Monday, November 4, 2013

After Earth - A quick review

I finally watched "After Earth" - which I found, against all trends and reviews on the net, to actually be pretty good. Sure, it missed some opportunities and perhaps the subtext wasn't obvious enough, but bear with me... It's not as bad as you may think....

So here's the premise. A gradual process of poisoning our environment (probably through everyone having to have the best and latest portable device even if there's nothing wrong with the older one) leads to the people of earth having to leave earth. The humans are then attacked by an alien force, once they find a planet to colonize, which, seemingly from the movie, only really have one weapon in their arsenal. A creature that can smell fear (and seemingly has no other sense except perhaps touch). The humans are completely outmatched until one man manages to suppress his fear to the point that to these creatures he's invisible. They refer to this as ghosting.

This is where the movie perhaps lacks a little explanation. If you think of the psychology of this, fear is part of the id. It's almost the very definition of the id. Which means, the suppression of it is part of the super ego. If you remove fear entirely, what is the sacrifice?

So imagine it can be done. Except... you no longer connect with the people around you. To them, you have no real personality... They respect you, because you can do things that need to be done. They fear you because you're no longer of the same species as them. They need others to be able to do it. Those who strive to do it are willingly sacrificing something of themselves. In fact, it's quite a sacrifice... there's no guarantee that when you chose to make the sacrifice that you even can BUT the effect it has on your personality may be permanent.

So now that we've thought about it for a second - watch the rest of the movie. The acting is lacking - not because of bad acting - but rather, they're playing the roles of characters who have sacrificed major parts of themselves. How Will Smith's character ever finds himself married (and has children) alludes me. The last line about wanting to work with mom does rather than being a soldier indicates that they've recognised the sacrifice they've strived (and are respected) for.

I kind of find it a pity that in a lot of films we soon lose the world and reality that they've been set in. For example, there could be loads of movies based upon this same reality - where aliens are taking on humans. Sure, this one used Ursa's - the conveniently blind monsters - but this could expand to other tactics... Where was Cypher before visiting his family? This is something I really love about things like Animatrix and Batman Gotham Knight. Of course, if this movie had been a success, it would have been killed in a great big "let's do sequels!" love-fest.

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