After Earth

A lot of work went into the PR for After Earth. The first trailer was pretty epic on its own right, but quickly got old the third time seeing it in theaters. But one thing you will notice is that outside of the trailers, the director information has been kept a bit secret. M. Night Shyamalan, famous director that people love to hate, has his name in small font on the posters. It is like they don’t even trust the director.

I think the film might be enjoyable as long as the main star doesn’t die in the first 20 minutes leaving only his son to do all the heavy lifting.

I was going to make an inference from this picture, but mmm, volcano.
After Earth takes place in…the future! Surprising, I know. Mankind messed up Earth, forcing us to leave and Earth evolved without us. Unfortunately, the new place we moved to had deadly creatures as well. Creatures that were blind, but could smell fear and would go on a killing rampage against humans. Great new planet! Well, Cypher Raige (Will Smith) was the first soldier able to conquer his fear, making himself invisible to the creatures and helping us take back the planet!

Now he is a decorated soldier and lead commander of the armed forces. His son, Kitai (Jaden Smith), can’t even crack the ranger squad. In an attempt to bring them closer together, Cypher brings his son a simple transport mission which unfortunately runs into a freak teleporting asteroid storm, of some sort? The ship crashes down on a strange planet, killing everyone but our father son pair. Cypher has broken both of his legs, and the homing beacon is in the tail half of the plane, 100km across the planet.

Of course, it is Earth they have crash landed on. The wildlife there have evolved to take out human life! Even worse, the ship was transporting one of those blind “smell fear” creatures, who most certainly got loose on the planet and is looking for blood. Yay!

Oh hey, there he is, near the finale of the film. How convenient!
Well, the good news is that Will Smith survived the crash. The bad news is, he didn’t really do anything in the film! His character gets to be a stoic commander, devoid of all emotion, which means he doesn’t have to do much in the way of acting. Just a lot of grimaces, and slowly talking to his son over an intercom.

Yes, After Earth is basically Will Smith trying to turn his son Jaden Smith into an action star. Which is fine, but people don’t like being duped into expecting an action movie with Will Smith as an action hero, and instead getting an “action movie” with Will Smith on the side. Speaking of action, I would define this movie’s genre of “Sci-Fi Drama Adventure”, as there wasn’t really much action. A lot of running away from Jaden’s character. So yeah, in addition to the ruse, we have a bit of a boring movie.

This isn’t even taking into account the recent theories that this movie is also a vehicle for Scientology. But I won’t get into that. I don’t care if movies are secretly religious, in fact, I liked Battlefield Earth. I thought it was hilarious.

After Earth turns out to be very predictable, giving nothing new to the genre. For those worried about the director, he really isn’t the problem with this movie, and there are secret twists to worry about. The problem is just the entire concept.

1 out of 4.

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