Annihilation (2018) Review


Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman in a scene from director Alex Garland's 'Annihilation.'
Hungry Crocos


I was sadly one of the people who had to watch this film on Netflix a week after its initial theatrical run in North America because Paramount didn’t have enough guts to put it out in theatres to the world because of a mixed early audience screening reactions. Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in Europe because of reasons like this. That and when the exportation takes forever. 2017 was a terrible year for Paramount at the box office which is why they no longer want to take risks and now want to play it safe. This was the second movie they sold to Netflix instead of putting it out in theatres. Not good.

So the movie is about an ex-military, now biologist woman named Lena (Natalie Portman) who finds herself determined to enter an area called “the Shimmer” where an unidentified alien object has crash landed after her husband (Oscar Isaac) comes back from it in a critical state. There, she goes with a crew to investigate, find out what is really happening and why it’s spreading.


A scene from the teaser trailer for 'Annihilation' showing the mysterious boundary line of Area X.
Van Gough would have been proud!

For one I have to applaud Alex Garland for adapting a story very difficult to execute. I heard many speak of the book highly and cautious when it came to the movie. The structure of the film builds up slowly to the climax, but surely. The expedition consisted of an all-female cast, all surprisingly didn’t act like a bunch of male-wannabes which is another noteworthy trait a lot of modern movies do not possess. When we finally reach the climax a lot of stuff happens (to say the least) that pleases my inner sci-fi junky although the long journey there would have been more appreciated if there was a bit more to it. Going out of this film, I had an appetite for something even more trippy, worthy of the 2-hour sit however what I got was satisfying enough. One area where I have to heavily criticise the movie is its poor CGI which at times looked awful. Some of the even less “real world creatures” looked too fake and computer generated for anyone’s eyes.

A shame the director was so disrespected because this movie had so many chances to gain back its profit in a worldwide run. Other than the jarring visual effects and a story leaving something to crave for Annihilation is a worthy film. Probably won’t be remembered for generations to come, nonetheless appreciated now.


Sheesh! Lately, a lot of movies have been gaining this score from me, but what can you do?

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