Quick Hit: Good idea, poor execution.
Some stories and movies are built on a really excellent idea, like what if there was a giant shark that started eating people outside a small town (Jaws) or what if a young sociopath got to kill demons (John Cleaver series) or other killers (Dexter series). For some, these ideas spiral into good movies, good books, or good television series. For others, well, you get something like Extinction.
The main premise of the film is that Peter (Michael Pena) is having visions of the destruction of his city and his family. His wife Lizzy wants him to just see a therapist and forget it, but he is struck on it. We’re at some undisclosed point in the future, and then one day, aliens attack and his vision seems to hold true.
Let’s start with the good here – there is a good twist in this story. I honestly was extremely bored up until that point, but it does get a bit better after the twist. The alien suits are interestingly designed, if not very well executed – makes me think of old school Godzilla rubber suits. And… well, that’s it.
The script in this is pretty awful. It gives most of the characters just about nothing to do. Combine that with the fact that the only thing that makes the movie interesting is the twist, and the story just feels backwards. I think this would have been a good reveal like ten minutes in, and then we could have built into it more. It would have made the movie much more tolerable. When you combine the backwards story with the obvious allusions to Charlottesville and the Black Lives Matter movements, it makes the movie suck that much harder, because these make the ones in Suburbicon seem subtle.
The effects are also bad. I understand that Netflix, which put on the film, is probably not going to match the Disney money that can get thrown into their science fiction films. But I’m tired of excusing poor CGI. This CGI looks like it could be from the freaking nineties it’s so bad. This is up to and including bullets from the aliens, which look like old school gun rays from Flash Gordon or something.
The filming isn’t great either. In the beginning (and really throughout the story) we’re constantly flipping to the visions that Peter is having. This makes things super choppy, which isn’t helped by the action scenes in the film. They’re not great, shot in dark hallways that feel useless. The escape from their apartment building should have been more tension filled, and instead it just felt like a set piece.
So, ya, I wouldn’t advise this one. I’m giving Extinction a “D-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"