Buzz Aldrin’s Expert Opinion On What M. Night Shyamlan’s After Earth Got Wrong

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When Buzz Aldrin puts in his two cents about the realism of how space travel is portrayed in a movie, it’s worth at least 10 cents. And while nobody really needed an explanation of why M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth wasn’t the most realistic movie out this year, it’s better than hearing a non-astronaut say it. (But seriously, read our review.)

Aldrin got a chance to see the film at its New York premiere and spoke with the Huffington Post at an event where he was a guest of honor. Though he enjoyed the set design and the family dynamic between Will Smith and Jaden, he felt the film was too much of a “shoot-em-up,” joking that he would hope “the aliens are more peaceful than they are in this film, wherever they are.” But his main point of contention is one of the oldest errors in sci-fi: sounds in space.

“There was a lot of noise,” he said of After Earth. “In space, you don’t get that much noise…Noise doesn’t propagate in a vacuum. We talked over headsets. Fortunately, we were free of static. We could communicate with each other pretty clearly, and mission control, though we were 50,000 miles away.” Should we just chalk another checkmark next to Joss Whedon’s name for offering complete silence in space on Firefly? I think we shall. Maybe if they’d have kept to the film’s original pitch, this wouldn’t have been an issue and we wouldn’t have spent so much time talking about a damned Shyamalan movie.

Aldrin is a proponent of colonizing other worlds, though he doubts it’ll happen in his lifetime. “And as Neil says, that was sort of a small step for man, but to me the giant leap is establishing permanence on another planet.” When we get there, you can bet something will be named after him.


  1. Mike Emmons says:

    if anyone knows what a fake space flight should look like…

  2. Shayde says:

    Galactica got it right too… the second one.

  3. Jennifer Neugebauer says:

    Farscape did the silent-space thing before Firefly came along.

  4. Yes 99% of space films break the rule of no noise in space, but they wouldn’t have the same impact with the majority of audiences without them. Another staple of space flicks that doesn’t work is the blaster firing bolts of light energy instead of beams. In reality they would have to be plasma and would need a power pack the size of a backpack to work (cold plasma of course cause regular plasma would melt the gun and the owner).