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Annihilation || noiƚɒliʜinnA

Which poster do you prefer?

  • Pretty colours

  • Creepy skull


Results are only viewable after voting.

The Scribbling Man

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AKA, an edit of the 2018 Alex Garland film.

This was made some months ago, but I've not been able to justify putting the time into prepping for release. I thought I'd throw a thread out there finally though, just to let people know that it exists and that more information will arrive eventually. In the meantime, maybe some of you can help me decide on a poster? (see poll above) I made both of these a while ago and am torn on which one I'll use...


annihilation-poster-2-000000.png




annihilation-poster-3-000000.png

Edit: summary and cutlist added.

Brief Summary:
A moderate edit that keeps the central themes intact but presents them in a less heavy-handed fashion. Action sequences have been re-cut, FX work has been tweaked, and bad/expository dialogue is kept to a minimum, with some scenes rescored to help create a more consistently ethereal atmosphere. Some tweaks for pacing have been made, but the nonlinear structure is retained. One flash forward is cut, another is incorporated as a voice-over, and most are trimmed. The lighthouse finale is left untouched.

The Gist:
  • The CSN song, 'Hopelessly Hoping', doesn't score the film but remains diegetic. Lena's grieving montage is rescored with the title theme.
  • No acoustic guitar is used once we enter the shimmer. Scenes have been rescored so that the atmosphere remains ethereal and otherworldly.
  • The reveal that Lena is having an affair is delayed until later in the film. When it is revealed it is shown visually only, and we do not have an extended scene of dialogue explaining the situation.
  • Most flashforwards are trimmed. One is reworked entirely and merged with a travel montage, with added visuals to emphasise themes. The last flashforward is cut entirely.
  • Ventress is less ambivalent during her introduction.
  • Anya's quirky introduction is toned down. The rest of the team's introduction is trimmed.
  • Anya becomes subtly unhinged rather than laughably psychotic.
  • Characters don't explicitly feed us information in unrealistic ways. We can figure some things out for ourselves.
  • Various tweaks made for pacing and to to improve how characters come across.
  • Weak CGI is either cut, trimmed or tweaked. Eg. the alligator blood is less brashly red; the bear is more often kept in shadow. The dual-deer is reduced to a brief shot during a re-worked montage.
  • The entire lighthouse sequence is untouched, because it kicks ass.
Complete cutlist:
  • 0:00:00 - Added source warning
  • 0:00:23 - Blended FE logo with Paramount logo
  • 0:00:44 - Added TSM branding
  • 0:02:49 - Marginal sharpening applied to FX shot
  • 0:03:00 - Tweaked title to reflect title of edit
  • 0:05:28-6:28 - Rescored audio. Foley replacement. The title theme now plays instead of CSN (which remains diegetic in the following scene).
  • 0:06:57 - In the theatrical cut the CSN track begins to act as a score to the scene and increases in volume. It now remains diegetic at a consistent volume level with adjustments to reflect room acoustics. The reverb tail no longer carries into the following scene.
  • 0:10:38-11:27 - Ambulance scene features some very minor trims to aid the sense of urgency. The scene is partially rescored (with the same piece of music) to aid cuts. Nothing much can be done about Portman's weak performance here, but she now only cries out 'let him go' once before getting knocked out.

Numerous changes to Ventress' introduction, showing her to be a little less ambivalent and uncaring. I get that it's part of her character, but it verges on caricature. The dialogue plays out mostly the same, but paced slightly differently. Shots have been moved around and cut so that we see less of her looking away and examining her nails:

  • 0:13:58 - Instead of a shot of Ventress turning around, we cut to a shot of Lena.
  • 0:14:01 - Alternate shot of Lena through the window.
  • 0:14:05 - Ventress no longer coldly says 'it's not easy to move on'.
  • 0:14:07 - Shot of Ventress turning around moved to here. Partially redubbed with a different line of dialogue. This and the following shot of Lena through the window are used in order to avoid shot of Ventress looking at her nails.
  • 0:14:17 - shot cropped to focus on Ventress' face and avoid her playing with her nails.
  • 0:14:28 - shot trimmed so that Ventress remains eye contact and we don't see her glance at her nails again.

