Movie Title: After Earth
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Date Released: May 31st, 2013
Date Seen: June 1st, 2013
Seen with: Dad
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
After Earth – The story of a dumb boy who can’t find cell phone reception.
Essentially, the movie is predictable as shit (due to an exceedingly high number of foreshadowing moments), with not-so-great acting (Jaden Smith… just stop), but is pretty to look at. The trailer does have some of the prettiest moments, so you could probably just watch the trailer a couple of times and call it good. One good thing I can say about this movie is that things are looking up for M. Night Shyamalan! Although, if you think about his last few movies (Devil, Last Airbender, etc.) that’s not really hard to do. Signs, his last good movie, was over 10 years ago. So, props to you, Shyamalan, for not making a complete pile of shit. You just made a little baby terd this time.
The acting I found annoying, mostly from Jaden Smith. There’s a part at the beginning where he does a voice over, and it seriously sounded like an audition tape from some poor random kid off the street. His best moment is a scene towards the end of the movie where he’s getting thrown around by some CGI creature, and so in other words – he’s CGI for a good part of it. It just wasn’t working. Sometimes actual father-son things work out real well (for example, these same two actors in Pursuit of Happiness). This movie, they have VERY little actual on screen time together so it didn’t make a difference. They should have gotten someone else to play the son and it would have been better. Still not a great movie, but one less thing to complain about. The character was also poorly written because he makes the most idiotic decisions for someone who was supposedly top of his class. Yes, we know he cracks under pressure, but he’s still a little dumb shit at even the simplest of decisions. I’ve seen other reviews giving Will Smith crap for his stone-cold and seemingly boring job in this role. I think though, it worked, based on what we know about his character, and thus have no complaints. He’s supposed to be a tough as nails commander who is THE expert in ghosting (having no fear) so it seems obvious that he’d rarely show emotions.
The CGI was pretty good in this movie. Essentially everything on Earth is CGI, other than a couple of trees Jaden’s character, Kitai, touches. There was one view that was again, heavy CGI, but felt very Jurassic Park-esque, when Kitai gets to the top of a mountain and kind of looks out over everything he can see. Another time he is standing at the edge of a waterfall and the view is gorgeous. Those were some of my favorite parts of the movie, because beyond that it was just so predictable.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
If you’re wondering what I meant by “After Earth: Story of a boy searching for cell phone service” – it is because for about 20 minutes Kitai is holding up a cell phone like thing (that is a beacon that will go deep into space and save them) trying to find a place where there is service (aka no electrical interference). I also found the scene before this hard to believe. Kitai has lost contact with his dad, and thus manages to figure it out on his own that he needs to get to the top of the seemingly active volcano, which is higher ground, to shoot off this beacon. This is the same idiot who earlier managed to piss off a group of about 50 rabid apes by throwing a rock at one of them, unprovoked. So yeah, found it very hard to believe that same dipshit actually realized what he had to do.
The movie also failed at making you get nervous for the characters – because it was just so predictable. Oh, look, that bird following him. The bird will save him somehow… oh shocker… the bird did. There’s a loose fear-sensing alien on the planet? Kitai has never been able to successfully ghost (have no fear)? He will in the final battle. Oh, wow, Will Smith actually has feelings? Shocker. Ugh, it just was annoying. At least the movie is short, so you didn’t feel like it just dragged on and on. I did think the intro stuff was a little bit too long, with all of the stuff on their home planet. It gave way too much background that wasn’t really used. They could have done a better job spending more time on the Earth stuff, which was cooler.
Skip it, maybe watch it on Netflix if you really want to, but it’s just so predictable and not rewarding that who cares.