⭐⭐½ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: A fine movie for kids, with some adorable and surprisingly funny creature design, but a fairly paper-thin plot.




Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

Extinct is one of those films that grabs your attention from quick jokes reels as ads on other videos, in this case largely because the premise of "doughnut-shaped adorable hamsters" is one well placed for slapstick comedy. And in that, the film delivers, although I'd recommend trying to avoid some of the ads as they did spoil the better moments for us.

Still, the film uses that central gimmick to good effect, and the physical humour of the animation is top-notch. The rest of the animation is handily "good enough", though far from groundbreaking or original. The same can be said for voice acting and the overarching plot, though the latter is definitely the weak part of the film. I think it's fair to say that the story is pretty paint-by-numbers: central characters with an arc of "learning to understand one another"; a surprise villain; and a gang of loveable misfit side characters. Oh, and the whole time-portal flower thing... yeah, it's not a plot that needs to be dissected too heavily.

And neither are the morals. Our central doughnut-hamsters are living in an incredibly toxic and problematic relationship, one which I'm not sure earned its redemption theme. The villain has some justification in feeling outcast by society, but then also over-reaches that justification to become fairly diabolical way too quickly, and neatly ignores several early moments to achieve their plan for no better reason than that the audience doesn't yet know they're evil, I guess. And whilst I'll always be happy to have watched Alex Borstein (of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) voice a Macrauchenia (even one with likely-inaccurate trunk), I'm not sure the side story of the "Extinctables" learning to not fear their demise is that notable.

Also, can we just pause for a moment to note that the scientist behind the whole affair is ultimately recognised for the re-discovery of Flummels, rather than the much more important discovery of time travel. And that whilst his actions to save individuals of a species are at least a little noble, he could with relative ease prevent the extinction of most of those species (and, for those like the Dodo and Thylacine that were killed off by humans relatively recently, probably has a moral imperative to do so) yet chooses to instead create a weird zoo-like situation for only himself. Or the fact he just abuses time travel for his own personal kicks, inserting himself directly into the timeline and actively shown to alter history, yet never seems to worry about that at all? Is he meant to be a villain too?

But look, this is a film about doughnut-shaped hamsters performing slapstick comedy routines, and by that criteria, it's pretty inoffensive, mostly enjoyable, and made me laugh a fair bit. Plus, for once, the irked, malevolent pet was a dog, rather than a cat, so that's nice to see.

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