Annihilation Movie Review

The following post will contain spoilers of both the book and movie, so if you haven’t read or seen either one and don’t want to be spoiled, proceed with caution!

annihilation movie
Annihilation movie post (Source: Image from Cryptic Rock blog )

I had had the book on my TBR for a while, and then when I saw that Gina Rodriguez and Oscar Isaac were going to be in a film adaptation, I knew I wanted to see it and that I had to bump the book up on my reading list. That being said, because I’m a fan of those two actors, my perspective on the film may be biased, so take this review as you will.

This was the first time in a long time where I actually read the book before seeing the movie, and so close to seeing the movie that the book was still fresh in my mind. I enjoyed both mediums by which the story was told and appreciated the deviations the movie made from the film for the most part.

I really liked how the film portrayed the animals in Area X, as the book didn’t focus much on them. I do wish the audience could see in the movie though the growing, living words on the walls and the tunnel/tower from the book, but I understand why such a plot point might have been changed for the visual medium of the movie. I also appreciated that all four main characters were given more in depth development, because the book is from the biologist’s perspective, and I felt that kind of internal narration made for less characterization of her supporting cast in the book.

The weakest part of the movie I felt, aside from its deviaton from the book, was the ending. However, I do consider that since I read the book right before I saw the movie, I still had that ending in my mind, which leaves room for the rest of the books in the trilogy to continue, whereas the film seems to have been written to stand on its own, so it needed a more “closed” ending in comparison.

Looking at the film on its own now and not as an extension of the book, I really enjoyed the visuals for everything. The plants that morphed into humanoid shapes were chilling and the decaying bear that captured its victim’s dying vocal cries absolutely terrified me. Out of all the tangible horrors, the alligator was probably the least frightening, but being a Florida girl, it still scared the heck out of me because those things are monstrous and yes they roam pretty freely here like they do in Area X.

The story told in Annihilation is aptly named, as what is depicted in the movie isn’t so much as annihilation from the outside, but rather from the inside. All the characters that went into Area X had destructive tendencies, which was mimicked by the mutations brought on by alien exposures to the environment.

I thought the idea of the nature around them in that area refracting what went in was deeply disturbing, as it brought to life the very destruction that humans cause to themselves mentally and emotionally. The way Tessa Thompson’s character faded into Area X as she gave in to her destruction was particularly haunting.

I will say the silliest visual from the film, in my opinion, was how the psychologist literally self destructed when she went into the lighthouse. While the effects were beautiful, its execution felt forced and like it was only there to create the humanoid celestial being that mirrored the biologist. Overall though, the scene in which Natalie Portman’s character has a physical struggle with the creature had me on edge and in the end, I was still left wondering if she succeeded in destroying it or if it just transformed and became a part of her as she was back in the real world.

I saw someone on Twitter describe Annihilation as the Hollywood version of an indie film and I think that’s an accurate description. It certainly isn’t a movie that will appeal to everybody, but if you’re the type of movie goer who enjoys more psychological horror with some body gore thrown in and minor jump scares, then this film might appeal to you.

Did anyone else see the film? Did you read the book before seeing it or plan to read the book after? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post first appeared on The Misadventures of a Media Journalist. My review of the book can be found here.

Finding the Right Romance Novel: Tales From a Reluctant Romantic

I’ve read Pride & Prejudice and was smitten. All Cassandra Clare books? Fell like a sucker. I watch The Vampire Diaries and am a hardcore Delena shipper. I openly admit that watching A Walk to Remember still makes me ugly sob. So what is it about the romance genre label that keeps me at bay?

I’m obviously a sucker for a good love story. Hello, grew up on Disney movies, of course I love love. I live for the warm and fluffy feelings of seeing couples come together and live happily ever after. I gushed over Olicity on Arrow (and was heartbroken when they didn’t last) and I still firmly believe Destiel is end game on Supernatural.

It’s not all about the romance in romance novels though. As is bound to come with hand holding and kisses is the sex. I’m certainly no prude. I watched True Blood (with my mother, no less), so I’m clearly comfortable with awkward, sexual situations in my fiction.

Perhaps there’s still a part of my mind that resists due to prior stigmas of romance novels being trashy literature. But I know now the negative perception of the genre and how it correlates with viewing all things feminine with disdain, and knowing is half the battle.

Still, I can’t let myself pick up books with titles like Rough and Ready or Take A Ride. I read Twin of Fire and Twin of Ice by Jude Deveraux and thought those were okay. I barely remember Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Fantasy Lover, only that the sex scenes made me roll my eyes and snort. I can’t possibly take these books seriously.

But why do I need to take them seriously? For crying out loud, one of my favorite shows features an archer that let’s loose arrows that turn into parachutes! Maybe when I’m reading the situations these romance novels unravel, they seem too unlikely to ever happen for real. Then again, I was forced to accept analyzing key strokes as a legitimate method of finding out corporate espionage, so perhaps realistic standards are not the problem.

I’m thinking what it all comes down to in the end, is I simply haven’t found the right romance read for me yet. I probably spent so many years adamantly resisting the notion of liking girly things, that even now, with all the wisdom and education I’ve gained, I’m still a little obstinate in my views of “trashy” books. I hope that changes someday, but for now, I’ll continue to consume my passion for passion through TV, movies, classics and YA reads.