I’m sure I’ll enjoy watching Annihilation at home, but I’m also a movie nerd with a projector and an extensive surround sound setup. If you’re just watching it on a TV or – movie gods forbid – on your laptop or tablet, you’ll definitely miss out on the film’s epic scope and rich sound design. The film’s astounding finale, a dialogue-free visual feast that would be right at home at the Museum of Modern Art, felt almost like a collective religious experience. Seeing a film in a theater, especially a film as masterful as Annihilation, is a bit like going to church. It’s the first time I’ve been denied the opportunity to watch an Alex Garland movie in a cinema, which is how I’d experienced all of his work thus far, from 28 Days Later onward. If you want to get pedantic about it, there’s a film theory term – scopophilia – which denotes the pleasure you get from watching something. On a TV screen, the Floridian visuals aren’t too broad or deep, but claustrophobic and tight, and in my notes I wrote that the film “Isn’t cinematic.” It didn’t look like a $40 million movie, but perhaps that’s because the TV sapped all of those lush visuals and made it look more pedestrian.
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