Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 13% (Critics) / 82% (Audience)
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Written By: M. Night Shyamalan, Gary Witta and Will Smith
Starring: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okonedo and Zoë Kravitz
Studio: Sony Pictures
Synopsis: A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help. (Source)
The world that Smith, Witta and Shyamalan have built is a pretty interesting one especially in the barely touched upon backstory that would have probably made a much better movie. And the future landscape, cities and technology effects were impressive looking.
The performances in this movie were just as lifeless as the creatures. I get that Will Smith was playing a guy who kept his emotions in check as part of his job but even in scenes where we were supposed to see the emotionless wall drop, Smith still was just a bit too stonefaced. And Jaden Smith may be the least compelling young actor in Hollywood today with an acting range that would fit right in as a supporting character on a Nickelodeon comedy but should not be the lead of a major motion picture that requires him to be onscreen alone for about 80% of the film.
The non-sentient visual effects were great but the creature effects were so obviously digital when placed in scenes with actual human beings that they stood out like a sore thumb in every scene. And Shyamalan’s overly serious directing style did this movie no favors. If ever a science fiction movie needed a lighter touch it was this one especially given the limitations of its lead actor.
What the hell was up with those bizarre Southern accents? Was the new planet after Earth became uninhabitable colonized by a Northeastern community theater cast of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof? And I think the military on the new planet was started by a high school football coach considering the fact that “taking a knee” seemed to be the catch all remedy for any high stress situation.
Final Verdict: A movie that had a much more interesting back story than anything that was presented onscreen and that never really sparked any type of emotional connection with the characters or garnered anything more than mild interest regardless of what action set pieces were going on. AFTER EARTH isn’t a really bad film and it definitely isn’t a good one…it’s just about 90 minutes of nothing special that is quickly forgotten about the second the end credits start rolling.