Annihilation ENDING EXPLAINED - Details You Missed!

hi guys I'm Eric Voss and the movie

annihilation presented some of the most

perplexing science fiction concepts

we've seen in recent years directed by

Alex garland who made the amazing film

ex machina in 2014

annihilation stars Natalie Portman as a

biologist joining a female exhibition

that's totally not the new Ghostbusters

exploring a mysterious meteor crash zone

filled with trippy psychedelic mutations

now you may have walked out of smoothie

a little confused and that's okay it

happens to all of us it doesn't mean

we're dumb dumbs even though the studio

worried we might be it just means this

film did its job do challenge our minds

and keep the conversation over what the

f we just saw going on and on the ride

home all the way to YouTube for answers

where hey welcome I'm here to help I got

those answers so I'm gonna explain

annihilations ending what it all means

all the big questions so spoilers ahead

ok let's start with the first question

what is the shimmer exactly so the

shimmer is the name given to the

expanding region affected by this meteor

which crashed into a lighthouse on

Florida's panhandle mutating everything

in the swamp to look like an acid trip

which is funny because as someone who

grew up in Florida that's exactly how it

looks normally the shimmer is most

likely some kind of extraterrestrial

organism a whole new kind of alien

attack that's driven more by its

biological life cycle than any

interplanetary conquest which is really

more of a cliche sci-fi agenda that just

comes from our own assumptions about

alien species in this movie Tessa

Thompson's physicist character erratic

describes the shimmer as a prism that

refracts light and radio waves but also

reflects the DNA of plants and animals

within it that refraction is what causes

everything to mutate the way it does the

Gators have second rows of teeth like

sharks this bear monster that absorbs

the final emotions of its prey plants

that grow in the shape of human beings

intestines that slither around like

snakes and if you watched closely this

film sneakily foreshadowed this

refraction idea early on when Lena and

Kane's hands are seen refracted through

a drinking glass but there's a basic

biological function that serves as

really an extended metaphor for the

shimmer that the film gives us as a sort

of road map which brings us to our next

question what does the shimmer represent

there are several ways to interpret this

film but one analogy that the film will


is cancer in the opening scenes Lina

introduces us to the idea of cellular

biology and a lecture tour students on

cervical cancer the cancer motif comes

back repeatedly Lina compares a

crossbred flower plant to cell mutations

of cancer in the human body and later

dr. Ventress reveals her cancer

diagnosis which is really her personal

motivation for entering the Shimer

looking at the shimmer as a growing

tumor on the Earth's surface makes this

film a lot easier to digest the various

doppelgangers operate like cancer cells

which duplicate and eventually

annihilate the original cell and the

repeated expeditions of soldiers and

scientists being thrown into the shimmer

could represent the various failed

treatment methods the medical community

has attempted to control different forms

of cancer over the years there are even

some emotional parallels Radek reflects

on how horrible it was for Shepherd to

die screaming perhaps a nod to the

debate among some cancer patients over

the value of trying to fight prolonged

battles against it I mean really if you

think about this you could argue some

extraterrestrial race concluded that the

most destructive weapon against earth

both biologically and psychologically is

a form of ecological cancer but to say

this film is just about cancer is really

two surface levels so what is

annihilations deeper meaning well as

Ventris tells us midway through the

movie it's really all about


yes biologically speaking cancer is a

form of self-destruction Lina explains

how cancer cells annihilate other

healthy cells but just as the coding for

their own self-destruction is embedded

in cells stemming back to the original

one celled organism on earth this movie

extrapolates that idea to people as well

suggesting our own behavioral

self-destruction is inevitable Radek

cuts herself Lorenson is an addict

Shepherd is broken over losing her

daughter and Lina destroyed her own

happy marriage by cheating on Cain the

shimmer triggers each of these woman's

self-destructive tendencies

notice how the moment they cross into

the shimmer Lina flashes back to the

night she cheated on her husband and

later the house they encounter is a

version of Lina and Cain's house the

shimmer is reflecting Lina's own guilt

and memories back to her now Lina's

mistake grows as a metaphoric cancer

until it consumes her marriage reflected

in her physical struggles which leads us

to the next big question what the hell

happened in the lighthouse so after Lina

learns that the cane she saw earlier was

her husband's mutant doppelganger

there's this crazy scene in the cavern

below with Ventress allowing the

refraction to transform her body then a

drop of Lena's blood mixes in resulting

in this metallic looking form that

mirrors Lena's movements this is a

metaphor for Lena's battle with the

version of herself that she is

transformed into after her failed

marriage her only Escape is to destroy

one version of herself by burning it up

with another phosphorus grenade which

seems to sear all of the mutant out

gross to the shimmer to return to that

cancer metaphor this could be compared

to surgical removal of a tumor a drastic

destructive option that doesn't always

remove all the traces of the cancer

which leads us to the mystery of the

movies ending is Lena a clone was the

version of Lena that escaped the

lighthouse and the shimmer getting

interrogated by Benedict Wong throughout

the movie Lena's original self or her

doppelganger now it looked as though it

was the doppelganger that got burned up

but the film's final image leaves the

question open-ended with a close-up of

her eyes glowing hey kind of like the

end of Michael Jackson Thriller actually

if you go back and scrutinize his film

frame by frame there are other clues

snuck in there that hint Lena's post

shimmer self is the mutation remember

she suffered a concussion when the

doppelganger attacked her in a

lighthouse and the switcheroo definitely

could have happened during that blackout

also during the interrogation you can

see the water on Lena's glass mutating

but ultimately this ambiguity is the


Alex Garland's original ending was

planned to be even more ambiguous an

earlier script draft didn't even show

which Lena made it out of the lighthouse

by the way that alternate end being

closed with a meteor shower showing even

more of these shimmer radiations making

their way to Earth's surface in that

final version Lena's blood was infected

by the shimmer the moment she walked

into it either way interrogation Lena

could have been lying about the events

as we saw them from her perspective and

either way the versions of Lena and

Kaine at the end of the movie are

completely different people from the

ones we saw at the beginning for a movie

about self-destruction in all its forms

it's fitting to end on a marriage that

has been annihilated by its own toxic

mutant form but what if thrown over to

you guys do you guys think the shimmer

meteor was meant as a weapon by

other alien race maybe to mutate earth

to terraform it so that they can move in

or do you see the shimmer as the alien

species itself and it just like hops

from planet to planet like some kind of

viral infection comment with your

thoughts down below and tweet me

directly I da boss and probably new

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