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S&S Reviews: Annihilation (the film)

That bubble is terrifying, alien, and probably destroyed my, I'm going in!

But should you? I've rallied some guides for you.

Warning: partial spoilers ahead.


An alien substance hits earth creating a bubble-like zone (referred to as "The Shimmer") that transforms whatever it touches. Lena (Natalie Portman), along with a group of scientists, ventures into the mysterious bubble to discover what happened to her husband. Watch the trailer. The film is rated R.


It's on Redbox right now. You can also rent it on Amazon.



Rotten Tomatoes: Critics -- 88%; Audience -- 66%. Critics consensus:

"Annihilation backs up its sci-fi visual wonders and visceral genre thrills with an impressively ambitious -- and surprisingly strange -- exploration of challenging themes that should leave audiences pondering long after the end credits roll."


One-Minute Review: Father Thomas McKenzie likes sci-fi, but wasn't thrilled with Annihilation. Here's a glimpse of what he has to say:

"One of the things I'm looking for in sci-fi , and probably movies in general, is...what's the message you're trying to communicate to me? And [in Annihilation] I'm like...I have no idea."

Watch his 1 minute and 50 second video review.

Plugged-in: Keeping families in mind, Focus on the Family reviewer Paul Asay gives it a one star rating (out of five). Here's a highlight of his review:

"And the film talks about us, too—the 'mistakes' in our cells, our propensity for self-destruction. We root for humanity here, but the film still wallows in ambiguity … not just in its ending, but in the very nature of this story's strange, terrible, beautiful, extra-natural villain."

He reviews the movie's content (for sex, violence, language, and themes) and gives a heavy caution for kids and teens and a medium caution for adults. The movie is rated R. Read the full review.

>>WHAT TYPE OF STORY IS IT? Whole? Bent? Broken?* (Partial Spoiler)

Maybe whole, probably broken. Good and evil seem distinct, but it's not clear who's victorious in the end.

*(These categories are adapted from A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 66. For my use of them see my posts on broken and bent stories.)


I was disappointed with Annihilation. I enjoy sci-fi, but I found Annihilation slow and confusing. I cared little for the characters, and I wasn't impressed with the ending.

The critics liked it, but the film sheds little on the human condition that's helpful to us, and unless you want to spend another hour after the film going...what? huh? I recommend you saving your 115 minutes and $2.


Dane Bundy is president of Stage & Story, director of Arrowhead Theatre Arts, and is on staff at LifeHouse Theater. He and his wife live in Lake Arrowhead, CA.

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