2 October 2018

Fortune Favours The Dumb

Join us on Facebook!
It took me so many attempts to get my drivers licence that, had I failed my final test, then I was genuinely prepared to claim the instructor had touched me on my 'no no parts' to blackmail them into passing me. I know that sounds terrible but they were failing me over such pedantic reasons that I started to suspect they were only doing it to fund their fucking Christmas party. As a consolation, I was told that the smarter a person is, the harder they find driving because people with a brain tend to overthink a situation instead of responding naturally. “Great”, I thought, “the world favours the morons once again”. First we weren't allowed free Pogs in our packets of crisps because some knobhead chocked to death on one and now I'm paying almost a hundred fucking quid a go because I signalled before checking my twatting mirror. Well, that was ten years ago, and although to be fair it has subsequently turned out that I am just a bit of a shit driver, it seems that the world is still looking after the idiots. This was meant to be the year that writer director Alex Garland had Annihilation, the follow up to his amazing directorial debut Ex Machina, released in cinemas only to find that idea shat all over by the kingdom of the fucking dumb at the last minute.

After the studio lost money on the batshit brilliance that was Aronofsky's mother! they decided that Annihilation was a little too smart for the average punter and so gave Garland a few notes on how to dumb it down. In response he gave them a few notes on how to go fuck themselves and insisted that the film he'd made should remain how it was. Worrying that the average cinema goer would rather pay to see a Transformers film and then wank themselves to death in a gutter, it was decided that Garland could keep his version but the international distribution rights would be sold to Netflix. As a result, any of us that weren't up for a bus ride to either America or fucking China would miss out on seeing the movie on the big screen in favour of having it dumped directly onto the streaming service. It's kind of like giving birth to a baby Stephen Hawking and then deciding that he's too smart to play with the children you know and so shoving him in a basket and kicking him down the river to float his way to the clever people like a giant brainy turd. That's all fine, but had baby Hawking been allowed to play with the stupid kids is it not possible that they'd have become slightly smarter from spending time with him? And that perhaps they're only dumb because you only give them mud and a dead cat to play with?

People only pay to see shite featuring the vacuous Optimus Prime because that's generally all they're given and as a result they plateau on a mountain top of their own fucking idiocy. But nobody likes to feel stupid and so if more smart movies were released then the simple folk would either brighten up to match them or simply lie about understanding it to avoid seeming thick. Either way we'd eventually end up with a society that doesn't require a 'Do Not Drink' warning on fucking bleach. I appreciate that none of this will ever happen because films need to make money and the blockheaded pissants that shamble about our planet would rather bankrupt a studio before straining a single fucking brain cell. However I do worry about the precedent that's now been set by Annihilation in which we're apparently going to start disregarding films that dare to challenge their audience. Especially considering how deserving of a big screen this film truly is. The movie begins with Oscar Isaac, a missing soldier, returning home to Natalie Portman, his professor wife, after being missing for a year. Interestingly he avoids having to explain what is clearly an alcoholic bender that got out of control by vomiting up his guts and being rushed to hospital. On their way, the ambulance is intercepted by a shadowy organisation who explain that Portman and her husband have to go with them. It might seem suspicious but considering the cost of healthcare in America I think I'd take my chances with them too.

The shadowy organisation explains to Portman that a meteor recently hit the country and has started emitting a growing, rainbow coloured force-field thing from its core. Imagine another remake of The Blob but sponsored by the gay community and that's kind of what it looks like. Isaac was one of the many crack-teams to go into the blob thing that everybody has started calling The Shimmer which is both an apt name for it and coincidentally what I call my pubes after having them Pejazzled. Isaac however is the only person to ever emerge from the area, with the one downside being that he has no idea where he's been or how he got out of it. It's suspected that once inside either something kills everybody or they all go nuts and turn on each other like a reality show eviction night. A new all-female crew is gearing up to go, in which Portman decides she should be a part of because of her current expertise as a professor of cellular activity and her history as a soldier. To be fair she does sound pretty perfect for it.. which is proof that this movie is a fantasy because in the real world she'd be turned away from the job interview for being over-qualified. Because that's a thing, apparently. Oh well. Another point for the morons. Well done me for getting my pointless fucking degree. Anyway...! I guess Portman figures that having been in the army she might be able to kill any creature that attacks in there, or at the very least she might already be closer to snapping and going on a rampage than any of her other team mates. Of course this might sound like a fucking stupid thing for her to do considering how low the odds of her return are but that's kind of exactly the point. In many ways another title for this film could be Suicide Squad except that title is already taken.. and that film was total fucking shit.. which is probably why it was released cinematically.. and has a sequel on the way.. God I fucking hate the public.

