It is one thousand years after Earth has
abandoned a toxic Earth to settle on the world of Nova Prime. The Rangers fight
the alien Ursa who can track people by their pheromones or specifically fear. The
great General Cypher Raige (Will Smith playing a character who has to have one of the worse movie names this year) can ghost
his feelings and kill the Ursa without being detected (which means he has no fear).
His son Kitai (Jaden Smith) excels in the classroom at training as a Ranger, but he totally chokes in the field that
they decide to hold him back. Feeling that the unmovable Cypher (who wants
to retire) and his son Kitai need bonding time, Cypher’s wife Faia suggests a father and son trip would do them good. However, the spaceflight results in disaster and leads the ship to jump to a
quarantined planet (Earth) and crash land. Cypher and Kitai manage to be
the only two survivors besides the captured Ursa that might have survived the crash.
Cypher is bleeding to death and he urges his son to make a journey across 100 km to get to the working distress beacon
so they can get rescued. Kitai begins a journey across a world that humanity
abandoned to save his dad.
AFTER EARTH is an average sci-fi movie
which does suffer from some clunky exposition at the beginning, some bad editing choices from director M. Night Shyamalan,
an uneven performance from Jaden Smith (probably a result from the script contributions from the director), and Will Smith
being immobile for most of the movie (even though he does quite good in the role). One
of the early scenes which suffer from bad editing choices (which suck the suspense out of the scene) is the crash sequence
(which plays better in the trailers for the film) and leaves me scratching my head on why the Rangers on board weren’t
ordered to strap in when crashing (even though Cypher ordered his son to do so moments earlier before all hell breaks loose. Then the production design for Nova Prime is bad (because I think any set design
for a sci-fi movie should be grounded in reality unless you’re going for camp), but the spaceship and costume design
is great. Most of the movie is well paced, but the film could have used a more
even performance from Jaden Smith (who was better in the KARATE KID remake). The
look of future Earth is great with some great cinematography to highlight the landscapes (while sometime I would have liked
to slap Kitai for his dumb decisions and you see why they held him back from being a Ranger unlike his Dad who seems to know
and sense all). I do like the part about fear is a choice and you should be grounded in the present even if the danger
AFTER EARTH isn’t the worst movie
from M Night and yet it isn’t a good movie like UNBREAKABLE. I just wonder
what AFTER EARTH would have been like if M Night didn’t contribute to the screenplay at all (because I believe he shouldn’t
write his movies at all even though the screenplay was written by someone else from a story idea by will Smith before M Night
got his hands to rewrite the script) and if the film was handled by a different and better director (since M Night hasn’t
made a great movie in a long time and he is an overrated director these days).
I hate to say it, but you might be better served renting it or skipping it.
This movie review is (c)6-1-2013
David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments