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The Tragedy of "Annihilation"

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I saw Annihilation this past weekend and came away with a few thoughts.  I don't want to spoil anything about the movie itself, but will say highest endorsement possible.  This will likely be in my top five movies of 2018.  It was original and provocative with gorgeous visual and sound design.  I was transfixed and after it ended I wanted to see it again.  How refreshing to see something not tethered to anything, sequel, IP, reboot; just a pure vision of a writer and director.

Why is it tragic?  Annihilation flopped at the box office, and received mixed audience reactions.  If you're outside the United States or China you don't even have the option to see it in a cinema as rights were sold to Netflix.  This beautiful film deserves to be shown off on a massive screen with top sound system, but now will be seen by majority of people on televisions, computers, or phones.

How did this happen? A mix of Skydance 2017 flop "Geostorm" hurting finances and the fear of seeing critically hailed big budget sci-fi "Blade Runner 2049" flop sent the studio into a panic.  "Dumb it down! It's to cerebral for audiences!" but the producers and directors stood firm on script and made the movie they wanted.  Annihilation was put out against the juggernaut of Black Panther with a modest marketing budget and ends as a failure vindicating the studio's decision to break even with the Netflix deal.

What it means.  Annihilation is yet another nail in the coffin for big budget risks that aren't tied to existing properties. Any time someone says "Why is Hollywood so creatively bankrupt?" point to this.  Shame that Alex Garland should be a director on the rise with this and his superb "Ex Machina" will likely struggle to get another movie made soon.



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Trailer looks ... mmhhkay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89OP78l9oF0



I wish I had the time to respond to your post in more detail as it pertains to the creative, risk taking side of Hollywood movies. Suffice it to say, the current landscape doesn't look healthy to me. I love a good comedy, and the genre seems to be in trouble because comedy movies make much less money internationally, so of course, fewer and fewer are being made. I'm interested in Annihilation based on the trailer and TV spots I've seen. It appears to be showing in Canada as well. My city is on the small side ( aprox 250k ), and while it is playing here, it's pretty limited. 3 showings today, and only 2 tomorrow.

-Just for clarity's sake, it's playing beyond today and tomorrow, but it looks like 3 shows a day is the max.

Last edited by COKTOE - on 27 February 2018

Chinese food for breakfast

 

numberwang said:

Trailer looks ... mmhhkay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89OP78l9oF0

I don't think that conveys the scope or craftsmanship of the film. The ideas it plays with make for great science fiction.  My advice is if possible to not know too much and get to experience the journey with the characters.  I didn't think the trailer for "Ex Machina" sold that movie well either. Some works struggle to confine themselves into trailers because how do you convey an atmosphere of wonder and dread in a minute?



Sadly it was released by Paramount in the States. They have really struggled these last few years while studios like Fox, Sony, Disney...everyone else have done very well. Fox actually had a crazy good year, surprised they sold to Disney. They have been around for like 100 years as a movie company!!!!



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It's not really an original property as it is a book series ...



Muffin31190 said:
It's not really an original property as it is a book series ...

I stand corrected. I was not aware.  What are the books? I'd like to check them out now.



I really didn't like the trailer .. it reminded me of the new ghostbusters movie with all those women.

Is it anything close to the new Blade Runner movie for example? cause that one was a masterpiece.



Its too early to call it a flop since it only been in theaters for less then a week. Also its budget is $40 million which isn't exactly big. Big budget movies are movies that cost close to $100 million or more to make. That Netflix deal probably made the movie profitable already my guess is that the spend more then $40 million for the streaming rights for the movie.



sub-zero-TM said:
I really didn't like the trailer .. it reminded me of the new ghostbusters movie with all those women.

Is it anything close to the new Blade Runner movie for example? cause that one was a masterpiece.

I hated the Ghostbusters reboot.  The fact it is a women team is explained within the world and makes sense, there is zero "girl power" and the characters have depth, flaws, and make mistakes.  I'd rate it a 9/10 while I'd give Ghosterbusters Reboot a 2/10, they aren't in the same hemisphere in terms of film making.

From a technical perspective I'd say Annihiliation is the best sci-fi movie I've seen since Blade Runner 2049, but I wouldn't put it on the same level.  Both deserve to be seen on a big screen though.