Last night, we were invited to an advanced screening of M Night Shyamalan's After Earth, starring Will Smith and his sprog. As the first movie to be shot in native 4K on Sony's F65 digital motion picture cameras, After Earth is easily one of most visually sumptuous flicks we've seen. On the downside, it's also a bit of a bore. So can the sheer spectacle of 4K resolution outweigh its story shortcomings? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Kind of.
Photo: Sony Pictures
After Earth is set in a Dystopian future where the fauna and flora of Earth has evolved to kill humans -- along with audience patience levels.
While the film isn't terrible, per se, it never really grabs you in the way a sci-fi blockbuster should. The acting is wooden, the peril feels artificial and the climactic pay-off lacks the emotional resonance that the filmmakers were clearly aiming for.
There are also some pretty huge plot holes and the overall story is slighter than Jaden Smith's acting range. (You can read a more thorough tear-down over at Gizmodo. Their verdict: it's the best-looking bad movie you'll see.)
All up, I probably wouldn't give the movie more than a 6/10 and strongly recommend you wait for Blu-ray... that is, if it wasn't for that glorious 4K resolution.
Despite its shortcomings, this movie really does deserve to be seen on the big screen, if only for the roller coaster-like novelty of how it looks. This is eye-candy on a whole new level: it's like Kool-Aid for videophiles.
There are shots in this film -- particularly the panoramas -- that trounce anything I've seen in terms of picture fidelity. The crystal clear resolution even makes arbitrary stuff like the flakes of snow on Smith's face look spectacular. If you're a die-hard resolution junkie (or just like looking at pretty pictures), After Earth is definitely worth checking out at the cinema. Just be sure to leave your brain at the door.
After Earth hits cinemas nation-wide today. If you are planning to see it, make sure your local cinema is screening the movie in its intended resolution -- there are currently around 200 cinemas in Australia that are 4K-capable.