Run Time: 1 hr 35 min
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 33%/52%
Extinction is another Netflix Original Movie with a futuristic tone and setting. This time we meet Peter (Michael Peña), a maintenance worker that just wants to be able to take care of his family but is having trouble due to these visions he keeps having about a possible alien invasion. Of course everyone thinks he’s having mental issues, even his wife Alice (Lizzy Caplan); however everyone eventually has to turn to Peter for help when the alien’s finally attack. After that initial attack we are taken on a ride with Peter and his family as they not only try to escape the invasion but also figure out what the aliens want. The question remains, was this a hit or did Netflix produce yet another streaming flop?
There is a twist in this movie that makes the overall concept of the film stand out from other alien invasion films. Now of course I will not give any spoilers but I will say that this twist made the movie much more interesting to me. If you’ve seen any episodes of the Netflix Original Series Black Mirror then you are familiar with the Netflix writer’s ability to create a twist and you know that it can either be mind blowing or quite absurd. This film rode that line really close at times but did not cross over into absurdity.
Another thing I enjoyed about this film was how ruthless the alien invaders were. I know that sounds strange to say but if we were to actually experience an alien invasion I strongly believe that no one would be safe; man, woman, child, or pet. This was the vibe of this movie, for the most part; the aliens would shoot to kill, not even a child hanging from a building was immune to facing extinction. I am a fan of sci-fi, in particular alien invasion films and I like my aliens killing without prejudice because if that’s the plan then dammit STICK TO IT!
This film received a very low 33% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes and unfortunately I can understand why. The beginning of the film was confusing. Peter’s visions were erratic and I kept asking, “are these visions or memories?”, and that made me lose interest in the film. As a viewer I like a clear story and if I feel like I have to work too hard to decipher what I’m watching, you’ve lost me. Once we got into the climax of the film, my question of “vision vs memories” was answered and the reveal was cool but I could have done without the confusion in the beginning. I understand what the writers were trying to do (make the viewers feels as confused as Peter) but I feel like the pay off would have been much bigger without all the gibberish in the beginning.
The character development was definitely lacking and I was again faced with a family going through turmoil and I didn’t care. Right out the gate we were presented with a family that was barely connected emotionally and hell, I just followed suit. The family dynamic was very typical (working father and mother, annoying youngest child with a stuffed animal, and an angsty teen) and that was even more disappointing when the final twist is revealed. I don’t know why character development is such a struggle for writers but lately (especially with Netflix) audiences have not been given the opportunity to connect with characters. If we cannot identify with at least one character, how can you expect your movie to be even remotely successful?
Extinction is yet another attempt in the sci-fi arena for Netflix and they just keep falling flat. I am not sure who is making these calls to green light these movies but Netflix needs a shake up because Hulu is coming out with original content and they are blowing Netflix out of the water! But anyway, that’s a whole separate post by itself. So if you are folding laundry or have nothing better to do/watch than this Sista Gurl reluctantly recommends you watch Extinction and then cleanse your palate with Predator (1987), Aliens (1986), and Independence Day (1996) for better alien films.