I loved the Southern Reach Trilogy, especially Annihilation. I wouldn’t say the book is for everyone it is weird, very, very weird, but I was hooked. I was really excited to see the movie to get a better visual of the story, more than what I had made up in my head while reading.
I finally got around to watching the movie, and it’s a pretty good……..Nothing like the book, but good. I would say that the movie was rather loosely based on the novel. If you go into this wanting to see a movie that is exactly the same as a the book, you will be disappointed, so just sit back and enjoy the film.
It seems to me they took the general premise of the book, and wrote a whole new story. The main draw to this book for me was the Tower, its mystery and suspense around it. The Tower wasn’t in the movie at all, I kept waiting for it’s discovery and it never happened. I was really disappointed about that part, I wanted to see the writing on the wall and the Crawler.
One thing that I thought was well done, was the animals. The creatures that people in Area X had transformed into was everything that I had hoped for. Hearing their distorted voices and seeing them all disfigured was pretty much exactly what I had been picturing in my head.
I can’t really say they changed Area X all that much since visually its basically a forest, beach and some swamp. Buuuuuut, the border is visible in the movie….. I don’t know how I feel about that. On one hand it looks really cool, like a giant bubble. On the other hand, I also liked the mystery of a border no one can see, like a giant scary version of a two way mirror, everything looked normal but all was not well on the other side.
They spent a lot more time in the movie out side of Area X, this did no go over well with me. That was the whole point of the book. If they had spent less time on an affair that never happened, maybe they could have included the Tower. These parts I just found to be annoying, I wanted to see Area X!
I thought the Psychologist and the Biologist were perfect for their rolls, while the others I found it hard to distinguish who was who. Unlike where they gave the women names in the movie, in the novel I liked the fact that they were only identified why their rolls on the team. I felt like it added something to the story. Since very little was given about their backgrounds they only way for me to identify them was through their rolls on the team. In the book it remained clear what each of them was there to do. But in the movie, it was very unclear what their jobs were, so the names didn’t help me (also the 5th woman went into Area X in the movie, so that threw me off quite a bit too).
Okay, now the ending. The ending in the movie had zero to do with the book. Where the novel leaves the ending open for the following two books to come. The movie, gives a more concrete finale, which still had nothing to do with the ending of the series even. I am going to say the film ending used some creative license.
In the end I am going to say I definitely preferred the books. But if you have no intention to read them and are interested int he movie alone. It’s alright, you are going to find it very weird and most likely when the credits start rolling you will most likely be saying to yourself WTF did I just watch.
I find it hard to compare a book to its movie counterpart when it is so different, but in the end I think it is best too look at these as two separate pieces of work. Enjoy them for what they are, comparing is just frustrating.