From Perth director Ben Young, Extinction falls flat as a science fiction drama that takes too long to give anything remotely original or interesting. Focusing on a simple-minded civilian, Peter keeps having nightmares about an alien attack on Earth and his family threatened from the invasion. When these visions come true, Peter now has to use the knowledge from his nightmares to figure out how to save them all.
Starring Michael Peña as Peter and Lizzy Caplan as his wife Alice, the two give the roles their all. It’s interesting to see Michael Peña take on a leading role, as he’s normally cast as the bumbling sidekick or junior officer who smells that something is off, but no one will listen to him. Michael Peña handled the role well and put everything he had into it but the script was limiting and potentially held him back. Lizzy Caplan equally was her usual magnetic self and completely stole the show but equally felt limited by the script.
Extinction is an interesting choice for Ben Young following his breakout film the 2016 crime thriller Hounds of Love. You can see some of the elements he’s tried to introduce into the film, such as the close focus on Peter and trying to show his humanity throughout the whole ordeal. The twist in the film is actually incredible and brings so much to the film, making the entire concept unreal but ultimately the execution of the film lets it down.
Whether it is Ben Young lacking in the experience for this type of project, or whether it was rushed to get the project finished and distributed, Extinction has some huge flaws that prevent it from being the film it could’ve been. As already mentioned, the script needed some work, as the concept was great but the script took too long to get to where it began to be interesting. It relied on way too many narrative tropes which ultimately ended up becoming tiresome as the film progressed.
There was some interesting use of camera angles and techniques that unfortunately weren’t executed properly so fell a bit short, and the CGI graphics needed some serious work. A lot of the explosions were too bright and orange, almost reminiscent of the 80’s graphics that can be seen in classics like the original Star Wars.
It was a daring attempt from Ben Young to take on a film like Extinction and whilst it may not be his best delivery yet, I am looking forward to seeing more character-based dramas from him that return to his more comfortable territory like Hounds of Love. Unfortunately, in the case of Extinction, I am going to have to say Skip It.