The writer-director of this movie previously did Ex Machina. That movie was about what it means to be conscious, what it means to be alive and experience life. Annihilation tries to be cerebral in the same way with different questions. Those questions being, is there an end goal for life, does life and change want something, what makes a person themselves.
You will see a lot of people talk about how pretty this movie looks. This is an undeniable fact, the movie is gorgeous. it takes time for the movie to really reach its visual heights, but it gets there. With some really amazing imagery, it is no wonder the visuals are a focus of discussion surrounding the movie. I, on the other hand, will acknowledge it and move on to something more important.
Cohesive storytelling is more important than telling an interesting story. If a story makes sense and flows nicely, then the only thing you can complain about is it not being interesting. Annihilation doesn't really have any of these things. It doesn't flow and is not that interesting. In an attempt to be thought-provoking and mysterious, the story seems jumbled with no real cohesion. It's not very interesting and only becomes so towards the end where it digs itself a deeper hole. There are so many plot holes in this movie it's ridiculous. I can't list them because they are spoilers, but it breaks the movie if you try to rationalize them.
The last thing I want to touch on is acting. Everyone does a good enough job, no one deserves an award for their acting abilities. There is one character that just delivered her lines so charismatically that it really hurt the whole movie. It was probably a character choice but comes off like they are not even acting.
Stay away from this movie. I know that it is on Netflix for anyone not in the US or China, do not watch this thing. Even though The Cloverfield Paradox is not that good, watch that over this if you want to watch a Sci-fi movie. This movie really is bad.
3/10 This is what happens when you don't take studio notes
I'm going to make this short. Mute is made by the guy who made the World of Warcraft movie. It looks and feels like so many movies out today. Trying to capture the futuristic landscape that Blade Runner and Japanese properties first ushered in. Forgetting about the nuances of focusing on the looks.
It's a bad movie plain and simple. The first act of the movie pairs a mute and a terrible actor together making it very hard to watch. Every line the actor says is so bad, not from a writing perspective, but from delivery. It really was hard not to turn the movie off.
Then the bad acting alternates with a side story that doesn't seem to connect in any way whatsoever. This side story is lead by Paul Rudd's character, Cactus. Even the quirky performance by Paul Rudd cannot save the bad story that this movie is overflowing with.
When the movie tries to combine the two stories, it feels messy. It was going for an evolving story that makes sense and could be pieced together, but that's impossible.
Stay away from Mute, even though it is free with Netflix, it is not worth wasting 2 hours on this garbage movie. I want my involvement with it to end as soon as possible with this review.
2/10 I liked Source Code, why can't Duncan make a movie like that again?
The Black Panther trailers are very misleading in the best possible way. The hype around the movie is also very misleading. So before I go on to talk about many aspects of the movie, I have to say that it is worth seeing on a big screen. The movie wouldn't be as good as it is if you see it on a small screen. I'm talking about going to a movie theater with a huge screen. Now if you need more convincing, or just want to know more, here it is. Black Panther is a good Marvel solo movie that shares the good and bad of being part of the MCU.
This is the most colorful MCU movie made yet. This is probably the most colorful movie that won't be an animated movie this year. The colors are striking and really build up the world. There are moments where the movie falls into modern filmmaking tropes like the casino scene, but the color work is still amazing. This directly impacts the realization of the city of Wakanda. The whole world building team, set designers, anyone who worked on bringing this fictional place to life, deserves to be recognized. During the movie, you will focus on costumes and the way technology was depicted because they all draw you in.
The acting from any main character or prominent side character was fantastic. This is mostly due to the actors and actresses mostly being from more prestigious backgrounds. This isn't to say that there weren't some weird things going on with extras but every movie has that problem.
The commercial soundtrack released with 14 original songs, 13 of which were not in the movie prominently. The most interesting part about this is, the other 13 songs had no place in the movie. The story and tone the movie went for would have been hindered if more of the album tracks were in the movie. If you watched the trailers, you would have thought this is an action-packed movie with some beat-heavy music. This is far from the truth because it relies on more traditional music heard from the region. I would have it no other way. The composer who did the score is the real star here.
Let's start talking about what didn't work. No character really has an arc. The main character might have decided on something by the end but the reason for the change was fighting and killing the bad guy. Like I said before, this movie takes all the good and bad of being an MCU movie. That means it is watchable, funny, and has problems.
