Netflix just keeps churning win after win. I mean, there is no way that Hollywood pitches an inside out movie like Netflix’s Extinction. Whoops. Can’t spoil it. That’d be awful. So, yeah, just trust me, if you haven’t seen the movie Extinction yet, which just released yesterday, then today – my friend – is your lucky day. So with that said – I shall now explain why extinction is the next movie on your mindjob list.
But, apparently, Universal had the rights to this movie, but when they saw it pulled together, they offloaded it to the great cinema dumpster in the sky… better known as Netflix. But because our bar is way lower when included in a monthly fee that equates to a single movie ticket, we give Extinction all kinds of slack for its low production value and super thin script. It’s got a great right hook surprise and that’s all that really matters.
So, the basic – non-spoiler – overview? Peter, a father of two, is having a horrible time sleeping. He’s been having visions of an alien invasion, and an apocalyptic international battle. He sees visions of horrible things, a group of his friends that have formed a resistance group. But his wife wants him to get some help. His boss? Also wants him to get some help. But Peter is beginning to think that maybe he is seeing these visions for a reason… maybe they are real? Here, let me show you what I mean…
Right? That’s a pretty tight little movie idea. And because the idea behind this movie is 100% of the fun, you really, really, really, have to not read any further. You see? Because I will not let you be my friend anymore if you choose to read further anyway. Instead, go to this link right here, and hit play. Because, like, everyone has Netflix, don’t they?
Big Big Spoiler Dragons From Here on Out Everyone
As I said above, the movie begins with Peter (played by Michael Peña of A Wrinkle In Time, and Crash fame) and Alice (played by Lizzy Caplan of Cloverfield fame), parents of a family of four, having difficulties. Both are hardworking. Both are moving up in their careers. Peter, as a technician for a government job. And Alice, an architect for the city. But, Peter isn’t sleeping. He’s having bad dreams. Visions really. Visions of war. Visions of horribly specific terrors from invading aliens, and his fight to keep his family alive.
It’s actually so bad, that his wife is tired of it… and has asked Peter to go see someone. Repeatedly she has asked. And not only that? But at Peter’s job? He’s blacking out. He’s missing whole swaths of the day. Which means he’s missing promised time with his kids. He’s missing promised time with his wife. It’s becoming pretty bad. And so, Peter’s boss, David (played by Mike Colter), suggests that Peter goes and talks to someone that can help. But when he arrives at the facility, another person is there that is awaiting treatment and he says, “There is something that is coming. I don’t know what it is, but it’s coming. They don’t want us to know that something is coming, and that’s why they erase our thoughts. We’re not crazy, but I just need this to stop.” And so with that warning, and more of a feeling that they are visions of a future, and not nightmares, Peter leaves without being treated.
The Incoming Threat of Extinction
Peter and Alice have a party to celebrate Alice’s new deal for the city going through. But Peter remains aloof throughout. Disconnected. But at the end, while Peter is talking with someone from the building, he sees incoming streaks of light. Streaks of light that turn out to be alien ships breaching the atmosphere and attacking the city. And for the next twenty minutes, Peter and Alice spend their time running through the building trying to stay alive, while trying to find their daughters. They are under attack from the outside via alien spacecraft, and from the inside, from aliens walking through the building killing people indiscriminately. Plus there was a cool scene, riding on an ill advised window cleaning cradle (is that what we call it here in America? Sometimes my time in England kicks in, Tannoy is still my default for a P.A. system, and I affectionately still prefer the word tuck shop to any other American derivative. But wow, have I digressed.) wherein everyone almost dies. But otherwise, it’s quite a bit of mindless running about.
So, let’s stop here and ask a simple question. What on earth are these aliens on about? Are they pillaging the earth like some sort of race at the end of their tether? In Peter’s flashbacks we’ve actually seen a fair number of clues of what is about to happen. We hear people screaming about civil war? These flash forward visions are hinting at some sort of uprising or something? But an alien uprising from where?!? From what?!?
Yes. I am enjoying myself. Why thank you, thank you very much for asking.
Eventually, their friends die, or they’re separated from them, and Peter and Alice decide they are hauling it to Peter’s work. It’s a Federal facility, and it’s reinforced/protected. They’ll be safe there. Thank goodness Alice knows the underground passage ways of the city. So, Peter, Alice and their daughters haul it into these underground passageways.