Since Annihilation was released there have been a lot of online articles written with titles along the lines of 'Annihilation explained', which is kind of bullshit. Movies shouldn't be viewed as a word-search with hidden answers to find but rather they're more like a Rorschach test in which it's more interesting to have your own viewpoint reflected back at you. A film's ambiguities are kind of like the lyrics to a Rammstein song which sound cool in German but read like they were written by an angsty nine year old that's been whacked on the head when translated. The brilliance behind the spinning top at the end of Inception is that its 'truth' is left to the audience. Had director Christopher Nolan then given away the end of his movie then the next time you watched it the tension would be gone and the scene would feel dragged out. Of course we should always trust the story over the story teller but it's worth noting that Alex Garland's reading of Annihilation is that it's about self-destruction. The film explores the idea that self-destruction is simply a part of who we are with death being a fault in our genes and most people fucking up their own lives in one way or another. The women by their own admission are “damaged goods” with each of them tormented by their own psychological demons. There's a scene in the movie which is similar to Quint's scar-off in Jaws except because women tend to be more cerebral and less blunt than men, their scars are all psychological and not simply because they tried to punch a fucking shark in the face... perhaps we need signs on all sharks saying "Do Not Fistfight".

The concept of cancer constantly pops up too which is obviously a motiveless killer that our cells occasionally decide to create for the sake of it. I'm not a doctor, but essentially it's a cell which loses its ability to destroy itself. At least one character has cancer involved in their backstory, Portman is a professor that's working to cure cancer, and The Shimmer itself is essentially a cancer on our planet. However the most popular disease that audiences seem to be seeing in the film is that of depression or anxiety. When the women enter The Shimmer they instantly lose several days of their life with no ability to account for what they've done. I've never suffered depression to that degree but I'm told that you can experience something similar when going through it. Obviously I've been depressed because who the fuck hasn't these days? But even at my lowest, I'm a punctual fucker and I'll be damned if I'm going to be late just because my brain has decided to cripple me with self-hatred. At one point a character is quite literally crushed by a version of themselves which could clearly represent the battle you have with yourself and the suffocating feeling of anxiety. Oh, and without giving too much away, it's often said that when people suffer from depression they don't seem like themselves anymore. Well, as Annihilation goes on, there might end up being a reason within the story that characters start to seem like different people. Because Tom Cruise is actually playing them all in his amazing Mission: Impossible masks. Joke. Obviously that's not true. If Tom Cruise had been in Annihilation then it definitely would have been shown in cinemas... like Knight And Day was... and Rock Of Ages... AND THE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT MUMMY... I seriously fucking hate the public.

Of course I'm not suggesting that anybody that leaves Annihilation with questions or confusions is thick. The point of the movie is for you to continue discussing what the hell it's about once the credits have rolled. The people I hate are those that dismiss the film or slag it off having actively refused to engage in it. Not least of all because even on the surface, Annihilation is a pretty brilliant movie as it is. You don't need to notice that the gorgeous visuals of the crystal trees are reminiscent of the synapses of a brain to enjoy a film that features a crocodile with the rows of teeth of a fucking shark. There's a bear attack at one point that's genuinely one of the tensest scenes I've seen in any movie ever. Having seen that I think I'd freak out and try to defend myself from fucking Paddington if that little bugger turned up. Although based on a book, Garland adapted the whole thing from memory in an attempt to carry across the surreal dreamlike feel of the source material. Although that just sounds like a really great excuse to get out of having to read the book again if you ask me. Imagine a cross between Apocalypse Now, The Thing, and The Descent, or if Tarkovsky had directed a live-action Pokemon that felt closer to Cannibal Holocaust, and you've got this movie. Did it deserve to be shown on the big screen? Well, bearing in mind that the end is now being compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey, I'd say it certainly fucking does. You could even argue that this is cinema's way of self-annihilating if it's going to start dumping its highbrow stuff whilst giving Peter fucking Rabbit a wide release. Thanks for reading and see you next time motherfuckers.

No comments :

Post a Comment