what happens when she comes back out. The film offers a somewhat more optimistic ending, compared to the everyone is dead and she's in the Shimmer ending of the book. Garland does decide to go for the is she/isn't she a copy ending that might seem obvious, but this change seems a little more in line with what Garland wanted to present within the story.


One of the changes that I like is that we get more background stories for the side characters. Each one has a reason for entering the Shimmer (addiction, loss, depression, etc). Each character looking for something , some kind of meaning in their life. It's interesting to see different aspects of these women's lives lead to their desire to explore this area. While most of this is simply touched upon, it did, at least for me, add depth to what could have been cardboard characters.

I love it when a film is polarizing. People on both sides can voice their opinion. When a film is universally loved or hated, sometimes the discussion can get boring because the same points from everyone is stated over and over. I feel like Annihilation sidesteps that. It helps that when a film is ambiguous in its intentions, presentation and reveal it generates more discussion.

I'm all for this female driven sci/fi mind bender. While the film doesn't really make me rack my brain as much as it wants to, it's definitely enough of a thinker to make it stand above other sci/fi offerings.

The horror elements really work in the film's favour, specifically the humanistic cries of the hybrid bear. Creepy as hell, effective and to me, the most memorable thing in the whole film. Another sequence involves mutilation and discovery.

I'm a fan of the film.
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Suspect's Reviews



Have people here read the book? Interesting that it is a 3 book series but the film is only interested in this one and from what I hear, will not continue on.

WARNING: "FOR THE BOOK" spoilers below
In the first book, if I recall correctly. It ends with Lena going into the hole, but we never find out what is down there. This gives Garland basically free reign to tell whatever ending he wants since he shows us not only what is down there, but what happens when she comes back out. The film offers a somewhat more optimistic ending, compared to the everyone is dead and she's in the Shimmer ending of the book. Garland does decide to go for the is she/isn't she a copy ending that might seem obvious, but this change seems a little more in line with what Garland wanted to present within the story.
Funny that I read the book so little ago but can't remember how it exactly ended but...

WARNING: "FOR THE BOOK(S)" spoilers below
I'm pretty sure that the biologist meets the crawler in the first book so to some degree we do know what's in there. And in my opinion Garland just took his ending from the later books where the biologist (or her clone at least) was back at the Southern Reach. Also everyone is not exactly dead in the books, they're just transformed into something else (and at least partially somewhere else). It's kinda convoluted and never fully explained.


One of the changes that I like is that we get more background stories for the side characters. Each one has a reason for entering the Shimmer (addiction, loss, depression, etc). Each character looking for something , some kind of meaning in their life. It's interesting to see different aspects of these women's lives lead to their desire to explore this area. While most of this is simply touched upon, it did, at least for me, add depth to what could have been cardboard characters.
In many cases I'd tend to agree but it just goes so much against the nature of the books that lack of characterization would actually have been preferred by me.

WARNING: "FOR THE BOOK(S)" spoilers below
In the books the expedition members are stripped of as much personality as possibly, even their names, to give Area X the least amount of data to meddle with. Initially the hypnosis stuff felt really silly to me but it kinda started to make sense later on as a means to turn people from persons to functions.


I love it when a film is polarizing. People on both sides can voice their opinion. When a film is universally loved or hated, sometimes the discussion can get boring because the same points from everyone is stated over and over. I feel like Annihilation sidesteps that. It helps that when a film is ambiguous in its intentions, presentation and reveal it generates more discussion.
This I agree with. Polarizing usually means that the film doesn't try to appeal to everyone, that it has some personality of its own.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Funny that I read the book so little ago but can't remember how it exactly ended but...

WARNING: "FOR THE BOOK(S)" spoilers below
I'm pretty sure that the biologist meets the crawler in the first book so to some degree we do know what's in there. And in my opinion Garland just took his ending from the later books where the biologist (or her clone at least) was back at the Southern Reach. Also everyone is not exactly dead in the books, they're just transformed into something else (and at least partially somewhere else). It's kinda convoluted and never fully explained.
Didn't he finish this before the other books came out? I thought I read that somewhere? I could be wrong.

In many cases I'd tend to agree but it just goes so much against the nature of the books that lack of characterization would actually have been preferred by me.

WARNING: "FOR THE BOOK(S)" spoilers below
In the books the expedition members are stripped of as much personality as possibly, even their names, to give Area X the least amount of data to meddle with. Initially the hypnosis stuff felt really silly to me but it kinda started to make sense later on as a means to turn people from persons to functions.
Remind me again, how do they know that Area X (book) aka The Shimmer (film) duplicates things, or extracts info from people/animals/things. If I recall they have little information about the inside of it so what do you mean by giving Area X the least amount of data to meddle with? I know they are stripped down to their "job title" as identities, but that works better in the written form, as opposed to the film.

I do think they should have stuck with the premise that the whole world knew about it, as opposed to this secret place that no one outside government officials has knowledge of. That part seemed far fetched to me.



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I do hope the podcast can change my opinion here. I've listened to several YouTube reviews, but most gravitate around the same obvious recaps and gush about how grand it was. The tone in that previous sentence isn't necessarily against the movie but the cloned reviews that I kept pulling up.

