Annihilation - New movie from writer/director of Ex Machina, starring Natalie Portman

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JD, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Annihilation is the next movie from Alex Garland, the writer/director of Ex Machina, and writer of Dredd, it is based on the Nebula Award winning novel of the same name.

    Cast:
    I can't find a description of the movie, so here's the blurb for the novel of off Amazon:
    Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
    The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
    They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

    Trailer:


    I'm really looking forward to this, I loved Ex Machina and Dredd, and I've heard a lot of good things about the book. The trailer is definitely very intriguing.
     
  2. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    I've been looking forward to this film for awhile now (at least since Garland's involvement and reading about the basic idea of the film).

    Good to see we finally have a trailer. Looks brilliant.
     
  3. Ridcully

    Ridcully Commodore Commodore

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    It looks very intriguing indeed!
     
  4. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    New trailer came out today.

    Apparently people at the test screenings have complained that it is to complicated and cerebral, for me that is a good sign.
     
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  5. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Yeah, although that has unfortunately resulted in a big fight between director Alex Garland and Paramount about the final cut of the film, which ended with the film only getting a theatrical release in the United States and Netflix distribution internationally.

    The above trailer is no doubt a direct result of that fight considering how mainstream the film suddenly feels. I have no doubt that it'll be as cerebral as the first teaser and the premise of the story appears, but that trailer doesn't do it any justice.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Ex Machina was terrific and smart, and I have been interested to see what Garland did next. Except one thing I liked about EM was how plausible and hard-SF it was, whereas this looks more fanciful.
     
  7. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I haven't read this trilogy yet, but I've loved the other Vandermeer books I've read. Not what you'd call hard SF by any stretch, though.
     
  8. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Take it sleazy Moderator

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    It’s more weird fiction than anything else.
     
  9. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I saw the trailer when I saw The Last Jedi today. It looks good. I loved Ex-Machina so I'm looking forward to this.
     
  10. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    The Area X trilogy is amazing. Skyrocketed up my list of favorite books. I am stoked for this film while also bracing myself for it to do the series no justice.
     
  11. Caretaker

    Caretaker Commodore Premium Member

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    Here is an article at The Atlantic about the fight and Paramount's decisions.
     
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  12. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Thanks for that article. It's a great read and gives a bigger sense the whys and hows.

    Thank the gods, Scott Rudin sided with Alex Garland and the final product isn't effected. But this is just yet another example of how Paramount is out of touch with viewers and care more about the profits than any form of creativity. Granted, that describes a lot of studios, but there's certainly room for both but Paramount doesn't seem to care.
     
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  13. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I went to see it today and enjoyed it overall.
     
  14. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    I saw it on Friday and I loved it. The film is profoundly strange, cerebrally engaging, and deeply imaginative. Despite the minor horror trappings, it's a breath-taking science-fiction story that's so rarely seen in today's cinema, ranking with recent releases like Arrival and Alex Garland's own Ex Machina.
     
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  15. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How strong are the horror elements? My mom is the only person I have to see movies with, and she absolutely hates horror movies. I might go see it by myself, but I'd much prefer to have company.
     
  16. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    I'm not a fan of modern-day horror films that rely on gore for shock value, but thankfully the film doesn't really stray into that territory. The most horrific elements is one character getting de-jawed just before dying. The creature you briefly see in the trailers in the large extent of the horror (as well as one very twisted aspect of the creature) and it only occupies about 10-15% of the film.

    Oh, and there's some weirdness involving cutting up someone's stomach while they're alive as seen through found footage.
     
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  17. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    Agreed. Both of those sequences, while not the cup of tea of someone who isn't fond of horror, are pretty short and don't take away from the larger story. The scenes with the mutant bear thing are the right amount of scary to fit in with the tone of that portion. Overall, I think the film does a good job of making the Shimmer seem genuinely weird without going too overboard on the creepy/surreal elements. It's an important balance.
     
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  18. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Take it sleazy Moderator

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    I loved it, but it was practically made for me. I love weird stuff.
     
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  19. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    Some people have criticized Natalie Portman's performance, but I think she did fine personally. It's been interesting reading the audience reviews on RT. There was also some controversy over the decision to cast Natalie in the role, due to the character being described as Asian in the second book. By his own account, however, Alex Garland was only familiar with the manuscript of the first book when he started working on a film adaptation. The other two books weren't in print yet.

    It would have been rather interesting if one of the book elements had been kept:

    The 12th team that enters (the one seen in the film) have been hypnotically conditioned by the Ventress character as one means of controlling the amount of information found in Area X. The Lena character gains an unexpected immunity to the conditioning in the Shimmer after being exposed to some of the altered plant life, and this means a suicide command ("annihilation") is also disabled.

     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  20. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    aka The Ventress Sisters?

    I went and checked this out tonight in a small audience and half or more still walked out before it was done so the Netflix move might have been wise. It's remarkable that movies like this do get made because I don't know how anyone could have expected big returns on this one, it's not exactly what I'd consider "commercial". That said, it reminds me of The Arrival which did better than I would've thought at the box office.

    I went in almost completely blind, I actually thought they were on another world going in. The plot wasn't maybe the deepest but it's all about the execution. They really did a good job on making a tense, dangerous atmosphere and the damaged people exploring it. Lots of moments where you might find yourself unconsciously sitting on your hands.

    I am curious to check out the books at some point though.

    The elements about change, truth and acceptance seem like they'd be up your alley.