  • 0:19:44 - The original bedroom flashback shows good chemistry but overstays its welcome and gets abruptly horny. Here it now cuts away a little sooner.
  • 0:20:06 - Several lines are cut from Anya and Lena's first meeting to hide some awkward delivery. The conversation is now more to the point and Anya introduces herself right after confirming that she's not intruding.
  • 0:21:20 - Most of the initial meeting with the other team members is similarly awkward. More of it has been retained than I would like, but some introduction to the characters is needed. A couple of lines are cut and rearranged so that Lena brings up the shimmer sooner. Sheppard replies with what was originally her response to 'Under what circumstances?'; her line 'we are headed that way' now leads straight into Anya saying '6 days and counting'.
  • 0:25:21 - The flash forward here is significantly trimmed. Now after 'that was a brave choice', Lena says 'I owed him, so I went in' and we move on. In the original scene, Lena says "I owed him" twice; here I pair the first delivery with the shot of her saying it for the second time.
  • 0:27:09 - During this first affair flashback, the shot that reveals who Lena is sleeping with is cut. The moans are tweaked slightly to accommodate the change.
  • 0:29:52-30:45 - some audio reworked. Montage rescored with a slightly remixed version of a more ethereal piece from the soundtrack. Now they are in the shimmer, there is no more acoustic guitar.

  • 0:33:25 - cut shot of alligator. We hear the noise it makes.
  • 0:33:27 - Trimmed shot so that it is not clear what the creature is. We just see something slip into the water.
  • 0:33:34 - shot is trimmed for same reason as above and to avoid lingering on the CGI.
  • 0:33:37 - trimmed shot of alligator.
  • 0:33:40 - shots trimmed for pacing and to avoid poor FX shots.
  • 0:33:41 - Very minor colour tweaks and sharpening applied to alligator.
  • 0:33:42 - trimmed above shot of alligator.
  • 0:33:43 - Very minor colour tweaks applied to alligator.
  • 0:33:44 - alligator shot trimmed. Shot of Lena trimmed.
  • 0:33:46 - further trims to shots of alligator.
  • 0:33:47 - trimmed shot and tweaked colour of blood to be less brash.
  • 0:33:47 - trimmed shot of alligator. Shot of Lena firing is shown once, not twice. Cut close shot of alligator. Gunshots do not fade and music does not dominate; they are heard at a reasonable volume side by side.
  • 0:34:02 - cut poor FX shot of alligator dying. The sound of it dying can be heard during the previous shot.


0:34:46 - 35:15 - To aid pacing, the second montage is merged with a trimmed version of the next flash forward. We cut back and forth and the scene acts as an overdub. The sequence is again rescored. Some specifics:

  • 0:34:56 - added shot of cancer cell over the line 'corruptions of form'. This is taken from elsewhere in the film, but the framerate and colour grading are different.
  • 0:34:58 - The later occurring scene with the conjoined deer is cut. The FX work is lacking, but it emphasises an important theme. Therefore, a very brief shot from that scene appears here over the line 'duplicates of form'.
  • 0:35:05 - the shot of life in the water is moved from the start of the montage to here. This is to pair with the lines 'dreamlike' and 'sometimes it was beautiful'. The following exchange is also cut: "Is it possible these were hallucinations?" "I wondered that myself, but they were shared among all of us"


  • 0:35:29 - trimmed shot of Sheppard. She no longer smirks and says 'yeah'.
  • 0:36:31 - shot of crew on boat from afar occurs earlier to coincide with the line 'we're all damaged goods'.
  • 0:36:36 - Sheppard no longer explicitly dumps character histories. There is a short pause and then Lena asks about Ventress.
  • 0:36:36 - trimmed the pause before Lena asks about Sheppard.
  • 0:37:04 - Sheppard no longer talks about the person she once was being another bereavement. She simply says what happened to her daughter and Lena says she's sorry. They are then interrupted by Anya.

  • 0:46:33-47:26 - This sequence has been rescored with all sound FX rebuilt.
  • 0:47:27 - Sheppard doesn't say 'hey'. Lena turns when Sheppard says, 'the mystery unravelling?'
  • 0:47:37 - some lines regarding Josie are cut. We skip to Sheppard saying she's just as freaked as Josie is.
  • 0:47:38 - Sheppard no longer says 'yah' in response to Lena checking on Ventress. A jump frame was created by the cut and then fixed with AI.
  • 0:51:25 - tweaked shot of bear attacking Sheppard. There are a few frames without motion blur where the creature is lit in a way that looks artificial. The lighting has been tweaked and motion blur is now across the whole shot. The bear also throws her slightly quicker and lands with slightly more weight.

