Author Topic: Annihilation  (Read 1518 times)

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Jeremy Blackman

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Annihilation
« on: October 18, 2017, 12:33:29 AM »
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Written & directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina), adapted from the novel.

Release: February 2018
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KJ

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 01:33:01 PM »
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Well, I'm intrigued. Ex Machina was my probably my favorite film of 2014.

No, I take that back. I checked and 2014 was a fucking great year for film:

https://rateyourmusic.com/films/chart?year=2014v

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 12:30:55 AM »
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This one's a tad spoilery.


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WorldForgot

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2018, 04:11:42 PM »
+1
For the international Xixaxerz watching this on Netflix: See it on a big screen.
That is, the biggest TV you've got, if you can, and not on your mobile.

A tense, humanist sci-fi. Garland, emboldened by the Oscar win, no doubt, manifests spiritual hypotheticals through LSD fractals, practical effect set pieces, a nightmarish sequence of dance, and the most beautiful corpses I've seen since Bryan Fuller's Hannibal. The textures and details within production design here ask you to interact, investigate what growth like this would mean for you. If you can get past the film's exposition, it becomes a sci-fi Tibetan Book of the Dead . Very moving stuff here about how we process our own mental state, and how external environments figure into all moods. 

samsong

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2018, 02:12:10 PM »
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wasn't a fan of ex machina.  way more into this one, but not without reservations.  it plays like a commercially-minded under the skin.  also heartening to see a hollywood movie evoke stalker in a thoughtful way. 

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2018, 12:01:12 AM »
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Actually agree with samsong that this was more commercial-minded than I expected. It was actually also weirder than I expected. And so intensely beautiful. (Still deciding, but I think I loved it.)


EXTREME SPOILERS

Stop reading. I'm going to jump right into my interpretation. Want to get this down before I read anything.

Remember Nat-Po made a pretty big deal at the end about this power being neutral. It didn't "want" anything. It was just there to be used. In other words, it's all about that meteorite that hit the lighthouse, which created the shimmer.

I'm currently thinking of it like this. The shimmer was given to us as a gift. A creative space. An opportunity to transform our world, perhaps. This is what was meant by refraction (which was overexplained, but oh well). It's a computer program in the same way biology is. Information in, results out. Everyone who enters the shimmer has the opportunity to provide inputs. Those ideas and feelings will be output in very real ways through quickly mutating cell reproduction.

Remember they made a point of telling us that all the groups that had gone in before were soldiers. That fed the shimmer a particular type of input, which could have created a lot of the nightmarish scenarios and environments. For example, I think the fact that the soldiers created a night patrol caused threats to manifest at night. The new group saw that and went with the idea, so they likewise faced threats every night. It's equally important that the new group, though not soldiers, were "damaged goods" in various ways and fed negativity into the shimmer.

That metallic creature at the end was not really an alien life form. It was created by Jennifer Jason Leigh — and literally composed of her substance, I think. Nat-Po continued the process of creating her double out of that lifeform. Oscar Isaac likely created his double in the same way. They each chose a different path. In other words, his double was not created by a malevolent alien force. Humans are doing the creating here.

I would love to know what the very first inputs were. That might have defined how the shimmer behaved, or even its very nature.
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Gold Trumpet

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 12:20:30 AM »
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It's very good. Not great. I wonder if the special effects will get dated quick though.

Spoilers

Yes, Jennifer Jason Leigh created the substance that allowed Natalie Portman's alien double to be created. The funny thing is that the mission was to destroy the expansion of the shimmer. Portman destroying it fulfilled what the government wanted but it seems she likely did it for sake of self preservation. If she goes back just alive and the shimmer still exists, another team goes in (knowing what she knows) and they discover what she found out so the government makes her into an experiment because they will know Portman isn't really human anymore. Like the alien coming back to pretend to be Oscar Isaac and just trying to blend in (however badly the attempt is), so is Portman. In most films, aliens thrive with alien society also thriving, but in this film, the opposite is true.

I don't think the film needed to spell out all the characters were damaged goods. I imagine that was detail more warranted in the book but the film could have just shown in little ways how each character had issues. The full explanation during one scene was unnecessary. The other thing is that it seems a lot of characters died in other ways the film didn't have time to go into. The girls see carnage in many ways and just marvel at the grotesque sights. I'm sure the book again was more provoking in characterizing possibly why. Some characters died by giving into natural elements of the shimmer and found peaceful ways and some died in more standard ways of just fending off the new creatures created.

