Critics Consensus: After Earth is Lost in Space

Plus, Now You See Me is slick but short on tension.

This week at the movies, we've got a father and son on an interplanetary mission (After Earth, starring Will and Jaden Smith) and a group of bank-robbing magicians (Now You See Me, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo). What do the critics have to say?

After Earth

11%

It's been more than a decade since Signs, the last M. Night Shyamalan-directed film to receive positive notices from critics. One would hope that his collaboration with Will Smith would stem the tide of negative reviews. No such luck; critics say After Earth is largely a morose, disjointed, numbingly-paced sci-fi trip that fails to make the most of its real-life father-son leads. Legendary space ranger Cypher (Will) and his son Kitai (Jaden) are on a mission when their ship crash lands on an abandoned Earth; together, they must navigate a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to signal for help. The pundits say that the elder Smith is compelling as always, but he's largely wasted on a story that's mostly dull and predictable. (Check out our interview with the Smiths, as well as this week's 24 Frames for a gallery of Certified Fresh father-son movies.)

Now You See Me

50%

Now You See Me seems like a can't-miss proposition. It's a heist thriller with a terrific cast (including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine) and an intriguing twist (the thieves are illusionists!). Unfortunately, critics say that while Now You See Me is slick and frequently amusing, it's also mostly superficial and tension-free. The plot: the FBI is on the trail of a crack team of bank robbers, who perform magic shows as a diversion to raid the coffers of corrupt businessmen. The pundits say Now You See Me is never less than watchable thanks to its fine ensemble players, but it's also light as a feather and occasionally preposterous. (Check out this week's Total Recall for a countdown of co-star Morgan Freeman's best-reviewed movies, as well as our interviews with the stars.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Hannah Arendt, a biopic of the legendary philosopher and her coverage of Eichmann trial, is at 100 percent.
  • The History Of Future Folk, a comedy about the intergalactic adventures of a bluegrass band, is at 90 percent.
  • Shadow Dancer, starring Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough in a thriller about a woman forced to spy on her IRA-affiliated family members, is at Certified Fresh at 86 percent.
  • The Kings of Summer, a comedy about a group of teenagers who decide to spend their summer living in isolation in the woods, is at 79 percent (check out co-stars Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman's Five Favorite Films).
  • The East, starring Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård in a thriller about a private security spy who infiltrates an anarchist collective, is at 79 percent.
  • The Wall, a psychological sci-fi film about a woman who becomes trapped by a force field while visiting a remote valley, is at 63 percent.
  • American Mary, a horror film about a disenchanted medical student who performs black-market surgeries, is at 62 percent.
  • Student, a drama about a Kazak student whose rudderless existence leads him to a life of crime, is at 57 percent.

Comments

Liiam Cruz

Liiam Cruz

I figured Now You See Me couldn't miss, and was gonna make up for the bad rap magician's got from the hopeless Burt Wonderstone....

May 30 - 04:45 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

Christopher Nolan made a magician flick back in '06 with "The Prestige". That film obliterates both of them in every category!

May 31 - 07:59 AM

Dwayne Fortier

Dwayne Fortier

The Prestige wasn't a comedy....

May 31 - 08:05 AM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

That's the only difference I forgot to point out.

May 31 - 08:09 AM

Margene  L.

Margene Lewis

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Jun 5 - 05:49 PM

Sebastian O.

Sebastian Ochoa

What does that have to do with the movies? Weirdo...

Jun 6 - 02:07 AM

Sebastian O.

Sebastian Ochoa

What does that have to do with the movies? Weirdo...

Jun 6 - 02:08 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

I don't know why every charismatic actor suddenly comes down with wooden actor syndrome when cast in an M Night Shaymalan movie. Let your actors help you M Night. There's no reason to have Will Smith, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, etc in your movies if you're just going to demand they read their lines like Eeyor on valium.

May 30 - 05:15 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

M. Night Shyamalan is a fucking joke! I mean, he tries to add unnecessary twists into his flat, unconvincing screenplays but the twists backfire and further confuse the audience. It doesn't help when the characters are cookie-cutter and miscast. The production values in his films are obvious, and so is his tastelessness. And I thought Uwe Boll and Paul W.S. Anderson were bad enough!

