SnowBoy81 commented :
Reviews annihilation 2018 The early 8.3 IMDb rating–and the rapid drop to 7.2 (so far)–reminds me of what happened with A Knight’s Tale (2001). That one started with an 8+ rating and had a bunch of glowing critics’ comments on the poster, so I dragged a friend to see it.
Turns out A Knight’s Tale was a silly dumb comedy, about in the same league as Airplane II (the sequel, not the original, which was fairly inventive and still remains very quotable). I scratched my head for a while, until learning that the studio got caught hiring a fake critic to write up a fake adulatory review. Apparently it was monkey see, monkey do with the “top critics,” who all sang the praises for this “innovatively charming” and “brilliantly irreverent” film. With actors like Heath Ledger and Paul Bettany, it couldn’t stink too much, but it was such an intentional goofball flick, an 8+ rating just did not make sense. Over the years, the rating for AKT has steadily dropped to a more reasonable 6.9.
Is Annihilation another case of rigged reviews skewing the rating process, or at least of monkey see, monkey do? More relevant is how far its IMDb rating will drop, as the unbiased honesty of real viewers increasingly outweighs the misguided early reviews of “professional critics?”
I’d say this visually stimulating but logically gapped product is comparable to an M. Night Shyamalan flick of the past 10 years (post-The Village), meaning somewhere between 5.0 and 6.0. But my guess is it won’t get watched enough or long enough to drop to its natural true rating. So maybe it’ll flatten out and stay at a moderately overrated 6.6 forever. But who cares?
While watching the movie, I was both engrossed by the events playing out onscreen while at the same time thinking “this could be done better”. To me, the writing felt like it was done by a smart Middle-Schooler: smart enough to understand some science concepts and have a few interesting ideas, but too naive in the world to create realistic or logical human behavior.
There are just too many times that things occur that have no sense or logic. I’m not talking about the “alien” aspect, which is supposed to be somewhat mysterious and incomprehensible, but about the way that the humans in the story act or react to what’s going on. The way that the government is handling the phenomenon seems strangely hands-off for what should be the most important event in the history of humanity, and the individuals involved make lots of odd decisions just to drive the story forward.
On top of that, there is a framing device where a survivor is being interrogated about the events of what is shown throughout the movie, and it not only doesn’t provide any additional illumination to bother with the clunkiness, it tends to deflate a lot of the tension by giving away certain plot points before you see them on screen. The ending is more just vague for the sense of being mysterious rather than making you really ask questions afterward. I suspect that if you asked the Director how the ending related to the rest of the movie, he would’t be able to give more of an answer than he wanted things to be left open-ended.
Finally, the characters are all fairly morose and sedated. There’s a (weak) explanation in the movie for this, but the overall low energy makes you not care too much about any of the characters.