Book vs. Movie: Annihilation

Hello, my darling readers!
A while ago I shared my reviews on the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Well, I was originally inspired to pick up the books because a friend told me about this very adaptation. So let’s see how it holds up in comparison!

The Plot:

An expedition is about to enter the shimmer. It’s a mysterious area nobody can seem to figure out. Filled with both plant and animal mutations the shimmer hadn’t been friendly to past expeditions. Will this one be different?

Book vs. Movie:

Okay, those of you who already checked out my book review know that I didn’t love it. I really appreciate the idea that is behind the story but the execution drove me nuts.

The novel is narrated by the biologist and we don’t know how much of a reliable narrator she is (and never really find out).
The book keeps raising question after question without answering any of them. It’s quite obscure and VanderMeer tried hard to keep it all feeling mysterious right ’till the end.

Unfortunately, that resulted in a story that’s boring and dragging on at times paired with irritating moments that you won’t be able to make sense of. I hade expected something more, something different. Ultimately, the book was a bit of a letdown.

The movie is definitely a step up from the literary guideline. It has a rather different vibe and many aspects of the story were changed or left out.
I think the story works better this way. Instead of piling up new stuff without actually dealing with what is already there, the film focuses on a few chosen moments.

This way, you can actually follow the story and try to make sense of what is going on. Of course, the stunning imagery is helpful in that department as well. If you talk about a mutated animal it’s nice to get a visual on that!
Anyways, especially the vegetation and the final scene with Jennifer Jason Leigh were remarkable.

What I enjoyed about the adaptation are the little details. There are many things you might not notice unless you pay really close attention and that’s something I really appreciate in films.

The characters didn’t convince me, however, as most of the dialogue was rather stilted and dry. Portman gave a great performance with lots of expressions but she couldn’t really hold this all together by herself.

Annihilation works far better on the screen than on pages. Although the movie is flawed it is a fascinating experience that will provide you with some food for thought.

Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!

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One thought on “Book vs. Movie: Annihilation

  1. Pingback: Wrapping it up for January! | The Punk Theory

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