Extinct follows brother-sister duo Ed and Op (Adam Devine and Rachel Bloom), flummels (donut/rabbit hybrid creatures) who are themselves outcasts from their community. While trying to rebuild a bridge that they accidentally broke, the two end up falling through a time-travelling flower, landing them in modern-day Shanghai. Confused by a world so different from the Galapagos islands of 1835 whence they came, the two are faced with more than just the stark changes of the modern world – they must also deal with the fact that their species is now extinct.
While trying to get back to their own time with the aim of warning their species of their impendent doom, they cross paths with the extinctables – extinct animals that have been saved by Dr. Sun, a scientist who had been investigating the power of the time-travelling flowers… until he mysteriously disappeared.
As one can probably surmise from the description alone, Extinct is very family-friendly. The flummels are adorable mascots and the setting designs are bright and colourfully appealing. The concept is interesting and could perhaps have been more deeply explored in another film but, given the film’s kid-friendly target audience, the arguably traumatic situation is given only surface-level consideration. Nonetheless, the adventure narrative and its characters are enough to keep Extinct engaging, with the help of a few fantastical flourishes – such as the time-travel flower portals.
The voice cast also contains its fair share of familiar voices, all of whom bring skill, heart, and humour to their roles. Devine and Bloom are particular stand-outs, but are well supported by the vocal talents of Ken Jeong (Clarance), Jim Jefferies (Burnie), Reggie Watts (Hoss) and, somewhat unexpectedly, Steve Aoki (Vinny).
The only real criticism one can levy against the film is the sudden inclusion of what feels like shoe-horned, heterosexual romance. One of the extinctables, Dottie the Dodo (Zazie Beetz) is the voice of reason, happily going against the stereotype of the ancient bird by being the smartest in the room. She and Ed have one moment where she is encouraging Ed to think about his words, about his family, and it’s all very sweet.
Until the end of the movie. Suddenly Dottie and Ed are having a make out session (sliding off camera to hide it from the eyes of the children, one supposes) and birth a flummel/dodo baby. Not only does it come out of nowhere, it does nothing to advance the story or the character’s arcs. You can’t help but question why it was included.
That issue aside, Extinct is an enjoyable watch for the whole family. It’s bright, bold, and offers a heart-warming message about accepting yourself and others, no matter how ‘weird’ they may seem. If you want an easy watch with an interesting premise, or a film for any kiddos you have running around, Extinct is a good choice!
Extinct releases on Sky Cinema and streaming service NOW from August 20th.