Extinction: the Disappearance of the Essentials

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“Our world never stops moving. Changing. Evolving. Every day, we go about our routines. Work, home, family. But who are we?” Those first lines are spoken by main character in the movie and has a strong connection to the later twist. Extinction is a Science Fiction movie about Peter (Michael Pena) who is haunted by nightmares of an oncoming alien invasion, but can’t figure out what he’s seeing, while Alice (Lizzy Caplan) and his friends and co-workers urge him to visit a specialist. However, before Peter can deal with his issues, the visions start to come true. Aliens are invading. Creatures on two legs appear, attacking everywhere at once with all manner of weaponry. What they want, no one knows, but the couple does everything in their power to keep their kids safe and survive the mass destruction. They attempt to reach the factory where Peter works. He's aware of an underground shelter that might save them. Peter’s visions take on a different meaning as he begins to experience his new reality. Despite the efforts of the actors, and escalating tension, the movie loses its way to be a great movie (perfection) and fails in many ways.

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First, the movie should establish clearly what the rules that are controlling the story so that the viewers’ understand the actions/ reactions of the characters. For almost an hour in a 90 min movie, the audience can see the invasion plan requires the invaders to go door to door with blades fixed to laser rifles, Gunfire and bombs shake the residents. Buildings are flattened suggests that there's something weird going on. Too many questions are raised that are left unanswered till the last quarter of the movie. The audience should be given enough foundation to make sense of the brutal violence. Which makes the movie more violent than to be a science fiction one. Extinction is nearly saved by the interesting twist, when Peter find his own reality of being a robot and he had a role with his people to wipe the humans from the earth 50 years ago. Which explains the similarities in everyone’s outfits, perfect hair style and the actors lacking facial expression during the film’s time period.

Second, the movie is not successful to meet the symbolism criteria. The movie should be an interpretation of human experiences, establishing a vision of what it means to be human. Early in the film, as well in Peter’s nightmares and daytime visions, there are clips of political debates on cable news. Speakers trade views on questions of civil rights and limits. Brief scenes of people chanting “You will not replace us!”. The movie quickly shows the conflict between the majority and the other class using fast flashback cuts, which not adequate to explain why the events get elevated and its consequences as the humans decide to destroy the synthetics, which make the twist in the movie puzzling and hard for some audience to relate the incident to our social reality. Though the synthetics in the movie obviously could be a symbol for any group or class of people in our society like the immigrants, people from another ethnicity, race, religion, and sexual orientation but that symbol is covered by the brief flashback cuts. Unlike the time period for the invasion process and the violence scenes.

Last but not least, the Sci-Fi movie should be consistent with the new acquaintance offered in the film. The movie has the responsibility to convince the audience with the new knowledge, using graphic, special effects, and effective conversation in the story context to persuade the viewer with the new experience to fulfill the believability criteria. Unfortunately, “Extinction” lacks the right elements to meet that criteria too. The time period of the movie is the future, meanwhile, since the opening scene the audience could see the city like any current modern city. The invaders are two leg alien soldiers, with no purpose bug-like sounds and green bubbles all over their bodies, that take their hunt to the streets and door to door inside Peter's apartment building. Most of the scenes are too dark, there’s a sequence where one of the invaders attempts to break through a door and a child is left hiding under a table. It was hard to track the fight between the invader and the father. Considering this movie as a Netflix production, which will be streamed over laptop or tablet. The whole movie looks like this and it’s simply not visually appealing.

In conclusion, “Extinction” is a good example to show that, the good is not enough to make a good movie. Other elements should be present besides the twist like, the solid story with the suitable foundation to the audience to follow the story. In addition, the movie should be an interpretation of human experiences, so, the audience will easy relate the film to themselves. Accompanied by the adequate using of graphics, special effects, and effective conversation in the story context to influence the viewer. All these factors lead to a great movie. I will give the movie a “C” score though the great twist at the end and suspense scans due to not achieve the three criteria (the story, symbolism, believability).

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