Trimmed conversation after Ventress leaves to make Anya come across a little less hysterical. She hasn't got the acting capabilities to pull it off, and her madness later in the film comes across much better when she's merely unhinged, as opposed to full blown psychotic:

  • 0:53:18 - Added shot of Lena turning.
  • 0:53:21 - The above allows a lead into 'hold on, we should go back, yes... but-', allowing for some of the lesser theatrics to be skipped ('thanks for the f***ing back up!').
  • 0:53:23 - shot of Anya that was cut from earlier moved here. The shot is reversed to make it look like she was looking at Lena before turning away.
  • 0:53:40 - cut 'like? No, I don't f****ing like!'. We skip straight to 'this isn't some BS tactic to get us to the lighthouse, is it?'
  • 0:54:00 - 'You lied to them' dialogue from flashforward is placed here as a lead into a trimmed version of the scene.
  • 0:54:02 - we skip straight to the dialogue revealing that Ventress has cancer.

  • 0:55:32-56:04 - rescoring and foley.
  • 0:55:55 - Conjoined deer is now absent (part of it is used during the earlier montage). We instead see an extended shot of the bare forest with the sound of trees rustling.

Trimmed Josie's flower speech so as to give the audience some credit. It's not too badly handled for the most part, but after having it spelled out, Anya comes across laughable:

  • 1:00:04 - cut 'hox? what is hox?' and subsequent explanation from Lena. Added shot of Ventress to help keep visual continuity.
  • 1:00:11 - Lena now interrupts Josie's explanation to say that it's not possible.
  • 1:00:21 - Josie simply says 'it refracts everything' and no longer goes on to spell out what 'everything' means.
  • 1:00:24 - Anya now says 'what do you mean?' instead of 'what do you mean all DNA?'. Jump frame created by visual cut, then patched back up with AI.
  • 1:00:26 - Ventress no longer says 'she's talking about our DNA'. She just says 'she's talking about us'.

  • 1:01:46-1:03:03 - Montage sequence rescored and new foley to accommodate.
  • 1:03:03 - Exposition scene regarding affair is entirely cut. Now we just see the same flashback from earlier, except this time we are also shown the face of who Lena is sleeping with. We then cut away to present day.

Changes made to the interrogation to allow for a more subtly unhinged Anya:

  • 1:03:09 - cut Anya saying 'you lying bitch!'. She just points the gun at Lena.
  • 1:03:11 - After Lena asks what's going on, Anya doesn't say 'you don't get to ask the f***ing questions!', she just knocks her out.
  • 1:04:18 - Anya doesn't repeat the theories about what happens to team members in the shimmer. We were already told this earlier and it comes across very clunky. There is an added shot of the group tied to the chairs to cover a visual gap and allow for a brief pause before Anya continues speaking.
  • 1:04:26 - cut Anya saying that theory 1 fits. Cut straight to close shot of Lena.
  • 1:04:59 - Anya doesn't yell at Ventress to 'shut the f*** up' and she only calls Lena a liar once.

Changes made to bear scene to improve presentation of FX. Anya also fires quicker, bear reacts quicker, and Josie reacts quicker when Lena is being mauled:

  • 1:07:43 - trimmed FX shot to avoid weaker lighting.
  • 1:07:54 - trimmed FX shot to avoid weaker movement
  • 1:08:10 - Adjusted lighting and colour on FX shot. Some sharpening.
  • 1:08:14 - slight adjustment to colour and lighting on bear
  • 1:08:17 - cut weaker FX shot. We go straight to Lena's reaction after the bear bites Josie.
  • 1:08:24 - cut Anya taking forever to lift the gun. Also cut shot of bear roaring.
  • 1:08:26 - adjusted lighting on shot of bear roaring.
  • 1:08:27 - shot of Anya shooting is trimmed. The earlier cut close shot of bear roaring is shown first, and then we cut to Anya shooting. Lighting etc. on shot is tweaked.
  • 1:08:46 - shot of bear mauling is trimmed. The original, lengthy segment of mauling that normally follows is cut (weak FX). The shot following that is more or less cut: a handful of frames are retained as they lead well into the shot of Anya having her throat ripped out.
  • 1:08:47 - The lighting on the FX for Anya having her throat ripped out has been tweaked.
  • 1:08:59 - Cut shot of bear mauling Lena. Trimmed following shot of bear mauling. Josie starts firing sooner. Lighting on bear is tweaked and slight motion blur is added.
  • 1:09:01 - Lighting is tweaked on shot of bear getting shot up. Slight motion blur applied. Overall shot is trimmed.
  • 1:09:01 - Shot of bear dying trimmed. Lighting tweaked.

