The Movie: 7.5/10
I liked it. After Earth is not perfect, what movie is? (Midnight Run, Groundhog Day, Wizard of Oz, but who’s counting?) A future in which Earth is too hostile for humans to survive, so we have abandoned it. We, as we humans do, found another homestead and what did we find? Someone else lived there but we didn’t give a shit, so they are trying to kill us horribly by genetically creating a scary creature that hunts human fear pheromones. Yes, a creature that hunts us by smelling, because they are blind, our fear. OK, so it sounds corny, but I can get behind it. It’s science, right?.
A young boy forced to make a trek across a dangerous terrain, face dangerous creatures, do dangerous things, this is what adventure is all about. A struggle to win his father’s love and respect is sneaked in there too, which is lost on me, but I get it. It feels forced, but then again so does a Hobbit taking an evil ring across a long distance to save the “world”….so there ya go. I guess it’s the context of the story and how much of it is built to convince me, and in After Earth I’m not completely convinced that injuring the father so severely that the young boy who just HAPPENS to be desperate to get that approval has to make a terrible journey or they DIE!!
Along the way we get a glimpse, even if it seems a slim glimpse, of what our little lonely planet might be like after a thousand years without humans around to make it ‘lived in’. I love the idea of that, but unfortunately I didn’t feel they convinced me of that one either. It might not sound like I liked this movie, that is not correct. I enjoyed it a lot. The truth can’t be hidden behind the entertainment though, it has flaws. If I am watching a future movie about our world I want a vision that fills me with either complete dread or complete hope or something interesting in between. Some movies do this, even the cheeky ones like The 5th Element. I even liked Minority Report, in a weird way. Strange Days did it for me, and of course Blade Runner. So, what is it about After Earth that misses that fulfillment of my future fantasies? I don’ t know exactly, but it seemed a bit claustrophobic, even though he goes many miles. They don’t show sites where cities used to be, and it’s all just jungle and lush plants. I understand that would be the natural state of some of the land masses we live on, but after an hour or so it all starts to blend together. Oblivion did an excellent job of showing us a variety of textures and places and hints at our past civilization. I’m not comparing, just saying.
Overall I enjoyed After Earth a lot. The more I think about it the more endearing young Mr. Smith remains in my mind. He did a good job and I hope to see him again in future adventures. Older Mr. Smith is fine too, I just wish we would get more of the Ali and happiness Smith than the “grown up” Independence Day Smith. 🙂
- A Fathers Legacy – Probably my favorite feature on the disc, you get to see some actual genuine moments between Will & Jaden Smith here. The movie parallels the relationship between father and son and Will Smith and Son.
- 1000 years in 300 seconds – The title of this extra sounds really interesting, unfortunately its a 300 second fast cut to music clips from the movie thing. Not very interesting at all.
- The Nature Of The Future – A very weird quasi screensaver/nature documentary, not sure who would leave the bluray in the disc tray playing all day to use this as a screen saver.
- Xprize After Earth Challenge – A short three-minute piece for all the ecologists among you.
- Alternate Opening – A different opening but not necessarily a better one.
- Building A World – A 12 minute look behind the scenes as cast and crew discuss the look of the future in After Earth. I am a big fan of writer Garry Whitta and you get to see him here briefly.
- The Animatics Of After Earth – A look at the computerized storyboards used in the making of the movie.
- Pre Vizualizing The Future – Finished scenes from the movie fast cut with the animatics to provide comparisons.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
I wouldn’t have this cover as a poster, let me tell you why. It’s so faked up its obnoxious. I have been looking at Will Smith for a very long time, since he was the Fresh Prince, so his face is familiar. This cover was done by someone who either had no idea who Will Smith is, or they are obsessed with their lack of skills with Photo Shop. Needless to say I don’t like it. The menu is just navigation.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Mastered from the original 4K elements After Earth is a stunning vision of the future brought to life on Sony’s shiny HD disc format. Down sampled to 1080P courtesy of the AVC codec this is simply a breathtaking looking movie from start to finish. The visual effects here are nothing short of flawless with lots of beautiful looking scenic shots that really stand up to close scrutiny. I never saw any instances of macroblocking or black crush, if I had to pick anything apart some of the flashback shots are a little soft but it might have been intentional.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Loss-less soundtrack starts huge literally, the actual opening 5 seconds are so loud I thought I had my amplifier up to much. This is a terrific sounding track that really immerses you into the future earth setting. Music is a big part of the action and is mixed so it is never overpowering. Surround activity is constant and LFE is great across the board. After Earth is a showcase Blu-Ray to dazzle your friends with.
If you are looking for an adventurous jaunt on a weekend night to a future Earth, After Earth is a fine choice. The extras are pretty good, informative and adds something to understanding the concept for the overall look and theme of the movie. I wouldn’t say I need it on my shelf, so renting it is good enough for me.
Overall Score 7.5/10