2018, Movies

Extinction (2018, Ben Young)

This is a pretty high concept science fiction film with a tiny budget that looks rather shitty and has a few really odd decisions that likely only happened because of the budget.

SPOILERS

This is, at least, a high concept alien invasion movie, not just an alien invasion movie. The concept is…Robots! (I told you there would be spoilers. And yes, it’s kind of reverse Battlestar Galatica.) But at least it’s a twist on the usual alien invasion film. I didn’t actually guess the robot twist, though apparently a lot of people have. But I did guess another of the twists – the visions are actually flashbacks!!! whoa!!! – and so it really is one of these movies that doesn’t disguise it’s twists very well.

When they do reveal the visions as flashbacks, they make a huge pacing misstep, which takes whatever little momentum they had built up out of the film. But that’s not really the problem, though is a problem.

One major problem is that, aside from the twist, we’ve seen this film before, in terms of the “people stuck in a high-rise during an alien attack” thing, we’ve seen it rather a lot – though this film isn’t stuck in the high-rise at least.

And like many of those films, the CGI in this film is rather terrible for 2018. You can almost feel the pain of the rather excellent cast whenever they got to watch the scenes after the CGI was added, as everyone here is taking this film rather seriously, as if the budget was significantly higher. 

And then there’s the end: lacking a budget to do much with, I guess, the robots escape their city – which was attacked from the air, I might point out – on a fucking subway train. I kid you not. (Apparently it’s a failed subway in Belgrade in reality, which is kind of neat.) As the train escapes through a countryside that looks like some kind of unholy combination of stop-motion and CGI, the bridge gives way on purpose, and we the audience are left wondering why a bunch of synthetic lifeforms, who knew they would be attacked by humans returning from Mars, in spacecraft, would build an elaborate escape train. Alas, there’s no answer.

3/10

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