The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,Spanish
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoe Kravitz
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Gary Whitta, M. Night Shyamalan,
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 8, 2013
A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a treacherous journey to signal for help. They must learn to work together and trust each other, if they want any chance of returning home.
One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind's new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his teenaged son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm cripples their spacecraft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar, quarantined and dangerous Earth. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help, facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.
It would be fair to say that I am a Will Smith fan and have enjoyed his movies since he transitioned to the big screen. After seeing the trailer for After Earth I thought to myself that this is probably the first of his films that didn’t leave me with a desire to see it. If you saw the trailer for the film you pretty much get the gist of the story which was penned by Smith and adapted by screenwriter Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) and director M. Night Shyalaman. I have only seen Jaden Smith in a couple of films and can’t say that I am taken with him as an actor but he’s still young and working on his craft. I wanted to like After Earth but found its weak plot development, sluggish pacing and familiar estranged father/son mawkishness overshadowed any semblance of sci-fi adventure fun.
I didn’t care for the production design with respect to the depiction of the new home world, Nova Prime (how unoriginal), the futuristic weaponry, spacecraft or the alien creatures. It all just seemed basic and lacking in imagination. Will Smith is a fine actor but there simply wasn’t enough here for him to sink his teeth into. Jaden has the lion’s share of camera time and he doesn’t have the chops to keep the audience focused especially with such thin material. The action isn’t engaging and as alluded to earlier the narrative is frothy and lacking a spirited sense of adventure. M. Night Shyamalan just can’t seem to get it right which is a shame. At the end of the day After Earth feels more about Will + Jaden than a viable big budget sci-fi action adventure. As a fan I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
The rating is for sci-fi action violence and some disturbing images.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
After Earth comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 Mbps.
This is a reference quality Blu-ray offering from Sony that looks terrific in high definition. The video is razor sharp with a slightly edgy but otherwise pristine quality that is visually pleasing. Detail rendering is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine articulation that brings forth lots of subtle detail in the images onscreen. Colors are rich and delineated with oversaturated primaries and warm tonality that make them pop nicely. The palette of secondary hues that represent the soft colors featured in the story, appear vivid and warm. Flesh tones are natural with varying degrees of complexional separation among the cast. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is strong which brings out plenty of discernible texture in low/uneven lighting and dark backgrounds. The CGI based and green screen photography softened some shots but its effects are innate and fidelity appears intact.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has excellent dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. James Newton Howard’s music score, coupled along with well integrated discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in this surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the action based sequences. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. I enjoyed this audio presentation but there was little about it that left an impression on me.
- (HD) “A Father’s Legacy” featurette – Will and Jaden Smith on and off screen – 8 minutes
- (HD) “1,000 Years in 300 Seconds” featurette – On Location with the Cast – 5 minutes
- (HD) “The Nature of the Future” featurette – A look at the landscapes and creatures of the film (can also be used as a screensaver on your HDTV)
- (HD) XPRIZE After Earth Robotics Challenge winning video – The exclusive reveal of the winning team's video, with an introduction by Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige – 3 minutes
- (HD) Alternate opening sequence – 2 minutes
- (HD) “Building a World” featurette – A glimpse into the creation of the After Earth universe – 12 minutes
- (HD) “Pre-Visualizing the Future” featurette – A next-generation approach to action sequences – 5 minutes
- (HD) “The Animatics of After Earth” featurette – Never-before-seen storyboards and animatics – 8 minutes
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
After Earth has large aspirations but unfortunately suffers from weak plot development, sluggish pacing and an overly sentimental theme that white washes the proceedings. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits and a fair supplemental offering that includes Blu-ray exclusive content. If you happen to like the film this is worth picking up otherwise I would wait for After Earth to come to cable/TV and check it out then.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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