May 30 - 07:05 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

At least those guys turn a profit, who in their right mind gives M Night a budget like this at this point?

May 30 - 09:33 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Actually, box office wise Shaymalan has a better track record than both those guys. He's only had one flop and that was Lady in the Water. His recent films have all opened big enough that even after the crash and burn they still wind up with a profit.

I think that really says something about the goodwill he amassed from his early films that audiences were willing to give him chance after chance in the hopes of him making a comeback. After Last Airbender though I think he's pretty much used up every last ounce of goodwill left from his earlier films. After Earth will probably be a success (though one with really short legs thereby killing any chance of a sequel) but it'll be because of Will Smith's draw powwer. It'll be hard for M. Night to find another directing gig for a big budget movie. I mean After Earth looks to become one of Smith's lowest grossing sci-fi flicks. So if you can barely make a succesful film starring the biggest draw on the planet what are you chances with other big budget fare?

May 30 - 11:48 PM

King  S.

King Simba

In an interview recently, he said when casting superstars he likes to take away the thing that made them superstars, namely their charisma. Apparantly that allows them to become better actors.

Honestly that interview made me pretty much give up any hope of M. Night making a comeback. He came off as delusional. When asked about the critical scorn of Happening and Last Airbender, he pretty much dismissed it, saying that his films will be more appreciated when people just watch them and expecatations are removed. He also said he has no hard feelings over those who hated the film. Yeah, because that's what we were worried about after Last Airbender - how much the critical scorn hurt M. Night's feelings, not all that hard earned money people spent hoping to see a worthy adaptation of the series.

All this displays M. Night's biggest problem - he doesn't listen to critiscm. He just assumes it's all a matter of his style not appealing to some, not the major problems his recent films have had. I mean George Lucas and Michael Bay may be arrogant and have a knack for pissing off fans, but at least they seem self aware of their problems (George Lucas admitted that he can't work with actors and that he sucks at romantic dialogue, while Michael Bay at least had the decency to apologize for Revenge of the Fallen) while you sense that at times they are TRYING to improve (Revenge of the Sith and Dark of the Moon both felt like attempts to make up to fans for the dissapointment of the previous film in each respective franchise, despite those films being massive successes and not reaching nearly the level of critical scorn that Last Airbender achieved). I highly doubt that had Last Airbender 2 been made Shaymalan would have tried to change a thing about the first movie.

May 30 - 11:39 PM

Joshua Henderson

Joshua Henderson

Why would George Lucas apologize for Revenge of the Sith. It is at least the best of the prequels. What about the rest of the prequels then?

May 31 - 10:58 AM

Bethany Still

Bethany Still

He didn't apologize for Revenge of the Sith. He MADE Revenge of the Sith to make up for the previous bomb.

May 31 - 04:24 PM

Joshua Henderson

Joshua Henderson

oh ok. Thanks.

Jun 2 - 05:48 AM

JohnMcClanesDirtyVest

Paul Boland

Just because Revenge of the Sith is the best of the Prequels doesn't detract from the fact that ALL the prequels were rubbish. Saying that Revenge of the Sith was the best of the prequels is like saying that Heinrich Himmler was the least evil of the Nazis

Jun 4 - 10:26 AM

Joshua Henderson

Joshua Henderson

Speak for yourselves. They are not as good compared to the original trilogy but that doesn't make the series bad to everyone.

Sep 9 - 11:34 AM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

After Earth should be a rental for me because it's a disappointment for both Will and Jaden.

May 30 - 05:18 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Ill still catch the double feature of After Earth and Now You See Me at the drive in Friday, I feel both will probably be watchable as long as you're not going to demand much from them.

One issue I have though, how the hell did After Earth get a 200 million budget!

May 30 - 05:21 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

My mistake. Looks like the budget was actually 130 million. Still seems too massive though.

