Film Review: Annihilation

Film Review: Annihilation

The Science Fiction Epic You Have Been Waiting For

*This review contains minor spoilers regarding the first 20 minutes of the film*

Annihilation is written and directed by Alex Garland and stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. Annihilation takes place in a familiar reality like our own but in this world, an alien force field-like aura called "The Shimmer" has descended upon the earth.

The film centers around the character of Lena (Natalie Portman), who lives an ordinary life as a biology professor at the start of the story. Things get interesting when her husband, Kane, returns unexpectedly from a secret military mission. We soon learn that Kane (Oscar Isaac) is horribly sick. After being intercepted by government officials, both Kane and Lena are brought to a secret facility located in proximity to "The Shimmer." There, Lena learns that her husband went on a military mission into "The Shimmer" and that he was the only one to survive.

Lena learns from Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason-Leigh) that "The Shimmer" appeared three years ago and has been expanding ever since. Lena finds out that Dr. Ventress plans to lead a team of scientists into "The Shimmer." Lena, knowing that her experience with the study of biology and military background could prove useful, volunteers to join. The film then follows a team of female scientists as they investigate the alien Shimmer.

Annihilation is a cerebral experience. It is a movie that discusses complex ideas of life, death, self-destruction, brokenness being made anew, and how humans fit into these mind-bending concepts.This is a very bold artsy sci-fi movie that will be discussed and dissected for many years to come.

This is probably one of the best looking sci-fi movies ever made. The world of the "The Shimmer" is beautiful and visually stunning. The visual effects are gorgeous in that they really bring to life the familiar yet truly alien world. The vibrant mix of colors traps the viewer in the astounding alien world, which only adds to the total immersion. The environment becomes more surreal and alien as the team of scientists ventures deeper into "The Shimmer."

At times, Annihilation feels more like a horror movie. Garland creates an unnerving atmosphere and handles suspense in a masterful way. There are certainly more than a couple of moments that are utterly terrifying, but fortunately, the film does not completely rely on jump scares to create this effect. The film reminds me of Ex Machina (Garland's previous film about the dangers of AI) in that the feeling of an ominous dark presence lurks in the shadows throughout the entire movie. This feeling builds the tension and suspense of every fleeting moment, ultimately unleashing in full fury during the prolonged epic climax of the film.

In regard to acting, the performances were solid. In particular, Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason-Leigh were phenomenal. Oscar Isaac was good, but nothing spectacular. The others, unfortunately, did not really stand out, but that reflects more so on the writing than the acting.

One of my issues with the film is its pacing. The film takes a long time to get moving, and I found myself checking my watch several times during the first act. Heavy exposition and the bouncing between flashbacks and reality bring the opening to a slow crawl. Fortunately, as soon as the characters enter "The Shimmer," things get very interesting.

Overall, Annihilation is a fantastic science fiction epic deserves a spot next to the classics like Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The pacing may not be the best, but that does not completely affect the overall film. Alex Garland has created a wholly unique alien invasion film, and if you are in the mood for a complex story that oozes thought-provoking ideas, then I recommend Annihilation.

I give Annihilation an A- and a recommendation.

RELATED FILMS TO CHECK OUT: Ex Machina, Interstellar, Arrival.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Lil Yachty's 'Lil Boat 2' May Not Be Enough To Keep Him Afloat

Here's what you need to know about "Lil Boat 2."

On March 9, Lil Yachty dropped his newest album, “Lil Boat 2.” The album consists of 17 songs, most of which were probably better off not being on the album and seriously failed to impress me, despite its early success on iTunes.

In all of the reviews I have ever written, I normally organize it song-by-song, giving feedback to each track. This time, however, I think I can save all of us time on this article by just being completely honest about Lil Yachty’s “Lil Boat 2.”

Most of the songs from 1-10 on the tracklist are NOT worth listening to.

Other than those three, every other song from the top ten songs on the tracklist were absolute garbage.

The beats to the songs weren’t that bad but, overall, it just sounded like Lil Yachty and his features were WAY too high to be in the studio.

Yachty’s flows, bars and rhyme schemes were ALL weak throughout the entire album, and if it weren’t for the final six songs on “Lil Boat 2,” this review would be nothing but bashing Lil Yachty.

From the 12th track on the album, "MICKEY" (ft. Offset, Lil Baby) the album runs through much more smoothly, regardless of how basic those last couple of songs are.

I imagine Lil Yachty’s fanbase consists mostly of teenagers who eat Tide for Internet views and anybody who knows nothing about what a real rapper is.

Seriously. I cannot stress how elementary this album is. If you’re looking for new rap music to listen to, check out Tory Lanez’s album, “MEMORIES DON’T DIE,” or Logic’s “Bobby Tarantino II.”

Both of those albums are so much better than “Lil Boat 2” that they make Yachty look like an amateur — which he is.

Final Score: 5.8/10
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Did Draco Malfoy Ever Get The Clout He Deserved?

Yes, he was literally the worst for a majority of the series. But does this one moment make up for it all?

The new trailer for the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” series just dropped and I have a LOT of feelings. Mainly:

With the release of this new trailer, the only natural thing to do is to binge watch the "Harry Potter" series. Now, if you don’t know about "Harry Potter" series, I’m going to assume that you were born literally minutes ago. For those of you who do know what I’m talking about, let’s chat.

Throughout the series, we see some pretty rotten witches, wizards and muggles. The worst being Bellatrix LeStrange, in my opinion.

*Side note: Voldemort killed meticulously and with his own “reasoning” that supported his actions. Bellatrix killed for sport. No reason was necessary to support her choices. Regardless of who I thought was worse, it doesn’t change the fact that they were both 100% assholes.*

Throughout the movie, and even more so throughout the book, we are able to see slight character arcs for a majority of these lesser-evil villains, such as Petunia Dursley, Narcissa Malloy, Snape, and Draco Malfoy.

After Snape, Draco had one of the biggest character arcs in the series. He saved Harry and, ultimately, through his actions, gave Harry one last chance to defeat Voldemort. How? Well, Pottermore explains it best, but to put it simply, he refused to give Harry, Ron, and Hermione up to Bellatrix and the Snatchers.

This moment is so pivotal and apparent in the books, yet on screen, while it’s still a huge moment, it still gets downplayed. The weight of the moment isn’t truly felt and could be taken as more of a mistake on Malfoy’s part. That moment, if not understood correctly, could change many viewers' opinions about Draco's transformation from elitist, bigot, selfish snob to a (slightly) unknowingly ignorant, scared, defeated teen.

Damnit, J.K. Rowling, you’ve done it again. Even after all these years, somehow I still always seem to find something new.

Now let’s talk about how the new movie will allow the Ministry to apparate onto Hogwarts?!

Cover Image Credit: Review Me Twice

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