Lionsgate // 2013 // 288 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // June 22nd, 2013
Get ready for the end.
Doomsday. The apocalypse. Revelation. End of days.
No matter what you call it, the final chapter of human existence has always fascinated mankind. Throughout the ages we've mulled over our eventual demise in all forms; through movies, in books, and ancient tales around the campfire. No one knows exactly when or how the human race will finally bite the big one, but you can rest assured that whenever it does, director Roland Emmerich will be there to make a movie out of it. History Channel has spent what some would consider an inordinate amount of time on what will happen to us (and our world) after everything falls apart. This new collection, After People, offers up four difference scenarios focusing on the final fate of our world once life as we know it comes to an abrupt and (sometimes) brutal end.
Disc One: In Life After People we witness what will happen to the earth after humans have gone the way of the Dodo. This is probably the most fascinating portion of this set because it focuses not on how mankind will expire, but what happens to the world we leave behind. Included are interviews with various scholars and experts who offer up their thoughts on what might happen to our bridges, towering cities, impressive monuments, and even everyday pets after we have gone. The scope of the documentary is impressive: it starts only a few hours after man has lost dominion over the earth and goes to 10,000 years after we've been gone. I found Life After People to be intriguing because we get to see how bad things get when no one is around to take care of them. Between flooding New York subways and corrosion eating away at the Eiffel Tower, it's interesting to see the world as it is torn apart my nature, which eventually levels the playing field and brings everything back to square one (with only Hoover Dam outlasting everything else). The main point of Life After People is this: when it's all said and done, it's not the meek that shall inherit the earth, but the termites and vegetation that will eventually reign supreme.
Disc Two: Although it certainly sounds like it, After Armageddon is not a sequel to the Bruce Willis action movie. Viewers follow a suburban family of survivors after a virus completely decimates the world's population. Much like Life After People, a group of filmed experts give their opinion as to what will happen if our planet plunges into what is basically Stephen King's novel "The Stand." Small communities will pop up with their own local brands of justice (i.e., you steal from us, we blow your head off), and the things worth their weight in gold will not be paper money but items like food, water, and fuel. Without the abilities to keep society going the way it once was, people will have to learn to till the ground and grow their own food (grow your own food = really, really hard), as well as face a mortality rate that will be much higher without modern medicine to help keep us healthy (i.e., you get a cut on your finger, start writing your personal obituary). Essentially, After Armageddon's lesson is this: if you are one of the lucky few left after the world gets wiped out, plan on living in what is essentially the year 1825, only using old DVD players as doorstops.
Disc Three: Both Mega Freeze and Mega Drought offer up exactly what they sound like: a look at what happens when global warming decides to use us as its personal play toy. In Mega Freeze we see horrible winter storms that take their toll on both the land and its people; once those freezing temperatures hit and stick around, there won't be much escape from what will eventually be a terribly icy demise. In Mega Drought, the world has suddenly become a dry wasteland where water is scarce which, as you might expect, makes for one really bad day. For those who think summer in Arizona is hot and dry, you're not going to be happy when global warming decides to rear its ugly head. Both of these episodes show us how bad things can get if the temperature aground the globe drops by only a few scant degrees. If nothing else, Mega Freeze and Mega Drought prove once and for all that when it comes to mankind, the world will shake us off like we were nothing more than water rolling off a dog's back.
Each episode is presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. Overall the transfers for these four episodes are very good, if not great; for standard DVD, the image could be slightly better. Overall the source material is clean and sports solid colors and deep black levels. The audio is presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo in English. There are some okay sound effects on each of these episodes -- crumbling towers, windblown terrain, etc. -- but overall they are fairly front heavy without any major imperfections.
This three disc DVD set does not include any extra features.
Overall, After People makes for a fun, apocalyptical Saturday night feature that will make you want to stock your storm cellar with canned goods and bottled water. The effects work on each episode ranges from good to mediocre, and while the programs sometime run a tad long, most viewers will be interested in learning how to survive once the earth goes to hell in a handbasket.
After People can also be seen as a "how to" guide for surviving the
end of the world.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 288 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated