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20th Century Fox presents
Here on Earth (2000)

"I love this spot. It's like Heaven—right here on Earth. Maybe that's what Heaven is. Maybe we go through life collecting people and places we love. And they become our Heaven."
- Samantha (Leelee Sobieski)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: September 03, 2000

Stars: Chris Klein, Leelee Sobieski
Other Stars: Josh Hartnett, Annette O'Toole, Michael Rooker
Director: Mark Piznarski

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sensuality and thematic elements
Run Time: 01h:36m:48s
Release Date: August 08, 2000
UPC: 024543006220
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C DA-A D+

DVD Review



Recipe for Here on Earth:

Mix two young, talented actors into generic romantic tearjerker base. Add liberal amounts of corn and sugar. Dress and moisten actors for eye appeal. Bring contents to a simmer, do not boil. Sprinkle with vinegar, saline solution and pop music. Cook until half-baked. Serves no useful purpose.

Okay, I'm being cynical. But how else to explain this mess of a movie, which throws the talented Chris Klein and Leelee Sobieski onscreen and leaves them with nothing to do but look earnest, attractive and confused? How is it that Klein's turn in 1999's raunchy teen comedy American Pie (as a jock who discovers his sensitive side) seems far more credible than his dramatic role here? And why is Leelee Sobieski, just as she's outgrowing her Helen Hunt-lookalike phase, thrown into this extended After School Special?

The plot is basically this—spoiled rich kid Kelley (Chris Klein) plays chicken with local boy Jasper (Josh Hartnett) and ends up destroying a gas station and diner. Sentenced to help rebuild the enterprise, he meets and falls in love with Jasper's erstwhile girlfriend Samantha (Leelee Sobieski). Their budding relationship is obstructed by Kelley's father's concerns about social standing and Samantha's encroaching osteosarcoma.

Presumably, this movie was intended as a Love Story or Ice Castles for Generation Y, and I'm sure high school dramatics teachers are being "treated" to renditions of the movie's many overwrought monologues as we speak. But its machinery is so carelessly exposed that it's hard to take it seriously as a film; Michael Seitzman's script feels completely contrived, to the point that nothing at all happens that might be inconvenient to the plot. Kelley switches from complete jerk to loving boyfriend and back again without rhyme or reason, Samantha dreads and protests her medical visits but accepts her situation with luminous grace when the bad news arrives, and the other characters seem to be window dressing rather than human beings. None of the events play naturally—when Kelley's head is thrust through a drum set during a fight at a local dance, the drummer says and does absolutely nothing, proceeding to dismantle his equipment in silence so as not to interrupt the emotional monologue that follows. When Jasper's car crashes through a gas station's pumps, the building is engulfed in flames as Jasper clears the fireball and emerges unsinged. Samantha boards a bus at the last minute without apparent benefit of a ticket, and a romantic interlude which maps United States geography onto the human body features some of the corniest dialogue ever seen in a major motion picture—nobody talks like this with a straight face.

The film's formulaic nature makes it utterly predictable as well—clumsy foreshadowing reveals "secrets" just in time to make use of them, and a suspicious transition to slow motion motivated my wife Karen to predict the exact moment when Samantha's knee would give out ("1 - 2 - 3, and she's down!") Andrea Morricone's treacly score is in tune with the picture but breathes no life into it, and director Mark Piznarksi seems as lost as the actors while his film lurches awkwardly from one setup to another. Campy and completely unconvincing, the film drags its audience's expectations down with each fadeout. I sincerely hope Mr. Klein and Ms. Sobieski will move forward to other, more worthwhile projects, having escaped the cinematic hell-on-earth of Here on Earth.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Here on Earth is presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio with a fine anamorphic transfer from an excellent source print. The "look" of the film is on the soft side, but colors and shadow detail are rich and solid. One complex scene exhibits moire patterns, but the dual-layered digital transfer is generally free of distracting compression artifacts and this disc is certainly up to "new release" standards.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Fox graces Here on Earth with three soundtracks—English Dolby Digital 5.1, English 2.0 Surround, and French 2.0 Surround. As expected, the 5.1 track is the crispest and clearest, with great music presence and some nice split surround usage. The 2.0 track is surprisingly flat by comparison, with most sound effects moved up front and music echoing faintly in the mono surround channel. The French 2.0 mix is balanced slightly differently, with more of an emphasis on the dialogue. All three soundtracks are solid and clear, as should be expected for a contemporary, digitally mixed film.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring Anna and the King, Anywhere But Here, The Beach, Drive Me Crazy, Ever After, Romeo and Juliet, Simply Irresistible
5 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:05m:39s

Extra Extras:
  1. Where You Are Music Video—Jessica Simpson
Extras Review: Fox supports Here on Earth with an appropriate set of supplements, in that the quantity is impressive but the content almost nonexistent. There are 20 picture-menu chapter stops and a plethora of trailers, pretty standard stuff:

Trailers:

The film's theatrical trailer is presented in a 1.33:1 full-frame ratio, along with five TV spots. The TV spots are very similar to each other, though there's a rather entertaining "review" trailer, forced to rely on quotes from the esteemed cineastes at Teen Girl Power and Jump.

"Fox Flicks" Trailers:

A hefty set of trailers for 7 recent Fox DVD releases, all with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio and 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfers, except for a 1.33:1 full-frame trailer on Drive Me Crazy:

Anna and the King
Anywhere But Here
The Beach
Drive Me Crazy
Ever After
Romeo and Juliet
Simply Irresistible


Music Video—Jessica Simpson: Where You Are:

Yet another example of the music video industry's continued lack of interest in story or style, layering the standard visuals over a typical "credits song," nicely produced but completely forgettable.

Soundtrack Promo Spot:

A TV commercial designed to sell the soundtrack; nothing less, nothing more.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Here on Earth is the kind of maudlin, unnecessary movie that makes one wonder exactly what's going on in Hollywood these days. Fox's DVD transfer is technically excellent, with plentiful but relatively valueless supplementary material. If you must see it, rent it—I can't recommend this one, folks.

 


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