May 30 - 05:23 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Will Smith and Jaden Smith are supposedly Sure Things at the Box office...and the 30 million opening night for After Earth is kinda proving this Theory.

May 30 - 08:31 PM

Eric Crampton

Eric Crampton

$30 million isn't bad if it's sustained, but usually movies hovering around 10% drop like a stone the second weekend, then disappear for good. With June comes big releases, and these will shrink After Earth to one screen per theater in short order.

May 30 - 08:58 PM

Mitchell Nash

Mitchell Nash

"...30 million opening night..."

It won't make that might on opening night. Perhaps slightly more than this over the whole weekend, but not opening night.

May 30 - 10:08 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Yeah I think that because I'm such of Fan of Will Smith my mind said weekend but my hands typed Night... Come on Smith's get that 30 Million Opening weekend!!

May 31 - 07:41 AM

Jack Ninivaggi

Jack Ninivaggi

130 million is actually really low in today's marketplace. That's the secret to M Night's success. He makes lower budget films that always make money. Also, I liked After Earth.

Jun 1 - 02:11 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Honest question, why go pay movie prices for a movie that's at best "watchable"? Why not go see something that could be good or great?

May 30 - 05:37 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Entertainment is entertainment.

May 30 - 07:05 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

I suppose, personally if t'were me I'd just stay home and watch TV, read a book or watch an old classic. Reason being I think if we keep paying for whatever mediocre stuff Hollywood churns out they'll continue to churn out mediocre stuff. Plus movie's have gotten so expensive I can't justify to myself dropping cash on something that I don't think has the potential to be great or at least very good. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed movies that have gotten less than stellar ratings on RT, so maybe your preferences in films differ from mine...I have a not so secret grudge against M Night and his spirally film quality trajectory. I actually thought Now You See Me would be better reviewed. They did a good job Zac Snydering the trailer (Making a trailer that's apparently better than the actual movie it's drawn from).

May 30 - 07:36 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Plus you never know if the critics might not be right, I mean I love Night at the Roxbury and the critics hated that.

May 30 - 07:50 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Uh....

May 31 - 07:29 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

wasted money is wasted money

May 31 - 07:30 AM

Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson

That's what books are for. You are not required to see crappy movies for entertainment.

Jun 1 - 11:23 AM

Darren Anderson

Darren Anderson

Go see Star Trek again, at least you know your getting entertainment for your bucks. Bring on Man of Steel.

May 31 - 07:17 PM

Jason B.

Jason Black

Now You See Me was a great, fun film. WAY better than After Earth.

Jun 1 - 03:29 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

My mistake. Looks like the budget was actually 130 million. Still seems too massive though.

May 30 - 05:23 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Will Smith and Jaden Smith are supposedly Sure Things at the Box office...and the 30 million opening night for After Earth is kinda proving this Theory.

May 30 - 08:31 PM

Eric Crampton

Eric Crampton

$30 million isn't bad if it's sustained, but usually movies hovering around 10% drop like a stone the second weekend, then disappear for good. With June comes big releases, and these will shrink After Earth to one screen per theater in short order.

May 30 - 08:58 PM

Mitchell Nash

Mitchell Nash

"...30 million opening night..."

It won't make that might on opening night. Perhaps slightly more than this over the whole weekend, but not opening night.

May 30 - 10:08 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Yeah I think that because I'm such of Fan of Will Smith my mind said weekend but my hands typed Night... Come on Smith's get that 30 Million Opening weekend!!

May 31 - 07:41 AM

Jack Ninivaggi

Jack Ninivaggi

130 million is actually really low in today's marketplace. That's the secret to M Night's success. He makes lower budget films that always make money. Also, I liked After Earth.

Jun 1 - 02:11 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Honest question, why go pay movie prices for a movie that's at best "watchable"? Why not go see something that could be good or great?

May 30 - 05:37 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Entertainment is entertainment.

