After Earth Blu-ray Review
Danger is real, fear is a choice, narrative is optional.
After Earth Blu-ray ReviewTo say that it's no surprise that M. Night Shyamalan has failed to deliver once again is an understatement. However, it's impossible to rest all the blame at the under-performing director's feet as his story is based on an original concept by, you guessed it, the Fresh Prince himself. Not to say that he's incapable of having a good idea, it's just that he hasn't had one yet. After Earth's main problem is it's concept and sadly there's just no getting away from that even if you put an in-form director at the helm. The premise is pretty basic and simple, but fundamentally flawed. A futuristic survival story in which those who don't feel emotions become invisible to the enemy that hunts them. Shame that also means everyone is incredibly boring too.
After Earth Blu-ray Picture QualityAfter Earth drops like an anvil with an incredible “mastered in 4k” 2.40:1 1080p AVC encode. I couldn't fault the image presentation, and found myself cursing the fact that the movie is so uncompromisingly undeserving of such a wonderful picture. It's stand-out mechanism is invariably the rather glorious production design that fits perfectly with the CG on show. It's benchmark stuff and no mistake. Detail is fantastic, particularly noticeable with Kitai's suit close ups, not to mention the intricate design details on the transporter ship that crash lands on earth. In terms of sharness and clarity, it leaves nothing to be desired. Colours are equally as wonderful and the palette boasts a wide range of beautifully rendered tones. From the luscious and deep greens of the earth fauna, to the gritty and deep grey's and pinks of the off-world sections. Nothing is under par in terms of the colour palette knocking your socks off. As for dynamic range between the lights and darks, again, masterful execution. Blacks are deep and inky yet hide little of the shadow detail thanks to the balance between the brighter and lighter areas of the screen being nothing short of perfect. Folks, it's undoubtedly a showroom piece, and one you'll find yourself turning to for many a demo of your high end kit. Superb.
You couldn't fault the image presentation but the movie is so undeserving of such a wonderful picture.
After Earth Blu-ray Sound QualityIn keeping with the stellar image on this Blu-ray disc, the audio presentation is equally as majestic. With a beautiful DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, that's just as hard to fault as the video. First of all, dialogue is crystal clear throughout and never gets masked beyond audible levels by the rich tapestry of sound and music going on. It's clear and audible, and occupies the centre channel predominantly. As for the surround array, there's plenty going on to allow your setup to stretch it's legs from the cacophonous but highly detailed crash landing sequence to the multitude of creature sound effects, there's never a dull moment. All this detail is wrapped up in a voluptuously rich and detailed ambience that serves to add an incredible amount of depth and detail to the environments. In terms of balance overall, it's sensible. The sub doesn't overpower and tends to add depth to effects rather than just overloading the mix with bass, and the high frequency range of the foley and other sound effects is impressive. Overall, I'd struggle to find much to quibble with in terms of audio. Top notch.
In keeping with the stellar image on this Blu-ray disc, the audio presentation is equally as majestic.
After Earth Blu-ray ExtrasSplit into two categories, Special Features & Blu-ray exclusives, the bonus material on the disc failed to impress me much. There are some interesting tidbits of information on the more technical side of the production throughout which may be of interest to some.
A Fathers Legacy – You guessed it, it's about father and son, both on and off screen. Yack.
1,000 Years in 300 seconds – Fast short clips strung together and formed from various behind the scenes moments captured.
The Nature of the Future – A featurette that looks at the film's locations for their futuristic settings. Apparently this feature can be used as a screensaver – I didn't care enough to try.
Alternate Opening – Pretty self explanatory.
Building a World – A twelve minute long featurette that's basically a making of. It has cast and crew discussing the future in depth, and has some useful information offered up in terms of production design. Worth a look.
The Animatics of After Earth – A short look at how animatics and storyboards enable early pre-production visualisations for scenes in the movie.
Pre-Visualizing the Future – Another look at the finished scenes interspersed with the storyboards and animatics. I couldn't help but wonder as to the reasoning behind not combining this piece with the Animatics one.
Is After Earth Blu-ray Worth BuyingAfter Earth is an abysmal and embarrassing foray into Science Fiction from Will Smith and his sadly talentless son. Many have levelled criticism at Smith for the movie's arguable scientology threads permeating throughout, but for me, the real shame is that this movie acts as little more than confirmation that Jaden Smith either can't act, or simply hasn't turned it on yet, and my gut tells me that he's in the wrong profession. The consistently underachieving M. Night Shyamalan tells Will Smith's own story within a framework in which the main characters are actively trying to become more boring in order to survive, and as a result, the movie get's progressively more boring as time goes on. It's an endurance test for the most stalwart Smith fan, and one I struggle to find positives in.
As for the package, well at least it boasts stunning video and sound presentations, easily warranting demo status for your system, and with a brace of extras that, though never overly exciting, ticks the boxes for those who value bonus content. Sadly, the disappointment of the movie outweighs the value in the picture and sound. Avoid like your life depended on it.
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