Annihilation is the film adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's best-selling novel. It was adapted and directed by Alex Garland, who all of us sci-fi fans know from Ex Machina.
The first thing I want to say is that this movie deserves consideration for best adaptation. Much like what Eric Heisserer did with Arrival a couple of years ago, Garland did a great job adapting this for the screen. As a big fan of the book series, I was really curious how he would handle this, and I was impressed. He took an amazing novel that was written in a very specific style, and managed to make a great movie out of it.
This movie has so many strengths, I don't know where to start. Let's go with the cast. We've known for years that Natalie Portman is great, and she continues to show that in this movie. She is convincing as a medical biologist as well as former military. Tessa Thompson shows a very different side from what I've seen before. I'm used to her as the confident, brash character (Westworld, Thor Ragnarok) but she shows a lot of vulnerability in this movie. Jennifer Jason Leigh does a great portrayal of Dr. Ventress (or more specifically the psychologist from the book). To me she was a perfect embodiment of the character I read about in the book series.
Much like Ex Machina the music is a character on its own. The music is sad, and light, and non-existent at times. All of these different elements build the environment beautifully. During the climax of the film, you also get the build up to the overwhelming cacophony that you get in Ex Machina.
You may have heard that the third act of this movie is a bit odd. Well, it is. But if you are a fan of science fiction, you should be able to love it. Although the movie takes some serious twists throughout the third act, the entire movie has built to what you see. Although strange, it works under the rules that have been established.
Unfortunately, a lot of the marketing for this movie was for a horror movie. Although there are some very strong horror elements (there is one scene that blew my mind), the strength is the sci-fi. Unfortunately, this may turn some people off.
As a whole, I loved this movie. This is the kind of movie that every sci-fi fan should see. Not only because it's good, but studios need to receive the message that this type of genre movie needs to keep being made. Although there is plenty of time left in the year, I feel like this will likely end up in my top 10 for the year.
I'm giving this one an A-. Although it's not perfect, it's beautiful, and one of the most amazing adaptations I've ever seen.
Check out how we grade movies: https://www.thefresnerd.com/how-we-rate-movies/
Have you seen Annihilation? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.