The 2010s weren’t short on great sci-fi films, but perhaps the best of all the sci-fi films that came out during that decade was Annihilation, which is currently streaming on Netflix. However, that won’t be the case for long, as the film will be leaving the streaming platform soon. If you missed this one, make sure to do yourself a favor and check it out while you have the chance.
Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman, is the best sci-fi movie of the last decade, and it’s leaving Netflix on September 29.
Annihilation is adapted from the 2014 novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer and follows a group of explorers as they enter “the Shimmer,” a mysterious zone that is changing the animals and plants within its barriers. Alex Garland adapted the novel for the screen and also directed the film. The 2010s was a banner decade for Garland, who also directed Ex Machina in 2014 — a film that could also easily claim the title of the decade’s best sci-fi.
Annihilation also put together a star-studded cast that includes Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. While the film received largely positive reviews, it didn’t necessarily do big numbers at the box office, only making around $43.1 million worldwide against a production budget of roughly $40 to $45 million. However, the film found more interest with its home release, and it has become something of a sci-fi cult classic in the years since.
The original Annihilation novel was similarly praised and won the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel.
Annihilation has just about everything you could want out of a prestige sci-fi film. Along with the fantastic performances from the main cast, it has a highly interesting and mysterious concept, mind-bending moments, and a story that keeps you engaged throughout. While the film isn’t an exact adaptation of the fantastic source material, it doesn’t really need to be. Fans of the book will find plenty to like about this adaptation, and those who watch the movie will still find it an interesting read if they check out the book later.
The original Annihilation novel was similarly praised and won the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel. Author Jeff VanderMeer wrote two sequels to the book to create the Southern Reach trilogy. In an interesting move, VanderMeer released the books in quick succession, releasing all of them in a short 8-month period.
Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, and the film only adapts this book. The two follow-up books are titled Authority and Acceptance, and they come together to easily make the Southern Reach trilogy one of the best sci-fi trilogies of the decade as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll get film adaptations of the other books anytime soon.
Since Annihilation wasn’t really a big hit at the box office, it doesn’t seem likely that Authority and Acceptance will be getting their own on-screen adaptation. Of course, that doesn’t mean the film isn’t worth checking out. It tells a complete story, and you can easily watch it by itself without expecting anything to come after it.
Annihilation made only $43 million at the box office, falling just short of its estimated production budget of $45 million.
If anything, watching the film and reading the Annihilation novel are experiences worth having. After you watch the film or read the novel, you have two more books of content to check out that expand the world that VanderMeer created. While it would certainly be cool to see film versions of Authority and Acceptance, the books are more than entertaining enough to make them easily recommendable.
VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy is named for the agency that puts together the expeditions into Area X (aka the Shimmer). Annihilation follows the latest of these expeditions while Authority dives deeper into the Southern Reach agency. Meanwhile, the Acceptance novel provides a satisfying end to the trilogy and jumps between the perspectives of different characters from the previous two novels.
In short, if you love the Annihilation film or novel then you’ll have plenty of content set in that world to keep you busy. With that being said, you might want to prioritize watching the film over reading the books, mostly because the film is about to leave Netflix, and it might be a bit harder to watch. The film is set to be on Netflix until the end of the month, with the very last day to watch on September 29.