Author Topic: Annihilation  (Read 1760 times)

Bondo

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2018, 11:36:20 PM »
I don't know that the film as a whole is rising in my esteem because I'm still not sure how well the film actually carries the self-destruction theme but I have been thinking more about it. I imagine the distortions in the Shimmer ultimately represent the way our mental illness can bend our perception of reality, setting the table for our self-destruction. Certainly resonates for me having sometimes experienced those little voices in your head that basically go "A is going badly so sabotage B so that everything is going badly and you can commit fully to failure." Or maybe that's just me.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2018, 08:12:48 AM »
This and many other tactical decisions were really ridiculous. If these were just normal people in this situation it'd be easier to suspend disbelief, but this is a military operation and their plan is to go straight in to the end, instead of a series of increasingly deeper missions, reporting back their findings each time. Maybe in the first expedition but after that you'd expect a more cautious reconnaissance approach.

I still enjoyed the movie visually and thematically, it was good enough to put aside my issues most of the time and enjoy the building tension and the puzzle pieces sort of coming together and the ideas about destruction and preservation and identity.

It seems prosaic to complain about this in the face of the movies' larger themes once they become evident, but I cannot get over these problems. PA put it perfectly: every tactical decision in the movie is absurd to verge on the pathologically stupid. The first expedition should have been a 10 minute exploration with a drone and the military would then have escalated its reconnaissance progressively. It seems so obvious to me that Garland's all or nothing approach boggles my mind. That's before we even get to the idea of a scientist only expedition into hostile territory or the fact that there seems to be no chain of command between the women.

I was very excited by the film right up until the scene where they watch the footage left behind by the earlier crew. While I can understand the paramedic being in shock and denial and insisting what they saw was "a trick of the light", it doesn't work for the movie that nobody called her on her obvious BS excuse. Nobody at any time could get over their shock and look at the footage again to prove they saw what they really saw. They let themselves get shouted down and the smart sci-fi film gets an immediate case of the dumb. It's not even a point that ultimately changes their mission, but the terrible way the scene is handled deflated me. Like it was a cheating lover, I switched from being trusting to being suspicious and doubtful.

I really bothered me that the EMT was the one to lose her cool. She should be the best prepared one to deal with trauma and gore, bar perhaps Portman, and she goes apeshit.  The fact that no one put her in her place showed how unprepared for this mission they all were.



This is all before I even start talking about the real interesting stuff about the movie. I don't even know where to begin to grapple with it.

One thing though. I can accept the whole refraction thing, even when it comes to DNA and biology, but on the beach there are trees that get duplicated into crystal versions of themselves, and that bothered me, because how are minerals supposed to be affected here?
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2018, 09:32:05 AM »
Does anyone consider this to be a horror movie?
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1SO

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2018, 12:46:55 PM »
I do. It has psychological terror, gore effects and a scary creature.
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Junior

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2018, 02:06:10 PM »
Yeah, based on the bear alone. It's horror in the vein of HP Lovecraft but without the racism.
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valmz

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2018, 12:26:25 AM »
I didn’t find the “plot holes” mentioned problematic at all. The team is scientists, not military, so tactics surely aren’t their forte. This is established both when Portman outshines the others with weapons and when they don’t instinctively form a battle plan - they’re not tacticians, they’re scientists.

As for the found footage scene, I thought they didn’t jump on the EMT’s ramblings for three great reasons: 1. Portman’s character is in shock 2. The crew is afraid of each other going crazy and are walking on eggshells with each other so as to avoid one actually going crazy and tying them all up. It happens anyway, so this fear is well-founded. 3. They want to see what the pool looks like currently. A lot is going on.

As for the poor strategy of recon missions, it’s established that the first couple of days inside are complete memory wipes, so it’s unclear whether any missions would have success trying to turn back once inside. After all, not one single human makes it out until Portman’s character firebombs the place.

As for the film, I found it to be primarily interesting as a fantastical dip into a dark universe. The human elements seemed incongruous to me, and I just didn’t put much effort into intellectualizing after multiple on-the-nose flashbacks. Seemed like a dead-end. The pure fantasy was interesting, even as it has a quasi-Heliocentric finale. I do like that there’s no implication that the foreign entity finds humans all that special, as if it came specifically to Earth for the magical humans. It seems far more random - it does its thing where it lands, and all sorts of strange possibilities seem available. As far as thrillers go, it far outshines some more “terrestrial” fare that ends with a clean victory for the good guys. There’s no telling what is won or lost at the end, except the magical Shimmer full of nightmares. What’s the last thriller you saw where the “enemy” is a “magical force”, and when the film ends it’s not defeated and yet it’s not necessarily a bad thing? Novel, if nothing else. I expected no Koreeda and got none, but that’s hardly a strike against an oddball alien film. The alien is far more interesting than the humans, or other humanoid films of its ilk. Something to appreciate, even if if’s not an all-time great, or a humanistic landmark, or even philosophically intriguing. Perhaps the villain in the film is not the alien but despair, and self-destruction merely a side effect. The alien, then, is not the villain but the setting: “How a group deals with despair inside an alien world.” Cleverly, the film kills off the most self-aware character first, leaving the less prepared ones alone and defenseless - against themselves. The alien isn’t the villain, after all.

philip918

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2018, 03:01:24 PM »
Does the ending seem like a big cheat to anyone else?

After seeing everything connected to the alien go up in flames, how is it possible it still exists in the two human characters? Is it simply because Oscar Isaac's character was outside the Shimmer, and in the end he's already infecting Portman's? Even though the entire film is structured to suggest she's withholding information specifically because she knows what's going on with him and herself...

Solid Blake

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2018, 06:04:22 AM »
Does the ending seem like a big cheat to anyone else?

After seeing everything connected to the alien go up in flames, how is it possible it still exists in the two human characters? Is it simply because Oscar Isaac's character was outside the Shimmer, and in the end he's already infecting Portman's? Even though the entire film is structured to suggest she's withholding information specifically because she knows what's going on with him and herself...

From my understanding, the shimmer changes the DNA of all living creatures within, thus they were instantly changed crossing over. The whole doppelganger aspect was a bi-product of the alien species programming (i.e. the deer-like creatures mimmicking the same movements). Portman’s character isn’t a doppelganger, while the husband obviously is (as evidence from his suicide tape), yet they are still one of the same. Portman’s body and DNA changes throughout the film (i.e. the arm tattoo) and emerges from the event as a changed being in both psychological and organic terms. I see the two “survivors” as the Adam and Eve of this new species, the only surviving remnants of the shimmer—if that makes any sense?

philip918

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2018, 12:09:41 PM »
That makes sense. But I still don't see how they survived at all. When the alien burned everything it had changed burned with it. Why wouldn't the humans that had been changed also burn?

Solid Blake

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Re: Annihilation
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2018, 05:33:13 PM »
My interpretation of that “burning” event was a direct response/learning of self destruction when Dr. Ventress self-destruction (cancer) was absorbed into the alien consciousness. That explains the burning/spreading and destruction of cells. Her survival doesn’t make sense, with Lena still being inside the shimmer as the creations/altered beings were killed. Kane’s speedy survival/recovery is somewhat inexplicable, but I sat aside those confusions with the belief that this alien species were using the two to further spread their influence beyond the shimmer.