After Earth DVD
Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith have the potential to be a box office tour de force. They proved this with The Pursuit of Happyness and they were looking to prove this again with After Earth. However, the setup for the father and son duo’s latest film puts the focus on Jaden, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The film follows Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith), two citizens of Nova Prime, the world humanity settled on after being forced to abandon Earth. Kitai is seen as a disappointment to his ranger father, but his mother Faia Raige (Sophie Okonedo) convinces Cypher to take their son on his last mission before retirement. A series of events leads to a crash landing on Earth in which Cypher’s legs are broken. Kitai is sent on a mission to find a distress beacon and signal for help. Because Cypher is stuck with broken legs at the site of the wreckage, After Earth relies on Jaden to carry most of the scenes in the film. He was good in The Karate Kid, but he’s less exciting here. The problem might lie less with Jaden’s acting and more with the traipsing he is forced to do from scene to scene in the film.

From the initial trailers for After Earth, the whole endeavor came across as an over-bloated stab at science fiction. While M.Night Shyamalan’s After Earth is a little much, its bigger issue is that it plays out so slowly it might lull you to sleep. You would think with an Earth full of large creatures that can take out humanity there would be plenty of action and there is, but the space between scenes featuring condors and baboons drags out quite a bit.

This is the first flick that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment put together in 4K picture, andAfter Earth looks really good. The DVD lacks the crispness that I imagine the film has in HD and 4K, but it is still fun to look at. The landscapes that Kitai encounters are wild and vulnerable; he runs across volcanic areas rife with lava, he flies with a condor hot in pursuit, and he even scuttles through a treacherous cave, encountering venomous snakes. If you want to watch a film that looks good on your TV, After Earth will certainly fit that criteria.

You can order After Earth over at Amazon.

Best Special Feature: Most of the extras on this disc are odd segments that “look at nature” and play out like really weird screensavers. Probably the best bonus feature is “A Father’s Legacy,” which playfull looks at Will and Jaden Smith’s relationship offscreen, as well as Cypher and Kitai’s relationship in the film. The two like to joke around a lot, and it’s a pleasant enough extra to watch, although I would have liked to have seen more of a focus on the special effects in the film. Apparently, if you purchase the Blu-ray copy of the film, you’ll get more of a behind-the-scenes look.

Other Special Features:
“1,000 Years in 300 Seconds”
“The Nature of the Future”
“XPrize After Earth Challenge”

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