Annihilation Movie Review: An Insult To Intelligence, Storytelling, And Science Fiction

This was me after watching Annihilation and seeing the credits roll…

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Um…that’s it?

Really?

I waited two hours for this ending..?

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If you love this movie, DO NOT READ FURTHER.

If you hate Spoilers, STOP HERE.

onion-avatar017Annihilation fails on almost every possible level…and you’re probably wondering why.  I know, I’m such a harsh critic.  I actually wanted to love this movie, but there were so many things that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. The visuals were great though, but visuals alone cannot make a movie. The actors were all right and yet I felt they were not developed enough, besides the main character.

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Step closer. A little more. Take one more step to the left.

I did not give a hoot about who lived or died. That’s why I hate this movie so much. I hated all of the female characters and none of them were strong independent women… I’ll go into more details later on. Some of the dialogue was good, some bad… I’ll explain later.

onion-avatar046I had a feeling that the ending would not pay off at all.  Not to mention, there were already theories floating around online from those who had read the book series under the same name.  Never read all the books.  I did attempt to read the first novel and didn’t finish it.  The premise was interesting, but I was so bored with the generic characters that I just stopped reading completely.  Fans say the book was better.  Maybe they were right.

Let’s start with the summary…

A place called Area X is covered in this oil, slick bubble and whoever dares to venture inside this “Area X” never comes back alive.  The military sends out drones, animals, and soldiers to find out what’s inside this mysterious zone that suddenly appeared about three years ago, when a comet hit a lighthouse right by the coast.  If anyone goes into the Shimmer, they never come back again.  The Shimmer expands and swallows entire swamps and villages; it almost has a mind of its own.  There’s bizarre lifeforms and plant life that live in the Shimmer that are unlike anything anyone’s ever seen before.

I mean, it sounds so interesting, doesn’t it?

That’s why I went to go see the film, despite what I felt.  From the look of the trailer, I thought it was another version of Arrival combined with James Cameron’s Avatar.

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This is not an Avatar.

Lena’s husband (Kane) is in the military and he disappears for a year.  She thinks he’s dead in Pakistan and tries to move on with her life, but then her husband appears at the house (in the same clothes – we’ll get to that part later) and she sees a drastic change in him.  He’s not recognizable anymore and he starts to get sick real quick.  Lena calls an ambulance, since Kane is vomiting up blood, and on their way to the hospital, they are chased down by black cars, police, and helicopters.

Lena is arrested and sedated; Kane is taken away to some unknown facility. She wakes up in an orange jumpsuit and we meet Dr. Ventress, who clearly doesn’t want to be in this film… Anyhoo, Dr. V asks questions about Lena’s husband and talks a little about what’s been going on.  Kane is dying from a disease.

Dr. V takes Lena to a military base and we see the Shimmer.  It’s like a giant bubble.  It comes steaming off the ground and surrounds the swamp as if it’s a barrier (or a wall).  Lena is curious about Kane’s past whereabouts and wants to find a cure to save him, since she feels she owes him (we’ll get to that part much much later).

Anyway, Dr. V has her reasons as to why she’s assembling a team to go in with her into the Shimmer. Lena asks to join them, which Dr. V oddly lets her in the group, seeing as she’s a biologist.  What a coincidence!

So Lena, Dr. V, and three others (who I barely know their names) go into the Mist. My bad, the Shimmer.  Once they enter, things begin to unfold and turn out for the worst.  The Shimmer is a paradise: so perfect, so beautiful, and so colorful.  However, it’s more like an illusion, where terrifying creatures lurk just beneath the water’s surface. Initially, I thought it would be a blend of both horror and sci-fi.

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What I got instead was literally no horror and no sci-fi.

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And a bunch of plant people.

Long story short.  We see one albino alligator with shark teeth (a CGI visual of more teeth inside its throat) and the team finds an abandoned military base, where Lena’s husband used to be.  They find a video card and play it on somebody’s camera.  Lena sees a deranged Kane as he cuts open the stomach of a man and we see a giant worm moving around inside.  Only Dr. V knows that’s Lena’s husband, blah blah blah doesn’t want the other girls to know about it or they may not trust Lena, etc etc.

A black bear that looks like a boar with sharp tusks or teeth comes out at night, because the girls were too stupid to stay above, in the high tower… which was a perfect place to stay at night when dangerous creatures are roaming about, especially after encountering an albino alligator with shark teeth.  No, they all had to come down from the tower to find out what that loud growling sound was…

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Blond girl gets eaten by bear/boar thing and becomes the bear/boar thing.  Another girl (who’s Lesbian and Hispanic) turns crazy and betrays the other three, tying them up until bear/boar thing speaks like the dead girl.  It’s always the Lesbian Hispanic girls that turn homicidal.  I don’t know why, but I was not surprised in the least that Butch girl would try to kill them.

Anyway, Butch gets ripped to pieces and dies a horrible death.  Dr. Ventress keeps going on, despite everything, and walks to the lighthouse by herself, which is the stupidest thing ever… She leaves behind shy girl (Josie) and Lena by themselves.  Shy girl turns into a plant human thing, because she can’t take it anymore, and so… Lena’s on her own.

Lena sees the lighthouse and finds skeletons, who have been buried slightly in the sand. Upon opening the door, there’s a burnt skeleton inside and a video camera.  The camera still works after a year (yeah, right), so Lena views the video of Kane burning himself with a flash bomb or something.  Then, we see the clone of Kane appear at the corner, having no freaking clue as to what is going on.  He looks at the camera like “WTF just happened?”

