Vanyaland encourages every American to vote on November 3. Click here to register.

‘Annihilation’ Trailer: Natalie Portman has to save her husband in Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller


So we’ve been cautiously looking forward to Ex Machina director and 28 Days Later scribe Alex Garland’s take on Annihilation, the critically acclaimed 2014 novel from writer Jeff VanderMeer.

It’s got the kind of star ensemble that normally only exists in the mind of the most hopeful Tumblr user — Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez and Oscar fucking Issac are all a part of this — and we’re always interested in Garland’s work, even if his filmography might be a bit more hit-or-miss than his most ardent supporters would suggest. The plot seems fascinating as well, about a team of women who travel into a weird place beyond time and space known only as “Area X.”

But this latest trailer has fans of the novel panicked, and while we normally don’t give a shit what people who liked the book better think (given that those same people unfairly maligned movies like Never Let Me Go before they even had a chance), it seems like they’re stressed with good reason.


Before we go any further, take a gander at the trailer, which is admittedly very pretty:

Well, that’s something!


First, let’s go over some of the behind-the-scenes drama. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie apparently tested poorly last summer, which bodes poorly for your mother but bodes well for the kind of critic who gets a hard-on from movies that score an F Cinemascore, and Skydance CEO (and Geostorm backer) David Ellison allegedly put pressure on producer Scott Rudin to change swaths of the film to help improve its audience reception and marketability.

Rudin, who had final cut, declined, and Skydance assumed they’d take a loss. So, they sold the international distribution rights to Netflix, where it will hit the streaming service some 17 days after it premieres in US theaters. That’s kind of an unusual deal, and it expresses a definitely lack of confidence in the final product.

Secondly (and this is what has us bothered a bit), the movie seems to misunderstand the characters, at least according to some prominent fans of the book on Twitter, like Screencrush writer Britt Hayes:

We agree with Hayes here, and it feels just sort of weird that Garland, coming off of a project like Ex Machina, would be more sensitive to this. Either way, you’ll be able to find out for yourself next year, when Annihilation hits theaters on February 23.

Image via Paramount/Skydance.