[Alternatives] – Movie Review – Annihilation (2018)

Alternatives is the tagline to discuss entertainment outside of literature. It may encompass television, movies, games, and music.

Movie Review –
Annihilation (2018)

Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror
Duration: 115 Minutes
Directed By: Alex Garland

Starring: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.


This film hurt my head.

And I suppose that’s a good thing. Which isn’t to say that it was confusing but rather this story’s a thinker (it was knee-jerk confusing but once mellow it was alright).

Directed by Alex Garland, who helmed Ex-Machina, Annihilation follows a group of STEM-related professionals entering a visually stunning ethereal haze of land (“the Shimmer”) caused by a recent comet. This unnatural area is  place where strange occurrences confound researchers. A place where those who enter don’t exit. A place where Lena, played by Natalie Portman, can uncover answers to the fate of her husband; the only person who has returned from the shimmering Area X.

Annihilation is one of those science fiction films that get you talking, and from that angle, you should see it with someone because the discourse that comes out of it is a wonderful thing.

And with discourse comes varying interpretations of what Annihilation is about. While I can’t say I have all the answers, my thoughts are that Annihilation, at its core, is a film about identity and the plight of self-discovery. It engages with the destructive nature in our lives — the doubt, guilt and pain…whatever it takes form as — to the extent that we become consumed by these afflictions which manifests, grows, and which ultimately annihilates us wholly and truly, if we let it. And all of this is seen through a speculative science fiction lens; the type of film that gets you thinking — the type of film that hurts your head.

Also last thoughts: the colours in this film were beautiful. That’s all I got.


I haven’t seen much of Natalie Portman, but I thought she was pretty good. And I guess you can’t go wrong with the Isaac. I honestly don’t have much to criticize here because I thought the performances sold the story very well.


Have you seen Annihilation? Will you see it? Have you read the book?


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16 thoughts on “[Alternatives] – Movie Review – Annihilation (2018)”

    1. I love that this film has staying power (even if it’s the form of people thinking about it 🤔😂). I was hoping I’d be able to watch Annihilation and be able to knock this story off my TBR but I’ve heard it’s a departure which makes me more curious as to what’s in book 2 and 3.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’ve wanted to start doing some film/tv type reviews as a way of encouraging me to do something outside of only reading all the time :’)

    Annihilation was one of the ones that I’d really wanted to watch but never made time for, so I forced myself to make time for it last week and I looooovveeed it. I haven’t been enjoying many Natalie Portman films recently but thought she was excellent in this and I LOVED the other women in her crew. The story was so interesting, creepy A.F, and, as you said, really made me think about what the story was about/what was happening/what all this weird stuff is really about.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You should do it up! Write all the reviews for all the things! (I particularly find them way less stressful to so because I’m way less of a critic for film versus books). Glad to hear this one was a thinker for you as well! The floating glowy thing tho…..🤷🏻‍♂️

      It’s odd that I could even appreciate the team leader with few words and a monotone voice 😂.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This film also hurt my head. I read the synopsis of the book, and my headache intensified. It was entertaining to say the least, but so-so in the story department. But I do love Alex Garland (Ex Machina) though, and I can see a lot of his isms in this movie.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s certainly one to repeat watch, if not only for those pretty, nightmarish visuals. I feel grateful that it made my head hurt a little, so much so that I haven’t managed to get round to writing a review. I think I’ll save my thoughts until after the second viewing. Nice little write up, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Gareth!

      For wildness, I was pretty surprised (but so on board) with the talking bear scene. Probably a blip of suspension needed for Rodriguez character to be the plot shield but still glad that scene happened. And the visuals in the pool. Yikes.

      I saw thus in the theatre when it had its run here bedore showing up on Netflix but this definitely needs a second viewing for the nuances which I’m sure are there.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I just watched it this weekend. I found it incredible and I keep thinking about it. For me it has a bit of a Plato’s the cave feel in that this is all ultimately a reflection/shadows (or in the movie’s case a refraction) of life on the wall, we can’t know/see what’s actually real. It also felt a little bit like Apocalypse Now/Heart of Darkness, the deeper you go the more you discover about yourself and the darkness inside you. That’s what I love about movies and books like this. I like ones that are open to thought and interpretation. I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. I’m not usually into movies where people traipse around the jungle with machine guns. But I ended up enjoying it very much! Thanks for reviewing and sharing your perspective. Very interesting!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a great interpretation!

      I’m only briefly familiar with Plato’s Allegory (Thanks Grade 11 Philosophy!) But I can imagine how that would play out. I just might have to look up these other films you’ve mentioned. I’m kind of glad this film didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I didn’t watch the trailer but only read the synopsis briefly and maybe that added an element of surprise as to how everything was received for me.

      Thanks for your recs and sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 2 people

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