The first part of the movie is underwhelming because nothing is really new at this point. The hero is put in a new position where a lot of people are relying on them. They deal with this and personal problems making their life hard. I'm not saying this is bad, just it's a very MCU thing to do. But then Micheal B. Jordan's character is introduced. His first sentence got my attention. It was a much more dynamic character from a presentation standpoint. Killmonger was then joined by Ulysses Klau and Andy Serkis continued to do a great job acting as him here. The two villains were the most interesting thing in the movie because they didn't have the familiar feeling the heroes did.
But slowly new and exciting feeling is lost. For all the great acting, all the great visuals, appropriate soundtrack, the story wasn't strong enough. No main character goes through a change supported by convincing story reasons. The main villain's motivations are revealed to be surface level. That special feeling ended up being "a comic book movie".
Black Panther isn't the seminal film people thought it was going to be. It's not the next Dark Knight and even though I love Logan, even that movie isn't considered to be on the same level.
Final movie note that isn't super important to the review but I wanted to include it because I like talking about movies. The action scenes in Korea were great and bad. They were great because the camera was so dynamic. Instead of overusing cuts, the camera moved through the scene creating a sense of flow. They were bad like many of the other action scenes in the movie because the choreography wasn't the best along with not great fight acting. The action scenes were at their worst when it was a CGI fight. This means that heavy cuts were used and stationary because of CGI. Also, there really wasn't a lot of action.
Like I said at the beginning if you are going to watch this movie, do it in a theater. I cannot see the spectacle of the movie on a small screen. So yea, watch it if you're into "comic book movies" because this a really good one. Other than the generic comicbook stuff, it has spectacular visuals and some truly great acting.
I knew this movie under the working title of 'God Particle', but after some weird events between Netflix and Paramount Pictures, it is now The Cloverfield Paradox. I got so used to it being called God Particle that I am a little sad to see the name change but I am happy that Cloverfield is in the name. Why is this important? I have not seen the original Cloverfield movie but did really like 10 Cloverfield Lane. The Cloverfield brand has been converted into a vessel to tell interesting stories that no one would watch alone, but with the brand and some loose ties draws people in. Even the making of the movies are a secret, which really adds to the atmosphere of the brand. As the third movie in the anthology-like series, The Cloverfield Paradox follows in the footsteps of 10 Cloverfield Lane but strays from the path of telling a well-executed story.
Let's start off with the positives. The music is fantastic, it really gives the movie life. Immediately after the movie was over I checked who did the music and it turned out to be Bear McCreary. He is famous for his work on Battlestar Galactica, but I know him from 10 Cloverfield Lane and the upcoming God of War game.
The next good thing about this movie is its cast. Everyone does a great job playing their parts. No one is getting an Oscar but I believed what was happening.
The visuals and set design sold me that there was a crew on a space station. Though the budget for the movie is only around 26 million, I think they prioritized the right things. Focusing on the believability of the whole story coming together. This means CGI work where needed, but focusing on making the set feel alive.
The biggest problem I have with the movie is the story. There are unexplained points that aren't fully expanded on. 10 Cloverfield Lane is the superior Cloverfield movie because it has tighter storytelling that is coherent and makes everything clear. This movie is not as clear, sometimes on purpose and other times not. The movie tries to throw you off its scent but does a great job directing you to the conclusions you need to make, for the most part. There will be no spoilers here so I won't elaborate heavily. My complaint comes from a situation that happens to one character, and if you watch the movie you know which one.
My other story complaint is the main character's motivation. Her thought process doesn't make sense. The conclusion she comes to at the end of the second act makes no sense. There is exposition in the movie that states specifically why her thought process is not right, but she sticks to it anyway. This whole moment is "solved" with a trope to change the main characters' mind but it still bothers me. That trope's execution is pretty good because of the reasoning for the conflict that it incites is profound. You might guess the trope and action that come with it, but the reasoning behind it is kinda cool.
Overall, The Cloverfield Paradox continues a series that I am very interested in. It isn't even that long and it is on Netflix in the United States. I think Paramount selling US distribution to Netflix for this movie was a great idea and a win for Netflix users in the US. It is a really cool Sci-fi movie that depicts a really interesting paradox in space and time that probably wouldn't have been made without the Cloverfield name. You should definitely watch it.