Lena sees a hole in the ground and discovers Dr. V, who’s dying of cancer, inside talking to herself.  Dr. V spews out light and is literally sucked dry of all her DNA; she becomes a beautiful floating blob and that blob takes some of Lena’s blood, making a duplicate of her.  Lena runs away and the duplicate teleports in front of her. That part was not shocking whatsoever.

So Lena ends up dancing with her duplicate in the most pathetic way possible and then passes out like two times.  She finally figures out she needs to set it on fire with a flash bomb.  She finds it in Kane’s bag. So convenient.

Thing 1 gives flash bomb to Thing 2 and Thing 1 runs away while Thing 2 explodes and catches on fire, setting the whole lighthouse ablaze. Everything dies, the Shimmer dies, the glass trees dies, etc etc.

Lena (Thing 2) is back in a glass room, where scientists, dressed in biohazard suits, ask what the creature was.  Lena doesn’t know and they let her go, which is the most moronic thing any scientist would do, and Lena 2 goes to visit her clone husband and he hugs her, thus revealing his eyes and her eyes which glow different colors.

So basically the virus is free and out in the world, because it couldn’t survive outside the Shimmer and that’s the end.

Yeah, greatest movie in the world, right?

Nope.

Everyone is talking about the “Bear Scene,” saying it’s the most horrifying monster to see.

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No, it’s not.

The most horrifying and realistic scenes are in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982 version), not the monstrosity 2011 Thing.  The only time I covered my eyes was during the last ending scene where Lena (Natalie Portman) is looking at her emotionless, dead eyed, cloned husband. He was just that creepy looking.  The camera stays on him for nearly two minutes.  It’s just him staring at her.  I thought he was going to suck her face off.  I was expecting some monster to pop out of his eyeballs and eat her alive.

Sadly, that did not happen.

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It would’ve made a better ending, that’s for sure.

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I hate my life.

I had zero connection to any of the characters, except maybe one.  The shy girl, Josie (the surveyor), I could probably relate somewhat and she was a pacifist, who ended up shooting bear/boar thing until its eyeballs exploded.  When Josie reveals that everything in the Shimmer gets distorted, including radio waves, reality, animals, humans, including DNA it starts to spiral out of control.  So basically, anyone who enters the Shimmer is infected with a virus that takes your DNA and makes you go crazy.

When you’re dying, you create a duplicate of yourself.  Then, that duplicate dies and creates another distorted duplicate (let’s say with Bear DNA) and then that one dies, and another one takes its place with a duplicate that has plant DNA and Alligator DNA.

It’s not explained how this happens or why this happens.

Is it an alien being creating new life?  Is it a virus that infects you?  Is it both?

I mean, pick a damn theme and stick to it.  None of this is ever answered.  No one knows what the hell is going on or why.

Why does some lady’s last dying words “Help Me!” go into a disfigured bear/boar thing? In the movie, they say it’s because it ate her DNA.  You mean it grew vocal cords then?  It works that fast, eh?  So if an albino alligator with shark teeth took off one of my arms, is it going to grow arms right afterwards? That is never explained.

Why do some people turn into plant people while others do not?  Why are plants growing into people, but they never move?  Why does a soldier have a giant, living worm inside his body and stomach?  How the fuck is he still alive after he’s been cut wide open? And why would you put your hand (Lena’s husband Kane did this) inside a man’s stomach to touch this giant fucking worm?

NO SANE AND NORMAL PERSON WOULD DO THIS.

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I wouldn’t touch this even with a six foot pole.

The worm could have teeth and if you’re so worried about catching a virus, buddy, you just failed on all counts of trying to be safe.

Why didn’t you just set him on fire (Kane) and stand far away at a safer distance?  Also, the duplicate of Kane had the same exact clothes as the original Kane.  How did he get the same clothes?  He couldn’t have gone back to the military base, because they would’ve found him.  Not to mention, Kane 2 was actually wearing military clothes (in the last video that Lena saw) when Kane 1 sets himself on fire.

How many Kanes were there? How did Kane 2 survive the forest?  How was he not attacked by albino alligator and bear/boar thing? How come Kane 2 did not mutate into plant human thing or any other thing?

The only good thing about the movie was the soundtrack, but at times it was so loud I thought I’d be deaf from it. Some of the dialogue seemed real and then other times, I thought it was a joke.

How could anyone of these scientists remain so calm after seeing such a hideous albino alligator with shark teeth and a screaming, talking bear/boar thing?

In real life, you would not be this calm.

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Hey, what’s up? My name is Bob.

No one would ever be the same after seeing a giant worm in somebody’s stomach.

I mean, come on.

Seriously.

The pacing of this movie is all over the place. Some parts are extremely boring and if seeing Natalie Portman naked once doesn’t get your attention, they show it to you again, to drive it across that Lena is cheating on her husband.  We saw it the first time.  It’s not shocking the second time.  The movie is beating a dead, albino alligator that happens to have shark teeth.

How many times does this movie have to repeat things?  We get it.  She was unfaithful and that’s why her husband Kane went on a suicide mission.  Why do they have to make it this frustrating?  The audience isn’t stupid.  Do we need to see it again?

The plot holes were everywhere.  I still don’t understand why no one could take a helicopter, fly to the lighthouse, and just shoot the damn thing down.  The film could’ve been cut in half and you wouldn’t have missed anything.  The movie did make me think somewhat about “humanity’s self-destruction.”  Not like we haven’t heard of that a million times before.

I still wonder why I didn’t walk out of that theater sooner… 

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