Review: After Earth
In the distant future, a famed general Cypher Raige and his 13-year-old son crash land on a hostile and uninhabitable Earth. As Cypher lies injured, Kitai sent out into the wilderness in search of a rescue beacon, fighting dynamic environments, ferocious animals, and a giant creature that feeds on fear. Really though, it’s about a father who works too much and treats his kid like an employee rather than a son. And they both grow. Seriously.
Who’s in It?
Will Smith and his son Jaden star as the father-son duo, and save for a couple scenes with the mother and sister, it’s all them, all the time.
This is a movie by Will Smith, of Will Smith, and for Will Smith. And his family. There is a lot of weird stuff going on here. If you’re seeking a strange twist to this so-called sci-fi thriller because it’s written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, you’re in luck. And you’re also out of luck. The man who has become known for his unexpected endings, both positive and negative, tells a rather straight story. The twist is that it’s a kid’s story, and barely Shyamalan’s at that. It’s Smith and Jaden’s story.
They might as well be playing themselves – they’re probably more true to life than the characters Seth Rogen, James Franco and company play in This Is The End – and they play themselves!
What often happens as famous actors become proud and loving parents is that they start to use their acquired fame to make films for their kids. The work isn’t necessarily for the audience that grew up with them, but instead geared towards a handful of children, and hopefully their generation (you often find this with comedians). This isn’t Fresh Prince Will Smith, or even Independence Day Will Smith; it’s papa Smith.
It goes further with Smith, as he isn’t making a story just for his kid – it’s for him too. Smith has had a rather interesting movie career as a husband and father. Hancock wasn’t about a homeless superhero looking for a comeback and clashing with another superhero; it’s about Smith’s relationship with his wife, and how only someone as equally as powerful as Smith could understand him. Seven Pounds meanwhile, is about the guilt that comes with success, as in, being a movie star.
Neither film did especially well, though Hancock certainly more so. This movie shouldn’t and likely won’t do well either – it’s feeble and formulaic, mindless, boring and underwhelming. Smith, though, is credited with creating the story, and his wife had input as well, and that should help explain things. It’s really just a movie for them, and maybe kids who are young Jaden’s age too.
The only way in which it’s a Shyamalan movie is that it’s really bad. Odd moments of lightness enter in, as do random scares and shocks in the form of monsters and blood, but on whole it’s utterly unimpressive. Still, it is Smith’s story, and seems not only a piece of filmmaking he would want to watch with his family, but one he really wanted to make with them. And it doesn’t matter if I or anyone else likes it in the least.
Should I See It?
No, you shouldn’t, it’s really bad. Unless you are a father who works too much and is too hard on his son.
“He doesn’t need a commander,” says Cypher’s wife, adding (you know what’s coming) ‘he needs a father.”