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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

‘Annihilation’ Movie Review

Science Fiction movies have reached an all-time high in the last 10 years. Most of this has been the result of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the X-Men Films, The Star Trek Trilogy, and the rejuvenation of the Star Wars Saga. This domination by comic book movie adaptations and revitalized classic series has left many suggesting that the genre lacks originality. In some respects, this is true. Science Fiction is a genre rich with classics and groundbreaking visual achievements, and while these qualities still exist, some new and original screenplays are something the genre would benefit from. Enter the film “Annihilation.”
This film had all the makings of a unique and memorable sci-fi entry, with compelling characters, a complex plot, and an overarching theme that leaves the audience asking questions once the credits roll. The film is about a phenomenon called “The Shimmer,” which is a shiny, transparent wall that is spreading across the region, consuming more land as it moves along. The phenomenon is being investigated by a military group to see what is on the other side. What goes on inside The Shimmer is an intense ride filled with mixes of both classic science fiction themes, as well as some new ones that leave the audience in awe.
The film stars Natalie Portman as Lena, a biologist who specializes in cellular biology, who joins the team to go investigate The Shimmer. She decides to do this after her husband Kane, played by Oscar Isaac, returns from The Shimmer very ill. Also going into The Shimmer are Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez), Josie Radek (Tessa Thompson), and Cass Sheppard (Tuva Nuvotny). We also see Benedict Wong throughout the film, playing a military operative. The star-studded cast works well in this film, with each delivering solid performances, while also not overshadowing the film’s plot.
Often understated is the importance of music in a film to illicit different emotions from the audience. The music in this film certainly does that. Its eerie and electronic sounds convey a feeling of both dread and mystery. When hearing the loud electronic horn, such as in one of the closing scenes, you really feel all the tension that is going on, especially the fear that the character feels. The experimental sounds and music pair well with the gorgeous and intellectually challenging visuals of the film, another can’t miss aspect of this movie.
Overall, “Annihilation” is the most unique and fresh concept for a sci-fi movie seen in years. The uneasiness and sense of isolation you feel throughout the film is reminiscent of sci-fi classic “2001: A Space Odyssey,” while the concept of this other world encroaching upon our own is something many of us have already fallen in love with via the success of the Netflix show “Stranger Things.” When you combine these two, you get a science fiction film that creates tension, while embracing some classic sci-fi tropes but also changes them just enough to create something brand new altogether. “Annihilation” is a film that fans of the more intellectual brand of sci-fi will fall in love with, and I would urge everyone to check this film out.
Annihilation – 7.8/10