I did like the Stalker element and the film's best asset is its unpredictability. It's worst element is the genre affair that made it feel too conventionally horror film-esque often. But I also feel like this film could grow with me too. Or very much go the opposite direction. Just glad I saw it in theaters first time.

WorldForgot

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 10:57:16 AM »
+1

EXTREME SPOILERS

Remember they made a point of telling us that all the groups that had gone in before were soldiers. That fed the shimmer a particular type of input, which could have created a lot of the nightmarish scenarios and environments. For example, I think the fact that the soldiers created a night patrol caused threats to manifest at night. The new group saw that and went with the idea, so they likewise faced threats every night. It's equally important that the new group, though not soldiers, were "damaged goods" in various ways and fed negativity into the shimmer.

SPOILERS
Totally felt this interp while watching it, and also that the environments were coded enough to warrant inspection of the environments as more than setting. (river entry, mess hall, a demolished suburb, lighthouse

samsong

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 07:50:58 PM »
+1

I did like the Stalker element and the film's best asset is its unpredictability. It's worst element is the genre affair that made it feel too conventionally horror film-esque often. But I also feel like this film could grow with me too. Or very much go the opposite direction. Just glad I saw it in theaters first time.

pretty much sums it up for me.  in somewhat of a limbo as to exactly how i feel about this movie, but that's already to its credit.  i do appreciate how fucking weird it is for ostensibly being for the masses.  garland's penchant for thematic overstatement and ambitions that end up being mutually exclusive -- i don't think he's successfully merged his genre revisionism and lofty pop philosophizing--isn't as egregious as in ex machina but it still deflates some of the mystery and breaks the spell in this one... for how wondrously expressive and beguiling as the climactic bits are, the ending's another eye-roller.  i get the sense that he's a talented craftsman who doesn't fully trust the medium.  definitely a writer first.  but the dude's got chops, and i think he's got great work in him. 

csage97

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 01:24:20 AM »
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Saw it over the weekend. On the whole, I quite enjoyed it and rate it highly. There were a few elements that I didn't like: The commercial feel to a lot of the narrative exposition; too much screentime and predictability in the trope of the person who disagrees with things and goes nuts, backlashes against the team, and holds them hostage and tries to kill them; the decision to adhere to much of the horror genre. On the one hand, the film embraces philosophical exploration and intrigues with bits of ambiguity and thematic complexity; at other times, it defeats itself with a lack of sophistication. In other words, it's inventive and creative at times, but then clunky and near-eyerollingly prescriptive. All in all, though, the prescriptive elements were few and far between enough, and they didn't stand a chance at totally bringing down what made the film interesting and highly intense with some great unsettling moments.

A few other bits to add:
-The music and sound design during the alien mirroring sequence were stellar and blew me away.
-The ending sequence, and most of the movie for that matter, was great on the big screen. If you have a chance to see it in the theatre, do it.
-A big part of what makes this movie have a good rating in my books is that it was both entertaining and highly thought-provoking. I didn't walk away bored with the movie, and I want to talk about it afterwards; these things make me forgive what I consider the annoying or bad aspects from the film. Is it a masterpiece or a major artistic achievement? Nah, but it was engaging (except the parts I mentioned I got annoyed with), stirred up emotion, and it's got me thinking about evolution, change, philosophical ideas about the self and impermanence, and how organisms affect and interact with each other. So, all in all, good in my books.

jenkins

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 03:53:23 PM »
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i'm not the only one who hasn't started the Alex Gardland thread yet, mmmkay. i'm hijacking this thread related to my personal favorite Garland achievement:

EXC: KARL URBAN SAYS ALEX GARLAND DIRECTED DREDD & UPDATES ON REPRISING ROLE

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A huge part of the success of DREDD is in fact due to Alex Garland and what a lot of people don’t realize is that Alex Garland actually directed that movie.

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I just hope when people think of Alex Garland’s filmography that DREDD is the first film that he made before Ex Machina. You think about it in those terms; it goes DREDD, EX MACHINA, ANNIHILATION.

 

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