  • 1:11:30 - Cut Josie explaining to the audience how the bear concept works. Added shot of Lena to allow for a natural pause in conversation. Then we see the plants growing in the scars on Josie's wrists.
  • 1:11:48 - Cut Josie explicitly saying what Ventress wants, what Lena wants and what she wants. She just wanders off into the trees without a word and Lena goes after her.
  • 1:12:32 - There is normally a flash forward scene here, followed by a flashback. The former has been cut in its entirety. It doesn't provide the audience with any new or important information and only hinders the pace. We now cut to the flashback and then move on to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse/final act is untouched (cos it kicks ass).

  • 1:38:26 - added mirror effect to visuals and subsequent title.
  • 1:38:50 - added TSM credit.
 
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I like the skull one too.

Any info on what you are changing?
 
Any info on what you are changing?

It's already complete. To give a very brief overview, it applies lots of small changes, rather than big cuts. Some rescoring and light tweaks to fx shots as well. Delaying the affair reveal is probably the most extreme narrative change. Most changes are in favour of characters, tone and pace.

As mentioned in the OP, I'll share more details when I have some time :) I have other stuff I need to prioritise atm, but I just wanted to get a thread out there, as it's something that's been sat on for months. It's a bad habit of mine to leave virtually complete projects on my drive indefinitely, and posting a thread just forces me to see it through release.
 
No worries!

I see you added more info to the reply above, question removed. Interesting to delay the affair reveal, as i always thought the movie was a great meditation on feelings during recovery after getting that information, and how much it changes people to new beings with less feeling or empathy, something to that effect.
 
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For those interested, thank you for your patience. I've added a brief summary and both a 'gist' of changes to the OP as well as a complete cutlist with timecodes. Obviously, some of the latter requires the file for context, but some of the specifics there should provide quite a bit of additional insight.

As mentioned, the edit was finished a long time ago. However, I am considering going back in to maybe address 2 minor nitpicks. It's nothing that would affect the change lists above. Because of this, since I'm also working towards my final masters deadline (AND Christmas is incoming), I'm probably going to have the edit drop in the first week of January.

I will be sharing a trailer and at least one example clip before then.
 
Interesting to delay the affair reveal, as i always thought the movie was a great meditation on feelings during recovery after getting that information, and how much it changes people to new beings with less feeling or empathy, something to that effect.

I can see where you're coming from. For me though, it's always come across as one of a few things that are laid on a bit thick, like the film doesn't trust the audience to put the pieces together. If people are attentive enough, then the signs are there in my edit for them to pick up on it sooner. The conversation Lena has with her boss after class is intact and clearly hints at something. The main thing I do is remove the first explicit flashback reveal, since the exact same sequence is repeated again later anyway.
 
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Here's an example that demonstrates several changes. This covers the scenes at the house in the shimmer, including the night-time montage, the interrogation, and the bear.

Change summary:
  • The entire nighttime montage has been rescored with all-new sound fx etc. (with the exception of some sounds from the affair flashback toward the end).
  • Exposition scene regarding affair is entirely cut.
  • Anya's deteriorating mental state is now a bit more subtle, rather than laughably psychotic. She doesn't randomly shout.
  • Anya doesn't repeat the theories that were previously talked about before they went into the shimmer (but she does allude to them briefly amongst her rambling).
  • Less flattering shots of the bear CGI have been trimmed throughout the clip. Some shots have have been tweaked so that the bear is kept more in shadow. Motion blur is applied to some frames when the bear is being shot up at the end.
  • Anya is quicker to fire at the bear.
  • FX shot of Anya getting her throat ripped out has been tweaked.
  • Bear doesn't maul Lena for as long and Josie is quicker to react.
  • Bear dies quicker.
  • Approx. 2.5 minutes cut
Please note that this is not reflective of the AV quality of the final edit. For those that are not familiar with this film, please also be aware that this clip is intense and contains scenes of gore.

Here also is the original for comparison:

 
I'm excited for this one. It's a good movie, though I admittedly don't return to it often. Maybe because I've read the books and the parity isn't quite there. But seeing your before/after, I'm looking forward to experiencing it again fresh.
 
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