Cast – Will Smith, Jaden Smith
Alluring element – Will Smith Check it out if you liked – The Hunger Games, any moderately sci-fi movie made.
Plot – 9 Acting – 9 Representation of Genre – 8 Cinematography – 8 Effects/Environment – 7 Captivity – 9 Logical consistency – 7 Originality/Creativity – 7 Soundtrack/Music – 7 Overall awesomeness – 8
I will start off by saying that I liked After Earth. It had everything that I like in my entertainment: science fiction, a little bit of fantasy, a survivalist plot, and an unlikely hero. I thought the acting was good. I thought the special effects were decent. I liked that even though it was an M. Night. Shyamalan film (SPOILER), there was no crazy twist. I was a little worried that there would be a twist and that it would be that it wasn’t Earth after all.
So why have other critics given it such bad reviews? I think because the film was marketed badly. The good part of the marketing was to not mention M. Night Shyamalan’s involvement. But it was made to look like a film starring Will Smith, which is really for adults. But he was a supporting actor to his young son Jaden. Jaden Smith was the star here, so it was misleading to make the star Will. It may have received better reception had the film been marketed as “young adult” a la The Hunger Games.
(Major Spoilers ahead. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know details) The background of After Earth is that an alien invasion is going to happen on the new civilization of Nova Prime. The Ursas are aliens who can smell human fear. They are ruthless. But Cypher Raige can kill them. He is able to by “ghosting”, or turning off his fear. He teaches this method and other military regimens to the people of Nova Prime. His son, Kitai is one of these people. Kitai is denied advancement to become a Ranger at the beginning of the film. Kitai’s mother convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his last mission. It goes wrong and they crash-land on to Earth, which humans have not inhabited in over 1,000 years. The beacon that could send an emergency signal to their people is on the tail of the ship, which landed about 60 miles from their location. In the crash, the whole crew except Cypher and Kitai die. Cypher breaks his leg badly and Kitai must brave the Earth to retrieve the beacon. All with the possibility that the Ursa they were smuggling on the ship may have survived the crash and is roaming around waiting to kill.
I thought the action was great. Because Jaden has already played the “Karate Kid”, it was easy for him to play this role well. Other critics didn’t care for the acting. Because Jaden is the main actor in the movie, I think it is a little unfair to give a 15 year old such a harsh reaction. He has grown up in Hollywood, but because he is the son of a superstar, and starring in roles right next to his father, it becomes very easy to see his setbacks as an actor. But his father has been perfecting his craft since he too was a teenager. Will Smith is now 44 years old. And as you may recall, Will Smith didn’t start out in major motion pictures playing action heroes, he started out on television playing, well, himself. So let’s give Jaden a break. He did a great job.
The story was good. There weren’t any major plot holes that I saw. Kitai was a normal teenager with a shaky past. He has some issues psychologically due to his father’s sterile treatment of him and his sister’s death, which he blames himself for. The intense scenes of Kitai vs. Nature kept me at the edge of my seat for the majority of the movie. I really enjoy survivalist movies. The new world was easy to imagine if it were to be abandoned. The beginning scenes of Nova Prime are breathtaking. The special effects of the sky were spectacular. Could After Earth have been better? Perhaps, but for a simple plot, I think it was tops. Lots of action, good acting, no sex and not too much gore. That’s a winner for me.
written by Adrian Puryear