After Earth Blu-ray Review

When it was first reported that Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan were going to work on AFTER EARTH together, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty excited. There are a lot of M. Night Shyamalan haters, and I’ll be the first to admit that his twist endings and plots do get a little tiresome sometimes, but could a film with him and Will Smith really be that bad? The answer is no, but only if you go into the film with an open mind and standard expectations.

After Earth

AFTER EARTH follows Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) a young man who is trying to follow in his father’s (Will Smith) large footsteps to become a Ranger for a military that protects humanity after they were forced to escape Earth. When the father and son set off for a routine mission, an unexpected event sets them on a crash course to Earth, which is inhospitable and now inhabited by creatures that are unfriendly to humans.  To make matters worse, the evil beast designed specifically to kill humans that was being transported on their ship has escaped.  Papa Raige is injured during the crash landing and unable to help Kitai track down the beacon which will save their lives. This is where the story begins.

After Earth

It’s surely common knowledge now but could be mentioned again that this is Jaden Smith’s film and not Will Smith’s film– at all. That’s a bummer, because sadly Jaden doesn’t yet have the charisma to carry a film like his father, and whether or not he’ll ever be able to obtain the A-list status of his father remains to be seen.  However, Jaden’s performance is not bad by any means, it’s just not charismatic enough to carry a film.  It seems as thought Shyamalan recognized this as well since we never went too long without a shot of Will Smith back at the ship.  The elder Smith didn’t have much to do, but he’s one of the most charismatic actors of all time and in he did well with what he had.

After Earth

What’s going to come as a shock to movie watchers, is that AFTER EARTH isn’t a normal Shyamalan film. There are no plot twists or supernatural elements involved; in fact, it’s a pretty straight forward film that is just well done. I would even argue that AFTER EARTH is nothing more than an intense coming-of-age movie. As we watch Kitai struggle with the relationship with his father, there are scenes throughout the film that represent the different bonds between parent and child which is pretty beautiful.  The scenery which is absolutely stunning and is used as a vicious character throughout the film, but one you never really root against because we know that Earth is in its current state because of humans.  That might sound a little preachy, but I was pleased Shyamalan kept the story on the father-son relationship and not the climate.

After Earth

AFTER EARTH received a lot of bad press and critical reviews , but this reviewer feels that criticism is too harsh. Maybe it was my low expectations, but AFTER EARTH is far better than a lot of people have given it credit for.  I know Shyamalan has lost a lot of fans, but maybe the nicest thing one can say about AFTER EARTH is that you can’t tell it was directed by M. Night Shyamalan.  If you were nervous you were in for another lame twist ending or a misguided, overly preachy film, then let me assure you neither of those are true.  At its core, AFTER EARTH is a story about a boy trying to live up to the standards of his father, all the while trying to become his own person.  And, maybe surprisingly, it works.

AFTER EARTH BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: A beautiful film with a stunning transfer on Blu-ray.

Audio: Great audio with a nice balance between dialogue and the ambient sounds of the jungle.

After Earth

A Father’s Legacy (8:52): A quick look at the on-screen and real life relationship between Will and Jaden Smith, as well as some shots of Jaden training for the role.

Alternate Opening (2:18): Not going to reveal anything, but worth checking out.

Building a World (12:01): The cast and crew talk about their process of bringing the future Earth to the screen.

Pre-Visualizing the Future (5:49): Rough drafts of scenes from the film cut in with the animation that shows the techniques used in the film.

The Animatics of After Earth (8:38): This delves into the uses of animatics in the film.

1000 years in 300 Seconds (5:24): A quick clip that shows some behind-the-scenes moments from the film.

The Nature of the Future (5:21): A short documentary that gives us some looks at the locations used in the films (Costa Rica, California and Utah to be specific).

XPrize After Earth Challenge (3:34): A discussion on how to save the planet.

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