[WARNING: This article contains some spoilers from the book on which Annihilation is based, which is not like this movie]
After watching the first teaser trailer for writer/director Alex “Ex-Machina” Garland’s upcoming adaptation of Jeff VandeMeer’s critically acclaimed sci-fi novel Annihilation, I had to know more. So I bought it, and read it in two nights. Man, it is awesome.
The novel is cerebral, it doesn’t hold your hand, and it doesn’t explain shit to you – at least not in the first book as it’s part one of a trilogy. After reading it I was ecstatic that it was being made into a movie. I was even more confident it would rock because of recent reports that after initial test screen audiences found it ‘too cerebral’ producer Scott Rudin would not let anyone change it. This led to a compromise that meant the movie would hit Netflix just a few weeks after launch. Double win! And then I watched this trailer. Go on, have a look.
I honestly don’t know where to start. Firstly let me get this out the way, it looks very pretty, especially the ‘shimmer’. However, after that it pretty much has as much to do with the book as Lord of the Rings does with New Zealand. The story looks like it’s been turned from a science fiction thriller, into a science fiction action Aliens-esque Predator Horror. I understand that directors will take liberties with the source material, but come on, there isn’t one creature they shoot at in the book! Not ONE! There most certainly isn’t a biologist ex-army commando that goes Ripley on the arse of something that looks like it was dug up from storage off the set of Twilight either. This literally looks like it’s been turned into a Predator movie with an all-female cast (the latter of which I have no issue with).
I was so hopeful when they said audiences found it too “too intellectual” and “too complicated”. Hopefully, they will have some of these elements in there too, in among the Rambo hunting parts. I can’t find an excuse, to be honest. If Director Denis Villeneuve can create an intellectual movie like Arrival, also based on a critically acclaimed science fiction book, then why not here? Why do we need this shoe-horned in action? I suppose more bums on seats? Sigh. I truly hope I am as wrong with this as I was with Jumanji, but with so many elements in the 2-minute plus trailer that stand in stark contrast to what made the book special, I doubt it. It is worth remembering that the director only had the first novel to work with, as the latter two hadn’t been written.
Annihilation stars Natalie Portman as The Biologist, Tessa Thompson as The Surveyor, Jennifer Jason Leigh as The Psychologist, Gina Rodriguez as The Anthropologist, Tuva Novotny as the Linguist, and Oscar Isaac as The Biologist’s Husband. Yes, that’s really how the characters are named, or not if you know what I mean.
As an aside, it’s amazing how the fragile egos of men are already screaming ‘why a team of womminz again!? Is this Ghostbusters 2!? Where de men!?” No guys, it’s based on a book that a male author wrote. Deal with it.
Last Updated: December 14, 2017