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Film / Extinction (2018)

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Extinction is a 2018 American science fiction thriller film directed by Ben Young and written by Spenser Cohen, Eric Heisserer and Brad Kane.

The film is about an engineer named Peter, who has a recurring dream about the loss of his family during an oncoming invasion. When the invasion actually occurs, he tries his best to get his family to safety. But not everything is what it seems.

The film stars Lizzy Caplan, Michael Peña, Mike Colter, Lilly Aspell, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard and Lex Shrapnel. It was released on Netflix on July 27, 2018.

This movie has several major twists, so read ahead at your own risk.

Unrelated to Extinction, a video game coincidentally released in the same year.

Extinction contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Ageless: All the androids are naturally this. Even 50 years later, none of them have aged a day, including the children. Also, periodic "psychiatry" (memory wipes) did help with any issues.
  • Alien Invasion: What the movie is apparently about. However, the “aliens” are actually humans, who have come back to Earth to reclaim it from the androids that took it from them 50 years earlier.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The movie is set 50 years after intelligent androids rebelled and chased all humans off the planet.
  • Androids Are People, Too: One of the people seen debating on TV in a flashback strongly takes this view, and the film definitely agrees. They are so much people that you can't tell the difference.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Peter and Alice honestly had no idea that they were androids, until Alice gets injured and Peter has to help restart her.
  • Arc Words: Lucy's Doll Herman only says "Monkey see, monkey do". The androids create a society just like the human one.
  • The Atoner: The androids felt guilty as a whole species for driving off the humans from Earth out of self-defense, to the point that they erased their entire memories to forget that they were androids at all. One example being Peter and Alice's daughters who felt bad for their human parents being killed. There were exceptions, such as David and a few of the androids who prepared for a future counter-attack.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Once the whole picture becomes clear, this trope gets in full effect; the androids want to continue their new lives on Earth, but the humans want their planet back. Peter acknowledges this and hopes it will someday lead to peace between the androids and humans.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The weapons carried by the aliens don't seem to require reloading.
  • Colonized Solar System: After being driven off the Earth, the humans retreated to colonies on Mars to prepare for a counterattack, thus sparking the entire plot of the movie.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Downplayed and justified. When the alien invasion begins, Peter finds out his boss David and several of his co-workers from the factory already prepared for this day, having arranged an underground hideout and a train to take refugees there. Then comes the reveal that the aliens are actually humans coming back to reclaim Earth. David was one of the few androids who decided to keep his memories after the original war 50 years ago, and thus knew the humans were still out there somewhere, plotting to strike back someday, so he had time to prepare.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of the flashbacks shows human demonstrators chant "You will not replace us", aimed at the androids. This is almost the exact same chant used by neo-Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, for the nighttime rally they held, except it was "Jews will not replace us", based on their claim of a Jewish plot to replace "Aryans" with blacks, Latinos and others. Perhaps not coincidentally, the leads here are Latino and Jewish.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Peter seems to be suffering from this. He has frequent nightmares about what seems to be an alien invasion, and then the invasion and war actually begins. Eventually averted; his “dreams” were not visions of the future, but repressed memories about the original war from 50 years ago, in which androids drove humanity off the Earth.
  • Fake Memories: Peter, Alice and the majority of others had false memories implanted. In his case it gives him a created past history with his new children.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: A dark example. Both androids and humans fought a war for their own right to live. The former rose up in response to a massive genocidal campaign, with the latter being the descendants of the humans who were driven off from Earth and want the planet back.
  • Final Solution: In the past, the humans tried to kill all androids, but they fought back in response, driving them from Earth onto their Mars colonies.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Alice's discussion on upgrading the sewage system would later play a role in her finding for a safe route to the government bunker.
    • Peter's visions of the future tend to be inconsistent, where he was shown to be changing the fluorescent lights while he was supposed to be an engineer at a hi-tech facility. This gives a hint at his past as an android assigned as a hospital electrician.
    • At the party for Alice’s promotion, no one is seen eating or drinking. Apparently as human-like as the androids may be, they don’t need sustenance. Later we see they run by electrical power.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: One of the scenes that implied a mutilation of a surviving human by the aliens. At least as a way for the movie to hide the fact that he and other "humans" are in fact androids when this revelation was shown during Alice's "surgery" where it showed her internal components.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The whole conflict can be boiled down into this. While the androids fought in self-defense, they committed a fair share of atrocities (one of them being Alice and Peter's "daughters" original parents being killed because they were humans) to the point that the majority of them erased their memories out of guilt. Humans may be liberating their planet as a response to being driven off by the androids, but they show little hesitation in mowing down androids despite many of them having little to no knowledge of their own crimes and already shown to have basic human sapience.
  • Happily Adopted: A variation, where Peter and Alice adopted their daughters, one of them having a part of her face torn off during a struggle, which was erased along with others to live a "normal" lives.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Despite their human-like appearance and intelligence, androids were treated as third-grade citizens by humans. Humans started the original war 50 years ago out of fear that the androids would rebel against them someday. And now, humans are the ones invading Earth and trying to exterminate all the androids.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Subverted; at first the invading aliens appear to be this, however that is just what their suits make them look like. They are actually humans.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: This is one of the complaints we see frequently leveled at androids in the flashbacks.
  • Just a Machine: In a flashback, one debater on TV says androids are this, and therefore have no rights, while humans can destroy them at will if they wish.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After the first war, many androids willingly had their memories about the war, and even the fact THAT they are androids, wiped so they could live normal lives.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Miles the soldier cites this as the reason for why he is helping Peter fix Alice; he was told they were going to Earth to fight monsters. Instead, he found very humanlike androids living normal family lives, and he did not sign up to kill families and children.
  • No Ending: The movie ends with Peter and his family, along with many other android evacuees, on a train bound for a safe underground hideout from where they hope to strike back against the human invaders, while the invasion is still going on.
  • Organic Technology: The invading aliens, or rather humans from Martian colonies, had pieces of equipment that had organic vibes to the point where even their electronic displays are projected in mist form.
  • The Reveal: Oh boy, where to start. First we learn the invading aliens are actually humans. Then we learn that the main characters are androids, something even they had no idea about. And then we learn that Peter’s dreams are about a war that happened 50 years ago, in which the androids rebelled against humanity and drove them off Earth.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: All the main characters who are not invading aliens. Most of them had their memories wiped out and don’t even know themselves that they are androids.
  • Robotic Reveal: Both Peter and the viewer first learn of the main characters' true nature when Miles cuts open the unconscious Alice and exposes her internal system.
  • Security Blanket: Herman, Lucy’s talking ape doll. She refuses to go anywhere without him.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The reason the androids rebelled 50 years ago is not just because of the way they were treated, but because humans feared they would someday rebel and tried to strike first.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Inverted or played with: the "aliens" are humans from off-world colonies coming to retake Earth.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: After an attempted genocide against them by the humans, the androids rebelled. The humans instead were driven to Mars, where they had colonies. Ironically fear of just this happening was what had prompted the genocide attempt to begin with.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Peter gets ahold of one of the aliens' assault rifles and figures out that the gun has a biometric lock which won't allow him to fire it... right away. He spends a few scenes trying to figure out how and he lucks into the right way to short out the lock while he's under fire.
  • Walking Spoiler: The entire movie is this, particularly Miles.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Miles hesitates on seeing Lucy under the table instead of just killing her. This foreshadows that he's unwilling to do this later, and thus disillusioned with his people's campaign.