After Earth: movie review

Sure. Giant birds of prey – not at all social creatures – will protect rather than eat a nice defenseless morsel. Riiiiight. You know, “raised by wolves” is a thing in mythology, and Tarzan was raised by apes, but nobody was ever raised by a Roc, that I know of. Also? You totally should have hitched a ride on your bird buddy, kid.

Low-oxygen atmosphere? With that enormous jungle and those enormous predators? We’ll just go with “the kid has fatal asthma and he got into Ranger school due to nepotism,” or “he’s deathly allergic to the Earth pollen” or something like that, it makes more sense.

Your emergency beacon, powerful enough to transmit through space, suffers from poor reception. Just like my cell phone. Right. Then, in order to find reception (“Can you hear my distress signal now??”) the kid climbs a volcano while it is actively erupting. I’m pretty sure, that just because that lava is black on top, does not mean that it wouldn’t still be hot enough to turn you into a human torch. Which that fancy space jumper wouldn’t protect you from, since it can’t handle the jungle(!) freezing hard every night. Just saying. At least the magic breathing juice would presumably protect one from all the poisonous volcanic gases.

I totally expected that river to have gigantic alligators or piranhas, or both, in it. At least more of those highly toxic leeches? I’m disappointed. I was promised a planet FULL of things that evolved specifically to kill humans (despite the fact that none actually, you know, live there) and as far as I can tell, not even one plant ever even took a shot at the kid. And then a giant raptor protected him. That definitely doesn’t count as an unusually hostile environment.

The flying snake cameo was cool, though. Sort of. It sounded poisonous, so despite my unnatural love of reptiles, that was kinda scary. (And yes, in Hollywood, snakes can sound poisonous. That’s totally a thing.)

As far as the human interaction – well, this was a very obvious coming-of-age story, and I think Kitai did act very much like a young man who’d had an absent father – anger issues, disobedience, etc. (I guess Space Rangers get less Skype time with their kids than modern military brats or something.)

The CGI was pretty. Didn’t regret watching it on blu-ray from Netflix. Not a great movie – but not bad, either, and it painted family and particularly the father in a positive light, as well as showing (at least some) negative consequences for teenage impulsiveness. I’ll give Dad a pass on not ordering the skydiving route on the grounds that he was drugged to the gills, badly injured, and not thinking straight, though it would have been a better movie if he had told Kitai that he had a chance if he used his suit to glide instead of hiking. (‘Course, then Roc woulda shown up and the whole thing woulda been busted anyway, but Dad didn’t know that at the time.) However, I think the coming-of-age movie storyline does require the brash young man to disobey the authority figure in order to save the day in Hollywood, so I’m not surprised they went that route.


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