Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
When it comes to M. Night Shyamalan, I think we all have had our share of his twist-filled films. “After Earth” looks original and pretty interesting. It also starts Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith kicking alien ass. So I am curious to see it. When I saw that Insight Edition was releasing “United Ranger Corps Survival Manual” as the companion the film, I was very interested since they did a fantastic job with “The Dark Knight Manual” by Brandon T. Snider last year. This book tries to copy the success of that book but comes up a little short. Still though it is a great companion and definitely has peaked my interest more in seeing this film. I even have a feeling that after seeing this film, I am going to enjoy this film quite a bit more.
Official Premise: Go beyond After Earth with this unique, in-universe journey into the world of the United Ranger Corps. From the history of the Rangers, to humanity’s exodus from Earth, and the ongoing battle against the Skrel, a fearsome alien race, the United Ranger Corps Survival Manual immerses you in the After Earth universe. Study the secrets of ghosting—the art of singlehandedly slaying the vicious Ursa—and complete your mastery of the cutlass, a Ranger’s greatest weapon, as you discover what it takes to be one of Nova Prime’s elite. Filled with interactive elements, including a schematic of the Ranger base, a complete guide to the highly evolved animals of Earth, and even a handwritten journal entry from Cypher Raige, the United Ranger Corps Survival Manual is the essential companion to the After Earth film.
The manual covers doesn’t just cover the film, they cover the world surrounding the film. Some of the chapter topics range from “A History of Earth’s Last Days, “Ranger Cadet Training”, “Ranger Uniform and Equipment”, including “Mastering the Cutlass”. The color tone of the manual is a little drab yet the images are sharp and high quality. Like “The Dark Knight Manual”, this manual has a few pull out and neat little tricks taking this to a different level than most companion books. I feel that they should have consulted Brandon T. Snider for some tips on how to make it perfect like he did with “The Dark Knight” but it still works. The author of the book is Robert Greenberger, who has worked with DC Comics, Marvel, Starlog and knows his sci-fi, especially from his work with the “Star Trek” franchise. I look forward to further books from him and again another hit from Insight Editions.