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After Earth

Score: 67%
Rating: PG-13
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 100 Mins.
Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
Audio: English, French (Double au
           Quebec), Spanish 5.1 Dolby
           Digital, English Audio
           Descriptive Track

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,


  • A Father's Legacy
  • 1,000 Years in 300 Seconds
  • The Nature of the Future
  • Xprize After Earth Challenge

At its heart, M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth is a tale about the strained relationship between a father and son and that son's subsequent coming of age, but it happens to take place in a dangerous setting many years in the future. After man has destroyed the Earth, they pick up shop and move to another planet, Nova Prime, but diabolical creatures called Ursas are bred by an alien race to hunt humans there and it is still very dangerous. The Prime Commander of the elite Ranger Corps is a man named Cypher Raige (Will Smith), and only he has mastered the ability to "ghost," which is to literally have no fear so that the blind but deadly creatures can't sense him. Raige's teen son, Kitai (Jaden Smith), wants desperately to follow in his father's footsteps, but he is denied the promotion in rank to Ranger, because he is not ready. Cypher spends most of his time away from home, battling on different planets, so in an attempt to mend his relationship with his son, he asks Kitai to join him on a training mission. Naturally, things go awry and the ship sheers in two, killing everyone else on board, critically injuring Cypher's legs, and releasing the caged Ursa that was being transported for the training mission. Despite warnings from the ship's automated messaging, they were forced to crash land on Earth, a place where everything has evolved with one primary goal to kill humans. Their only hope is an emergency beacon in the tail of the plane that landed some 100 kilometers away through the most dangerous terrain imaginable.

I wanted to really love After Earth, simply because I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic movies and sci-fi, but I just found myself somewhat bored by it all. Jaden Smith overacts a good bit and, while his parkour skills are somewhat impressive, they are not enough to rescue this film from falling into the pit of contrived sci-fi stories and bad acting. I love Will Smith and typically enjoy his movies. I'm sure it was his dream come true to work with his son on a film where he wrote the story, but I just wasn't a fan. So much of the film was CG and it wasn't very impressive on DVD. Perhaps it looked better on the Blu-ray version, but I haven't seen it so I can't speak to that. Also, I was slowly driven crazy by the contrived accent that the actors used some weird blend of Irish, Southern and I don't know what that just seemed unnecessary and ridiculous.

As far as special features go, there's a featurette on Jaden and Will Smith, a short one focusing on the cast and crew while on location, one on the colorful locales used for the film and, finally, one that focused on the XPrize After Earth Challenge, which included the winning team's video submission. It's all pretty basic stuff and you can take it or leave it.

Overall, I can't really recommend After Earth to anyone other than hardcore Will and Jaden Smith fans. Sure, it was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, but that's not saying much these days. If you are in the mood for a sci-fi flick, there are better ones out there. It's not the worst film for sure, but not worth more than a Netflix rent.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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