LAST WARNING, EXTINCTION SPOILERS IN BOUND
Seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie, just go watch it. You really don’t want to have this movie spoiled for you. And I don’t want to be the one that ruins a great reveal. So do us all a favor, and go watch the movie. Here’s the link to Extinction on Netflix, one more time for good measure.
So right, where was I? Oh yes, the spoilery bit. Now, as they are about to arrive at Peter’s work, the family is attacked by swarm of aliens. And Alice is hurt badly by one of the aliens. She’s stabbed in the side. Thankfully, Peter killed off all of the aliens… all but one. But something strange happens here. The disarmed alien, that had been tracking his gun, and the family, pulls his helmet off… revealing a fairly human looking individual under this “alien” mask. EH?
And out of compassion, he offers to save her. After much high jinks and arguments among Peter’s work friends, they agree to let this alien help. “I had to learn everything about you. I can help her.” So Mr. Alien, carves open Alice, and shows the inside of her guts. Which, seem to be some sort of glowing power, circuitry thing. Well, now Peter is wigging out. Seeing his reaction, the “alien” says, “You don’t know what you are?”
Well, apparently, the only way for Alice to be saved is to get an alternative source of power. And, it would appear, Peter happens to be an alternative source of power. Basically, what the alien is doing is giving Alice a jump. Right? (Which, I have to cry foul. If she just got cut in the side, why exactly does she have a power problem? But whatever. She should have powered right through that injury. The internal mechanics of synthetics aside, our new “alien” friend plugs one car battery cable to Peter, and another to Alice, and voila! Both are back in business! And just in time too. Because, here comes the MEAN aliens. And so, Peter gives the alien his Swiss pocket knife (I have to say, that I got a bad ass Swiss pocket knife while in Interlaken that has all the hex bits you could ever need to service your computer… back when building your own computer required hex bits. I don’t even know anymore. But wow – SQUIRREL!) (Even got it monogrammed! STOP!) even though it wasn’t his, and they run off.
The train, that has left? Stops, and the two kids run out and back to them. But the alien/men people are storming into the station and are laying down some serious firepower. But the train has a massive machine turret on the back, which allows them to escape. Oh, and the bridge they are riding out on? Collapses into the ocean behind them. Which, is a super cool addition we need to add to all of our bridges. Car comes? It pops up. Car is off, back under the water. But this bridge is never coming back up again, and it was the tricky bit that Peter’s boss Dave and his team had been working on for the past 500 years.
Wait what? Why don’t we talk about that in the next section?
The Comprehensive Timeline of the movie Extinction
If you didn’t follow the spoilers, or the details of who is who, maybe this timeline will help a bit. Ok? And I am going to assume that the beginning of the timeline will be 2050, just because I need a starting point of some sort. And 2050 sounds great to me.
2050 – The first fully human androids are created
2075 – The androids mike life better, take over low paying jobs
2100 – Androids begin fighting back when provoked or attacked
2105 – Humans vote to make all androids illegal, and kill them all
2110 – The great android global civil war commences
2150 – Peter and Alice fight to kick humans off the planet
2175 – Humans establish colonies on Mars
2175 – Peter and Alice find two synth daughters who’s parents were killed
2175 – Peter, Alice and their daughters have their memories wiped of the war
2225 – Peter begins remembering memories from the original civil war
2225 – Humans finally have the strength to counter attack the planet
2225 – Humans push the androids out of the first city of the 2nd galactic war
The only date in that list that is supported by the movie? Is the 50 year wait between the colonization of Mars and their return/attack of earth. But you get the idea. Helps to explain that the visions aren’t actually visions at all, but rather memories from his past. And, it should also explain that while still young, they are actually hundreds of years old.
Does that make more sense? It’s a clever little twist. Some of the best plot twists come from mind erases or amnesia. Take for example Memento? Right? (Which if you haven’t seen Memento… why are you watching Extinction trash??! Maybe I should pull together a list of mindjob movies that utilize amnesia or forgetting as its central plot device. Can you guys list out some so you can help me get a jump start? Thanks!)
Alright, well, Extinction was a great little movie for free. I mean, for my Netflix subscription. But it obviously wasn’t big enough to pay $10 to see in the theater. No way. So it makes sense that Universal let it go. I don’t know, what did you think of the twist and the script?
Edited by, CY