What a pity non-Americans do not get to watch Alex Garland’s follow-up to “Ex-Machina” on the big screen. But thankfully we have Netflix saving the day. Other than perhaps losing the sense of scope and sound design, “Annihilation” did translate rather well to the small screen. And, boy, fans of smart, intelligent sci-fi should watch this!
This was definitely not “The Cloverfield Paradox”. “Annihilation” was definitely not dumbed down and was led by a quintet of smart, strong women/actress with nary a male in sight other than to play supporting, almost sexualised, roles. But at least, they cast Oscar Isaac, and his crazy-expressive eyes, who was great in his minimal scenes.
If this film had the visual panache and style of Dennis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” (read: budget), coupled with a more emotional-centric (read: Hollywood-esque) script, than it might have been more acceptable in the mainstream and not been relegated to Netflix.
Natalie Portman definitely had the depth and range to handle her character, but perhaps the fault laid in Garland’s script’s over emphasis on the science and the brains, and neglected the heart.
On the other hand, Garland as a director has shown an improvement since “Ex Machina” with the story moving at a good pace and the plot developed intriguingly despite the non chronological narrative. There were moments where it was truly tense, and that one scene near the end of the second act wrought more tension than the whole of “A Quiet Place”.
Another problem most moviegoers might have with this film was the ending where nothing was really explained and an epilogue that gave us more questions than answers. But taking the film as an entity itself, it really did not need to explain everything. The story had closure. Although if you do want to find out more, then go read the trilogy because I doubt we will be having anymore of it unless Netflix decides to adapt the trilogy into a mini-series (please do!).