Right now, I am really stuck wondering if the aim of the movie was quite high, yet it just did not reach that level (IMO), or if it was, as Iro noted the possibility earlier in a reply, pulling too much from source and inspiration material never really finding its own voice in the amalgam. If the former, then good. I generally give leeway to such efforts even if they fail. If the latter, then I don't know what else to allow to judge this movie better. Still though, either way it falls so much in the movie really bothers me. I don't mean in the philosophical sense of interpretation that I think TUS is referring to as a positive when a movie is polarizing. I agree that polarization can be very creative, if intentional. And I also agree that polarization leads to great conversation! Here, though, I don't think I have issue with the concept/philosophy/ambiguity so much as it's the technical application of it all? Some scenes nail it. Others fall short.

Let me be very clear: I love that this movie exists. I love science fiction and I love thoughtful and heady ideas. That this was released in any movie-going climate is a wonderful thing. Regardless, while I can give it high marks for being bold, it still falls apart for me! And for that, I just cannot honor it with the same amount of respect that so many seem to be willing to offer it.

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Didn't he finish this before the other books came out? I thought I read that somewhere? I could be wrong.
I actually don't know. Just assumed that other books were out (didn't they all come within a year).

Remind me again, how do they know that Area X (book) aka The Shimmer (film) duplicates things, or extracts info from people/animals/things. If I recall they have little information about the inside of it so what do you mean by giving Area X the least amount of data to meddle with? I know they are stripped down to their "job title" as identities, but that works better in the written form, as opposed to the film.
In the books there's at least three people who have been in the Area X (the psychologist, one scientist and that one guy from the first expedition whose name I don't remember at the moment), they have tons of samples from the area and quite a few journals so there's lots of information (even videos form the first expedition). Also they know that the text written by the crawler is a sermon written by the old lighthouse keeper. And then there's the terroir theory which seems to be supported by the psychologist / deirector.

I'm pretty sure it was also implied that some of the problems with earlier expeditions (in the books there's also been many more expeditions than in the film) were due to information extracted from the members. Not using names, not sharing any personal information and using hypnosis to implant unconscious orders was a safety measure against the area so there must have been knowledge.

I do think they should have stuck with the premise that the whole world knew about it, as opposed to this secret place that no one outside government officials has knowledge of. That part seemed far fetched to me.
It's pretty much same in the book. There's a cover story about unspecified environmental catastrophe.



And @Slappydavis can you elaborate on which comments you strongly disagree with?
I'll keep it generalized:



Thought the characters were excellent (bored of characters that are just likeable, these characters were actually distinct).
Visuals did a *great* job of dovetailing with premise.
That anything in the film happened without an explanation behind it. Whether or not that explanation was good is a different question, but the film was VERY intentional.
And of course, and I hate that I even have to say this, all complaints about the all-women team (book was all-women, so can we at least drop the tired hollywood agenda claims).

Personally, it probably won't be my favorite film of the year (though one of the scenes is one of my favorite ever), but I think most of my faults with the movie were disagreements, rather than mistakes.

I will agree both that it's bleak and that Arrival is better (but I could say that about literally any film).



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
It's pretty much same in the book. There's a cover story about unspecified environmental catastrophe.
I thought the public knew about the place in the book, no? Damn, I guess I forgot more about the book than I first realized.



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
I'll keep it generalized:



Thought the characters were excellent (bored of characters that are just likeable, these characters were actually distinct).
Visuals did a *great* job of dovetailing with premise.
That anything in the film happened without an explanation behind it. Whether or not that explanation was good is a different question, but the film was VERY intentional.
And of course, and I hate that I even have to say this, all complaints about the all-women team (book was all-women, so can we at least drop the tired hollywood agenda claims).

Personally, it probably won't be my favorite film of the year (though one of the scenes is one of my favorite ever), but I think most of my faults with the movie were disagreements, rather than mistakes.

I will agree both that it's bleak and that Arrival is better (but I could say that about literally any film).
So... Arrival is better than literally any film? ;P
I'm only teasing. Thank you for the reply and I'm still looking forward to the podcast. MAYBE someone can change my mind



I thought the public knew about the place in the book, no? Damn, I guess I forgot more about the book than I first realized.
I'm like 99% sure public didn't know. I'm really worried about my memory if I'm wrong



currently editing a post...
I did some internet sleuthing and it seems a lot of praise stem from, "doesn't explain stuff". That's not a bad thing, but why doesn't every other movie get this benefit of the doubt. Looking forward to what you guys say, because I don't want to say people love it because of Alex Garland and it gets a pass.



The movie certainly has its faults, but the highs far exceed the lows for me. I'm showing my support.

https://www.redbubble.com/people/edg...rid&style=mens

haha, this is one of the cooler shirts I've seen in awhile



I just finished basic editing...right before I have to go out the door. So, should be up in a couple of hours when I get back and finish up the intro/outro/accompanying graphics.



Here it is!

My thanks to @Slappydavis and @bluedeed for their humor and insights, as always. Hope you guys enjoy.


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