Annihilation- Movie Adaptation Review

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Title: Annihilation
Written/Directed: Alex Garland
Adapted from: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Released: Netflix March 2018

I read and reviewed the novel that this movie is adapted from at the end of 2015, and to put it lightly I really didn't enjoy it. You can check out my pretty scathing review here. However, despite this I was intrigued to see how a director would go about adapting such an interesting and also a visually demanding idea in novel form into a movie.
In terms of the visual aspects, the movie is beautiful. I watched it on my laptop and it was stunning, the landscapes and scenery that we see, but also the sci-fi aspects and more ethereal elements just looked amazing on screen. If you could see it on a bigger screen, it would only look better!
Having read this novel in 2015, and it not having made a huge impact on me, and my not really enjoying it means I don't really remember much of the plot. Unfortunately this means I can't really comment on how accurate an adaptation this is. I did read on IMDB that apparently the director didn't refer to the novel much after his first reading, and adapted the novel rather like a "dream remembrance". I'm not sure whether I like this as a method, I normally like a movie adaptation of a book to stick quite closely to the source material. However, because I don't really like the novel all that much, it didn't really matter as much.
One of my main criticisms of the novel was that the novel didn't really make much sense to me. The movie is the same, although perhaps not to the same extent. I definitely had loads of questions after the movie had ended, and whether any of these are answered or not in subsequent movie we shall see.
The cast performed well, there was some controversy around a few of the characters, namely Lena being described as part Asian yet being played by Natalie Portman, which is always disappointing. However, according to IMDB again, the ethnicity of Lena isn't mentioned until Book 2 in the trilogy, which the Director hadn't read when he created the movie.
In terms of the other cast members, I love Oscar Isaac so I obviously enjoyed his involvement, and I thought Tessa Thompson was really great as Josie.
This movie is rated 15 and it does feature quite a lot of blood and gore, and quite a lot of graphic footage of violence. I would say that the rating is warranted and just a warning if you're sensitive to these things.
This novel is also very tense, the whole movie is wracked with tension from the very first minute, and the pressure only seems to build as the movie goes on. The novel was a very claustrophobic read, and the movie is no different.
Overall, this movie was a psychological horror/sci-fi movie which filled in 90 minutes of my time. If you enjoyed the novel, this movie is a perfectly adequate adaptation.

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