May 30 - 07:05 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

I suppose, personally if t'were me I'd just stay home and watch TV, read a book or watch an old classic. Reason being I think if we keep paying for whatever mediocre stuff Hollywood churns out they'll continue to churn out mediocre stuff. Plus movie's have gotten so expensive I can't justify to myself dropping cash on something that I don't think has the potential to be great or at least very good. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed movies that have gotten less than stellar ratings on RT, so maybe your preferences in films differ from mine...I have a not so secret grudge against M Night and his spirally film quality trajectory. I actually thought Now You See Me would be better reviewed. They did a good job Zac Snydering the trailer (Making a trailer that's apparently better than the actual movie it's drawn from).

May 30 - 07:36 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Plus you never know if the critics might not be right, I mean I love Night at the Roxbury and the critics hated that.

May 30 - 07:50 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Uh....

May 31 - 07:29 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

wasted money is wasted money

May 31 - 07:30 AM

Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson

That's what books are for. You are not required to see crappy movies for entertainment.

Jun 1 - 11:23 AM

Darren Anderson

Darren Anderson

Go see Star Trek again, at least you know your getting entertainment for your bucks. Bring on Man of Steel.

May 31 - 07:17 PM

Jason B.

Jason Black

Now You See Me was a great, fun film. WAY better than After Earth.

Jun 1 - 03:29 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

To tell the truth, these next two weeks are just gonna be a deadland because everyone's waiting for Man of Steel.

May 30 - 05:45 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I agree with you. Man of Steel is the next big movie of the summer season (and the one I'm looking forward to the most this year). I still expect After Earth to do well at the box office this weekend because it's Will Smith!

May 30 - 06:33 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

I wanna see "Man of Steel" as much as the next person, but I just hope we come out of the film satisfied, and in one piece. Too bad I wasn't satisfied with the last Batman movie.

May 30 - 07:01 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Really? What didn't you like about it?

May 30 - 07:25 PM

Darren Anderson

Darren Anderson

The bad editing and rushed third act of the movie. TDKR just seemed rushed overall but have big hopes for Man of Steel. Still enjoyed TDKR thou.

May 31 - 07:21 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Got a ticket to an advanced screening for Man of Steel on June 8th, I will let you guys know if Snyder has redeemed himself after Sucker Punch or is pulling a Shyamalan and just falling further and further from grace.

May 30 - 09:01 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Pretty sure this is Snyder's last chance, if this bombs I can't see anyone trusting him with a big project ever again.

May 31 - 07:30 AM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

But with Christopher Nolan involved in the screenplay and production, it may be miles ahead of Snyder's older films.

May 31 - 07:56 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

When was Snyder graceful?

Jun 2 - 08:26 PM

Jason H.

Jason Huang

yes. man of steel. chris nolan is the man.

May 30 - 10:45 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

Zach Snyder?

May 31 - 12:12 AM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

Yes, the Zack Snyder. Hand-picked by Nolan to direct the film. Nolan wrote the story with his "Dark Knight" collaborator David S. Goyer, and produced the damn thing as well. This could go in any direction, although I'm still going to see it.

May 31 - 07:34 AM

Mlaner Vladik

Mlaner Vladik

M Knight was just a one-trick pony, wasn't he.

I'd like to see "The East," but will have to wait a while living in the Midworst.

May 30 - 06:13 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

I don't know about you, but I'm gonna wait for "Man of Steel", which is in two weeks. But considering my luck, I'll probably get shot in the theater (this year hasn't been good for movies)

May 30 - 06:56 PM

Mitchell Nash

Mitchell Nash

Will it be just you shot in the theatre or will other people be shot and massacred?

May 30 - 10:10 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

Probably both. And that's what I'm afraid of.

May 31 - 07:23 AM

Gage Kent

Gage Kent

Two movies we knew were going to be terrible ended up being terrible. Next.

May 30 - 06:25 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

More terrible movies including The Purge (no surprise since it's produced by Michael Bay) and The Internship (which looked bland from the get go).

May 30 - 06:58 PM

Gage Kent

Gage Kent

The Internship might have a couple laughs, but unfortunately you need more than a couple laughs to be a good comedy.

May 30 - 07:43 PM

Jason B.

