Annihilation – 4K UHD Review

Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction psychological horror film that was written and directed by Alex Garland, and is based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. It stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. The story follows a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer”, a mysterious quarantined zone of mutating landscapes and transmogrifying creatures.

The movie starts out at the US government’s Area X facility that’s located on a southern coast, where cellular biology professor and former US Army soldier Lena undergoes a quarantined debriefing about an exception into the anomaly known as “The Shimmer”, from which she and her husband are the only survivors.  In a flashback, her husband, an Army Special Forces soldier named Kane, returns without warning to their home after having gone missing on a mission nearly a year ago.  He remembers absolutely nothing of that time and suddenly falls very ill.

The film was released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on February 23, 2018 and in China (the only other country to have a theatrical release) on April 13, 2018. It was also released digitally by Netflix in a number of other countries March 12, 2018. As of May 12, 2018, Annihilation has grossed $42.9 million worldwide against a net production budget of $40 million.

The Film Itself (4/5):

Offering a considerably strange and challenging theme to follow, Annihilation is one science fiction film that you need to really pay attention to the minute details as it plays on.  If you accidentally miss something, you will find yourself confused to the very end as this movie is pretty elaborate and still leaves you asking questions as the end credits are rolling across your television screen.  As my wife and I watched this movie, we found to be one that grabbed our attention from the get-go, one that maintained our attention through to the end, and one that piqued our interest through and through to the end.  Do I think that it lived up to all of the hype that I saw across the various forums?  Absolutely not, but I will tell you that I really enjoyed it for what it was.

Picture Quality (5/5):

Annihilation is another native 4K UHD release that utilizes HDR10 and Dolby Vision and offers an extremely jaw dropping, beautiful experience for anyone who’s set up to make use of the technologies behind the 4K UHD format.  Everything about this film really shined as it played out across my living room television as it made the experience that much more realistic.  One series of events that really shined as we watched this last night has to be as the crew were venturing through the jungle.  The way that the rain-forest looked on my living room tv just really stood out to me with this release as you could see the natural looking saturation on the plants and the grit of the grains of dirt on the ground as they made their way onward.

Audio Quality (5/5):

Packed with an English Dolby Atmos audio track, Annihilation packs one hell of a punching audio track that’s absolutely as immersive as you can get with a film like this.  Providing what felt to be a more than accurate representation of the elements that the crew were navigating through, and making use of the surround and elevated aspects of the scene, this release really shined as it roared through my home theater system.  It wasn’t until a very noteworthy scene near the end of the film (trying to avoid spoilers) that this movie really powerhoused and the audio track made itself a shining example of the technology behind it.

The Packaging (2.5/5):

The 4K UHD release of Annihilation comes packaged in your standard two-disc 4K UHD amaray case.  Within that case is the standard 4K UHD copy of the film as well as the standard Blu-ray copy of the film, neither of the discs featuring any artwork that’s related to the film whatsoever, and only bears the standard release text and generic blue or black black background on the disc respectively.  There are no DVD copies included with this release; however, there is a digital copy redemption pamphlet that has been included for the various streaming options.  There is also a slipcover that’s been provided during the original pressing of the release that features the same piece of artwork that’s been provided on the case art.

  

Special Features (4/5):

The 4K UHD release of Annihilation is just like any other standard 4K UHD release as there are no additional features packaged on the 4K UHD disc.  All additional content is made available on the included Blu-ray copy of the film; and the content that has been provided, it offers not only a really nicely done extended view into the story of the film, but there are some behind the scenes looks of the work that went into making this film.  Included with this release is:

  • REFRACTIONS: Story Origins
  • FOR THOSE THAT FOLLOW: Casting Annihilation
  • SHIMMER: Shooting On Location
  • VANISHED INTO HAVOC: Visual & Special Effects
  • AND MORE!

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)

Subtitles

English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Runtime

Original Film: 115 minutes

Final Thoughts:

I won’t lie, originally I had absolutely no intention of seeing Annihilation; but, after doing some research into the premise after it showed up to my doorstep, I definitely got more interested.  The story that’s presented with this film is indeed a complex one, and is one that requires that you pay attention to every detail as it progresses.  But, it’s also one that you should find enjoyable if you’re into the science fiction genre.  The visual and audible presentation of this particular release is one that really shined and made an example of the presentation capabilities of my personal setup, that I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to experience this.  If you’re considering grabbing this for your collection, I would hands down recommend that you do so and pick it up in 4K.  Annihilation will be available for pick up on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

PLEASE NOTE: The 4K UHD release of this film is exclusive to Best Buy.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.

 

Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

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