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Annihilation Blu-ray Review

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“Annihilation” doesn’t pan out in the end.

After an Army Special Forces soldier named Kane ventures into the mysterious and possibly extraterrestrial anomaly called the Shimmer on a top secret mission, he mysteriously returns home to his girlfriend Lena (a bio professor and former armed forces soldier) out of the blue. Shortly thereafter, Kane and Lena are abruptly taken from their home by the Government and are whisked away to a base called Area X (which is located near the Shimmer). While Kane is under quarantine, Lena soon learns about Kane’s mission and is recruited by a psychologist to join a research team that is tasked with venturing back into the Shimmer. Upon entering the Shimmer, the largely scientific group begin to discover mutations, weird time shifts, and changes they themselves may be undergoing. What exactly is happening? That is the question.

After writing and directing “Ex Machina,” Alex Garland follows up his sci-fi masterwork with another sci-fi feature film titled “Annihilation” (which is based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer). Much like his scripts for “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine,” “Annihilation” offers up plenty of intriguing ideas and concepts, but as a whole, it’s an ugly, dry, cold, and unsatisfying sci-fi tale.

While the film will certainly have its fair share of fans, I was left cold by what I saw. For starters, the character work was bland and lacked emotional impact. This is especially frustrating given the electric cast comprised of Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac and Gina Rodriguez. With the exception of Rodriguez whose character at least has some spunk and life, everyone’s talent is underutilized here.

In terms of the script, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the film thinks it is more clever than it really is. Sure, the film deserves props for being an original sci-fi film, but the plot is vague and overly reminiscent of everything from “2001: A Space Odyssey” to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” On top of that, the story somehow becomes less engaging the more we learn. Alas, we don’t even get to learn nearly enough either as there are plenty of unanswered questions. Now, I’m all for letting viewers ponder matters on their own, but a writer (in this case Alex Garland) should tell enough of a story that doesn’t leave viewers wanting more in a negative manner.

Note: The 4K Ultra HD set is a Best Buy exclusive. It comes with a Blu-ray copy as well as a Digital copy.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? However one may feel about the movie, it is visually stunning (with the exception of a few dodgy effects). The transfer does the film justice.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? Between the eerie score and the lively sound FX, this Atmos track delivers.

Extras: A 3 part extra. The first part is titled “Southern Reach,” the second “Area X” and thee third “To The Lighthouse.” Part 1 covers the novel and adapting it, casting and characters. Part 2 covers location shooting and effects. Part 3 is all about concept art, the film crew, and director Alex Garland.

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May 16, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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