Thanks to the idiocy of Paramount Pictures, Alex Garland’s Annihilation adaptation was only released in Singapore today via Netflix! Thus, geeks in Singapore are denied the opportunity of watching this imaginative scifi horror movie in all its visual glory. Well, fuck you Paramount!
Loosely based on Jeff VanderMeer’s award-winning novel of the same name, the movie stars Natalie Portman as biologist Lena, who is part of a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer,” a mysterious quarantined zone that is under alien influence and is full of mutating landscapes and creatures.
The movie departs from the book significantly, as the latter is more psychological in nature. The movie retains the basic story premise – as outlined above – but simplifies the plot points greatly for mass consumption.
Essentially, the horror elements are heightened without sacrificing its intelligent scifi underpinnings.
Garland portrays “The Shimmer” brilliantly, bringing VanderMeer’s concepts to life vividly. Surreal and psychedelic, it’s a pity that geeks outside the USA were not able to appreciate the effects on a big screen.
The focus is very much on Lena and told from her perspective – with enough hints to suggest that she might be an unreliable narrator. That said, there are awkward attempts to flesh out her character somewhat, though we are not sure how much they truly add to a viewer’s enjoyment.
As mentioned above, the movie is quite different from the book, and though the book was the first part of a trilogy, it’s unlikely that a movie sequel will be forthcoming although the ending is ambiguous.
So much to savour here, that Annihilation is probably worth a couple of repeated viewings. Guess that’s the only advantage of having it on Netflix.
… still there’s more …