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At first glance, some thought After Earth would be a return to form for director M. Night Shyamalan. The science fiction film featured Will Smith and his son Jaden, the trailers looked exciting, and it certainly had the makings of a blockbuster. But once audiences finally saw it, it became clear that M. Night Shyamalan still has a long road ahead of him if he hopes to re-capture the magic of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. After Earth is a painfully banal science fiction film with (surprisingly) cringe-worthy acting. Now you can “enjoy” the film in the comfort of your own home when it’s released on Blu-ray/DVD in October.
The M. Night Shyamalan film was also a weak performer at the box office this summer. It only grossed an embarrassing $60.5 million domestically, but brought in a decent $183 million internationally, making for a $243.6 million overall worldwide box office take, against a $130 million production budget. Considering this is a Will Smith action movie, it stands to reason that After Earth was a big disappointment when you look at his successful track record with Men in Black, I Am Legend, and Hancock.
After Earth was a critical and commercial failure, but maybe people will be more favorable to the science fiction film once they watch it at home. For some reason, movies are often better when you don’t have to pay attention to them at home, as opposed to watching them in a movie theater.
The After Earth Blu-ray/DVD release also showcases a few bonus features that explore how Shyamalan, Will Smith, and Jaden Smith made the film. Unsurprisingly, there is no commentary track available for After Earth. It would’ve been interesting to hear what Shyamalan and/or Smith had to say about the film, but no such luck. Check out the bonus features below:
After Earth DVD Extras:
- “A Father’s Legacy” featurette – Will and Jaden Smith on and off screen
- “1,000 Years in 300 Seconds” featurette – On Location with the Cast
- “The Nature of the Future” featurette – A look at the landscapes and creatures
- XPRIZE After Earth Robotics Challenge winning video
After Earth Blu-ray Extras:
- All of the DVD extras
- A Never-Before-Seen Version of the Film’s Opening Sequence
- “Building a World” featurette – A glimpse into the creation of the After Earth universe
- “Pre-Visualizing the Future” featurette
- “The Animatics of After Earth” featurette – Never-before-seen storyboards
For the most part, M. Night Shyamalan is a competent director. He’s really good at creating tension and atmosphere in almost all of his movies. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs are genuinely good movies, so it’s clear that he knows how to make an effective film. Shyamalan just needs to find better scripts, or team up with better producers. With the box office disappointment of After Earth, you have to wonder if Shyamalan’s career will ever bounce back to its previous heights.
In After Earth, a cataclysmic event has forced all of humanity to leave Earth behind and migrate to another planet called Nova Prime. More than a thousand years later, a military recruit named Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his father, army General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), crash land on Earth after a terrible collision with an asteroid. Abandoned and isolated with no hope of rescue, Kitai and Cypher must work together to survive the uncharted terrain, which is now inhabited by dangerous plant and animal life that has evolved to kill.
Will Smith and his wife and producing partner Jada Pinkett Smith served as After Earth‘s producers, while Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) co-wrote the screenplay with Shyamalan.
After Earth will be available for purchase on Blu-ray/DVD and as a digital download on October 8.