March 11, 2018

Don't Ever Stop Asking Questions: Annihilation (2018)
Image Credit: Wikimedia
Why is it that we're all taught (whether implicitly or explicitly) that asking questions is for children only when the truth is that anyone who has ever accomplished anything extraordinary did so by asking questions? It's one of the mysteries of adulthood, but let's abandon that age-old idea and get back to basics. Let's foster our inquisitive nature by continuing to ask questions no matter how old we are because, after all, how can we be our best selves or change any paradigms if we simply stand by and just accept what people tell us as fact. Here's another thought: What if the person that's telling you not to ask questions doesn't know any more than you do?

We've all been there. Whether you're in a job interview and you aren't quite sure what the position pays or you're not entirely sure your colleagues should pitch the marketing campaign you've been working on because something just seems off, but you don't want to undermine your boss by asking questions and potentially lose your job, the fact is you should never be afraid to ask questions. And the sci-fi horror movie Annihilation (2018) is a perfect example of why we shouldn't stop, no matter who or what we are up against.

In the movie Annihilation (2018), Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman plays a biologist named Lena who is on a mission to find out what happened to her husband Kane (Oscar Issac), a sergeant and former Army Special Services soldier who mysteriously appears after a year-long disappearance on a secret military expedition. Naturally, Lena has a few questions. No, scratch that, she has a lot of questions like: Where were you and perhaps equally important, why are you acting so weird? More on the latter later. After a short warm reception of her once-thought-dead husband, things quickly turn life and death as Kane goes into shock. On their way to the hospital, a caravan of government officials intercepts their ambulance and takes them both into custody. For Lena, things were just getting started.

At Area X, Lena questions the psychologist, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is brought in to debrief her about her husband's condition and his whereabouts for nearly a year. Rightfully, Lena is unsatisfied with the explanations she is provided or lack thereof when she turns the tables on Dr. Ventress. Because of her curiosity about what happened to her husband while on that special mission into "the shimmer" and her expertise, Lena is recruited to join the current all-female team (which includes Anya Thorenson, a paramedic, Josie Radek, a physicist, Cass Sheppard, a surveyor and geologist, and Dr. Ventress) to investigate. It almost goes without saying that the trip into "the shimmer" was nothing short of drama, and as Lena said, it was "a suicide mission."

Image result for annihilation movie
Image Credit: Vimeo
Nevertheless, the women pressed on, even as they were all picked off the group one by one until there was one woman left standing: Lena. Thanks to her previous experience in the Army and her inquisitive yet practical experience as a biologist, Lena made it to their destination (the lighthouse on the beach) where she finds an emotional Dr. Ventress hidden in a hole. Dr. Ventress explains to her that extraterrestrials are behind everything happening in "the shimmer" and warns her that they will take over the world. Additionally, Lena encounters two pivotal things: a video of her real husband's suicide (via grenade) and an extraterrestrial who upon absorbing a drop of blood from Lena's face, turns into a humanoid that mimics Lena's every move. Lena eventually exploits the humanoid's behavior to cause its death by placing a grenade in its hands, which allows Lena to escape the lighthouse before it goes up in flames. After her debriefing, Lena goes to visit Kane and we learn that neither are what they appear to be. So, in the end, Dr. Ventress may have been right after all.

While Annihilation (2018) is a thought-provoking movie about so many things, primarily life as we know it, it also reminds us that we should never stop asking questions, no matter what the cost. Like Lena in the movie, we have to pursue answers about the things that matter to us, especially as it relates to the ones we love. So, go forth and keep asking questions because you'll never get to the truth of the matter if you don't. Who knows, it may take you down a new path that you never quite imagined, which can be a good thing. And remember, the only "bad" question is the one that is never asked.