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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Annihilation 2018 * * Stars

AnnihilationDirector: Alex Garland
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez

With some serious sci-fi mumbo jumbo, a look of sterile beauty, a good use of multidimensional space, and moments that are not for the squeamish, I give you 2018's Annihilation (my latest review). In truth, I think Annihilation is a lot of things as a movie. Sadly, entertaining is not one of them.

Annihilation's story involves four scientists and one paramedic. With machine guns, foot soldier gear, and flawed dispositions in tote, these five women venture into an area called "the shimmer" (if you've seen a Coldplay music video you'll know what I'm talking about). In "the shimmer", they eventually lose their memory, their sense of time, and they encounter nasty mutations of various animals.

Annihilation, which seems to ask more questions than an audience member can answer, feels preachy and contains a swift ending that has the emotional impact of a gnat. The film is frustrating and choppily edited, harboring a loud musical score, trite found footage clips, varied flashbacks, and shoddily acted flash-forwards.

Image result for annihilation movie scenes 2018Annihilation is like Aliens without prototype aliens, John Carpenter's The Thing with an all-female cast, and 2016's Arrival without its characters getting totally mutilated. If I had my druthers, I'd still watch the pics just mentioned as opposed to taking in another viewing of Annihilation.

Anyway, Annihilation's director is London-born, Alex Garland. Although wet behind the ears, he is indeed a visionary and a sort of mimeographed version of David Lynch. His camera is constantly roving with most of his scenes shot from ground level. As for his general direction, well it seems a little more assured than his script. Overall, Garland tries too hard to reinvent the science fiction wheel here. His Annihilation is artsy-fartsy and overwrought, with sumptuous visuals and odious violence that can't compensate for a continuity-free narrative.

Image result for annihilation movie scenes 2018The troupers in Annihilation are comprised of Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Oscar Isaac. Their performances aren't necessarily phoned in mind you. It's just that they come off as blase more than anything else. Annihilation as antiseptic light showiness, may be headache-inducing but it still contains more of a pulse than Natalie, Jennifer, and Oscar can muster. Bottom line: Annihilation the word is defined as a "total defeat". Annihilation the flick? Well it's halfway there. Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson 

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