Alex Garland’s next and most awaited post-apocalyptic film finally has a 2018 release date. “Annihilation,” starring Natalie Portman, will hit cinemas on Feb. 23, 2018.

Garland wrote and directed the hit thriller “Ex Machina” back in 2015. It’s an overwhelming success put the young director in the limelight. Having said that, his next film is expected to do wonders as well.

Book to film adaptation

Annihilation” derives its plot from the 2014 novel of Jeff VanderMeer with the same title. The book’s storyline is the first of VanderMeer’s planned “Southern Reach” trilogy.

Fans who have read the book exclaim endless praises for it. Even Garland was extremely impressed despite its new release and incomplete trilogy.

Novel to film adaptations are pretty standard, but it’s unusual for a relatively new book to hit the big screen so quickly. One thing is for sure: Garland would not have taken this enormous gamble if the story was not compelling enough.

The science fiction novel revolves around four female scientists figuring out how to live in their new post apocalyptic world. The scientists, all with varying strengths and characteristics, travel into a location previously abandoned by civilization.

Ominously known only as “Area X,” previous explorers and brave visitors met disastrous endings.

They either disappeared into thin air or developed unexplainable illnesses and emotional trauma.

Diverse female cast

The film stars exceptional actresses in the lead roles. Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh have come together to play the group of four scientists. As early as now, critics applaud Garland for casting roles to actresses of different backgrounds.

A lot of excitement also revolves around the fact that the entire movie is female driven.

Garland brings back his actors from “Ex Machina” into the fold. Oscar Isaac plays Portman’s husband. His character enters the film after traveling to “Area X” and disappearing for a year. He returns to Portman as an altogether different man.

Another “Ex Machina” veteran Sonoya Mizuno joins the cast. The Japan-born British actress made her film debut through the Garland film in 2015.

High expectations

Author VanderMeer called the film “mind blowing” and expressed his complete satisfaction for the adaptation. He shared that audiences can expect a slightly different approach from the book towards to big screen. It seems Paramount Pictures and Garland are intent on keeping fans clamoring for more. So far, the producers released a short trailer and a few footages during a CinemaCon a year ago.

The explosive trailer shows bits and pieces of a world in a slow but sure destruction. It ends with the breathing sound of Portman as possibly one of the few people left alive after the apocalypse.

Release and popularity

In the film industry, January and February record as the months with the least movie sales. This general trend slowly veers elsewhere. Movies like M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split” released in January and “Deadpool” in February both fared very well at the box office.

Annihilation” mainly targets fans and avid followers of science fiction movies. Add to that, Garland’s growing reputation as one of the directors to look out for added buzz and curiosity over the film. Portman as one of the leads in the movie also adds the much-needed celebrity star power.