After Earth Review
Before we get into this review, I want to note a couple things. First of all, "After Earth" is no where near, shape, or form a summer blockbuster. There are no big action beats, no exciting montages, nothing very thrilling period. I know when people think of Will Smith and sci/fi in the same sentence, its going to blow our minds. I am unhappy to report that "After Earth" will most likely not blow your mind. Second, and this could be music to your ears, but if you go into "After Earth" thinking your seeing a typical "Will Smith movie" you'd be disappointed once again.
Okay, now its review time, and this will be pretty quick. Since "After Earth" is barely a movie at all. This is by far the most uninteresting and unexciting film to be released in a summer season. Filled with cliches, filled with predictability and lifeless performances. Worse yet, you will guess the ending less that twenty minutes in and then sit in theater bored the rest of the running time.
You'll notice quite quickly that "After Earth" is made up of the same parts of other, greater science fiction films. We learn at the beginning of the film that in the near future, the human race leaves Earth because of some apocalyptic event and they make a home in a different planet called Nova Prime. Nova Prime happens to be inhabited by bloodthirsty aliens, aliens who are blind but can somehow see us through our fear. Cypher (Will Smith) a member of the Ranger Corps. creates a technique called "ghosting" which he uses to suppress his fear, and they beat the aliens back. Cypher's son Kitai (Jaden Smith) who aspires to be a Ranger like his father, but is too much of wuss to pass the tests.
This makes Cypher upset, so the mother of the family suggests Cypher take Kitai on an expedition of some kind so that they can rekindle their relationship. The ship crashes on Earth, where all the species are now hostile. Kitai must be the one to go to a special station to contact Nova Prime.
Now, after you read those last two paragraphs, I will be sorely surprised if you can't guess how this film ends. Predictable like I stated. But even predictability has its charms with the right actors. One would think that the Smith boys would be those actors, but honestly this is some of the worst acting from both their careers, particularly from Big Willie. This is the least charismatic I have ever seen Will Smith become and it is actually quite shocking. Never has this self-entitled nut been so un-interesting.
While Jaden is on a now hostile Earth, one would think there would be excitement throughout, but this is a disappointingly tame film. No big strokes of action, suspense or tension. This is a very plane film which is very weird.
M. Night Shyamalan is a director whose career has been totally depleted of all merit. He is the butt-end of every joke in Hollywood, and he's a director who once had a promising career, but somehow he fumbled and he never recovered. You'd think with a Will Smith vehicle, he could earn some merit back, but he makes Smith so dull onscreen, its rather remarkable how Shyamalan was able to make the actor so boring. Its somewhat tragic to see M. Night Shyamalan fall from grace. This was a guy who used to discuss in interviews how he knew some secret to film-making that only he and Steven Spielberg shared. Funny, how he hasn't made a great movie, good movie or even a remotely mediocre movie in more than a decade. "After Earth" is just another waste of time brought to you by Shyamalan.
This is a premise which could have been bracing, but Smith, and Shyamalan somehow sucked all the fun out this idea and made a lifeless movie. I never would have thought Will Smith could make such a bland movie, but somehow he pulled it off. I can actually see why this film bombed last weekend, people must have been able to smell the boredom off the trailers. Maybe someday Shyamalan will recover from his stag-net career and be great again, but this is not a starting point.
FINAL GRADE: D