Ex Machina Director's Annihilation Has 'Mind-Blowing' Ending

Natalie Portman cast in Annihilation

Author Jeff VanderMeer says to expect great things from Ex Machina writer/director Alex Garland's upcoming movie adaptation of VanderMeer's novel, Annihilation. The book Annihilation was published in 2014 and serves as the first chapter in VanderMeer's Southern Reach novel trilogy. Said sci-fi series in no small part revolves around Area X, a region of the world that has not been conquered by human civilization - and a place that is not governed by the regular laws of nature that humans abide by, during their everyday lives.

Garland's film version of Annihilation stars Natalie Portman as a scientist who sets out on an expedition to Area X, after her husband (played by Garland's Ex Machina star, Oscar Isaac) returns permanently and mysteriously changed, in the wake of his own year-long trip to the region. The first footage from Annihilation was shown at CinemaCon earlier this year and seemed to leave a strong impression on those who saw it - meaning, VanderMeer isn't the only one suggesting that Garland's next sci-fi offering could be as good as (if not better than) his acclaimed work on Ex Machina.

Speaking to The Watch podcast, VanderMeer revealed that he has already attended a test screening for Annihilation. In addition to praising Garland as being a true auteur (while explaining that Garland himself "says he's not an auteur"), VanderMeer touched upon how the film version of his first Southern Reach novel differs in terms of not only tone, but the actual ending to the story:

“It’s actually more surreal than the novel. There are a couple places where I was like, ‘I might need an anchor here.’ The ending is so mind-blowing and in some ways different from the book that it seems to be the kind of ending that, like 2001 or something like that, people will be talking about around the watercooler for years. Visually, it’s amazing. I must say that and that’s all I probably should say.”

Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thompson on the Annihilation set

The ending to Ex Machina prompted its fair share of discussion when the film hit theaters, so it's not so surprising to hear that Annihilation aims to wrap up on a similarly impressionable and memorable note. Garland, as a storyteller, has a long track record of putting semi-surreal and though-provoking spins on sci-fi genre conventions with his work too; be it with Ex Machina, his decidedly post-modern 1998 novel, The Tesseract, or his screenplay for director Danny Boyle's 2007 film, Sunshine. That is to say, there's good reason to take VanderMeer at his word here, as a "mind-blowing" ending (of the good or bad variety) would be par the course for Garland.

Annihilation will be all the more unusual an addition to the larger sci-fi film genre for a much simpler reason altogether: its primary characters are pretty much entirely female. Joining Portman in the movie adaptation are Jane the Virgin herself, Gina Rodriguez, as well as fast-rising star Tessa Thompson (no stranger to mind-bending sci-fi herself, following Westworld), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Sonoya Mizuno (who played Kyoko in Ex Machina). Coupled with VanderMeer's own comments, the cast for Annihilation alone gives fans of Garland's previous work all the more reason to be excited about what he's cooking up next.

NEXT: Annihilation CinemaCon Footage Description

Annihilation is currently expected to reach theaters in 2018. We will let you know when an official release date is announced.

Source: The Watch

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