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Review: Annihilation

A new wave of science-fiction is coming. Intelligent, compelling and engaging, with no black-and-white characters and breaking the genre rules. Annihilation is another step forward for better, cooler, and more sophisticated sci-fi.

Lena (Natalie Portman) is a cellular biology professor and a former soldier. She is mourning her year-long lost soldier husband, when he suddenly reappears but with severe memory loss. Lena is taken into his military compound as he slips into a coma. She discovers that the mission that he was involved in was an investigation of a “shimmer” surrounding an area hit by a meteorite. In order to find out what has happened, Lena volunteers to go on the next expedition. What she discovers is terrifying, yet wonderful.

What is interesting about this film is that the investigation team is all-female, yet the characters are neither stereotypical women, nor are they females with manly traits. They are diverse, realistic and non-clichéd, and their backstories explore the themes of loneliness, depression, and self-destruction. Although I think they could have been developed even deeper, they are really well written and portrayed.

The film uses its science-fiction core in a stunningly professional manner. It is a real SCIENCE fiction film. All the main characters are scientists and whilst they explore the shimmer, they share their scientific discoveries, and do so in an informed yet non-intrusive and text-book way, which is engaging and fun. This scientific sophistication gives the film the power to do more than another trashy horror-like alien movie whose aim is only to provide mere entertainment. It provides an actual, valuable cognitive and visual experience.

Lastly, the visuals are stunning. The cinematography, the special effects, and the art direction is on point. It is unbelievable that the movie is allowed to be screened on small screens, as on Netflix. The visuals really deserve to be seen on the big screen, as they play a huge part in the overwhelming experience.

The film Annihilation is an example of the new generation of filmmakers questioning the conventions of genres. The film is engaging, fun and sophisticated. It shows that the science-fiction genre is not only for geek boys, but can be enjoyable for a wider audience while also being a valuable experience. Together with Arrival, it is a new beginning for Sci-Fi films.

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