Jason Black

Now You See Me was NOT terrible... After Earth though.. Yeah. :/

Jun 1 - 03:31 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I agree with you. Man of Steel is the next big movie of the summer season (and the one I'm looking forward to the most this year). I still expect After Earth to do well at the box office this weekend because it's Will Smith!

May 30 - 06:33 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

I wanna see "Man of Steel" as much as the next person, but I just hope we come out of the film satisfied, and in one piece. Too bad I wasn't satisfied with the last Batman movie.

May 30 - 07:01 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Really? What didn't you like about it?

May 30 - 07:25 PM

Darren Anderson

Darren Anderson

The bad editing and rushed third act of the movie. TDKR just seemed rushed overall but have big hopes for Man of Steel. Still enjoyed TDKR thou.

May 31 - 07:21 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

SURPRISE IT SUCKS... hopefully this will be the end of Will Smith but I doubt it.

May 30 - 06:43 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

One can only hope the "Annie" remake doesn't move forward.

May 30 - 07:02 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Oh that one is a stink bomb waiting to go off...

May 31 - 07:37 PM

Ken Wolfson

Ken Wolfson

What's sad is that with 12%, After Earth is an improvement over M Night. Whateverhisnameis' last movie.

May 30 - 06:48 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

I don't know about you, but I'm gonna wait for "Man of Steel", which is in two weeks. But considering my luck, I'll probably get shot in the theater (this year hasn't been good for movies)

May 30 - 06:56 PM

Mitchell Nash

Mitchell Nash

Will it be just you shot in the theatre or will other people be shot and massacred?

May 30 - 10:10 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

Probably both. And that's what I'm afraid of.

May 31 - 07:23 AM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

More terrible movies including The Purge (no surprise since it's produced by Michael Bay) and The Internship (which looked bland from the get go).

May 30 - 06:58 PM

Gage Kent

Gage Kent

The Internship might have a couple laughs, but unfortunately you need more than a couple laughs to be a good comedy.

May 30 - 07:43 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

I wanna see "Man of Steel" as much as the next person, but I just hope we come out of the film satisfied, and in one piece. Too bad I wasn't satisfied with the last Batman movie.

May 30 - 07:01 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Really? What didn't you like about it?

May 30 - 07:25 PM

Darren Anderson

Darren Anderson

The bad editing and rushed third act of the movie. TDKR just seemed rushed overall but have big hopes for Man of Steel. Still enjoyed TDKR thou.

May 31 - 07:21 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

One can only hope the "Annie" remake doesn't move forward.

May 30 - 07:02 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Oh that one is a stink bomb waiting to go off...

May 31 - 07:37 PM

Daniel Irwin

Daniel Irwin

M. Night Shyamalan is a fucking joke! I mean, he tries to add unnecessary twists into his flat, unconvincing screenplays but the twists backfire and further confuse the audience. It doesn't help when the characters are cookie-cutter and miscast. The production values in his films are obvious, and so is his tastelessness. And I thought Uwe Boll and Paul W.S. Anderson were bad enough!

May 30 - 07:05 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

At least those guys turn a profit, who in their right mind gives M Night a budget like this at this point?

May 30 - 09:33 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Actually, box office wise Shaymalan has a better track record than both those guys. He's only had one flop and that was Lady in the Water. His recent films have all opened big enough that even after the crash and burn they still wind up with a profit.

I think that really says something about the goodwill he amassed from his early films that audiences were willing to give him chance after chance in the hopes of him making a comeback. After Last Airbender though I think he's pretty much used up every last ounce of goodwill left from his earlier films. After Earth will probably be a success (though one with really short legs thereby killing any chance of a sequel) but it'll be because of Will Smith's draw powwer. It'll be hard for M. Night to find another directing gig for a big budget movie. I mean After Earth looks to become one of Smith's lowest grossing sci-fi flicks. So if you can barely make a succesful film starring the biggest draw on the planet what are you chances with other big budget fare?

May 30 - 11:48 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Entertainment is entertainment.

May 30 - 07:05 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

I suppose, personally if t'were me I'd just stay home and watch TV, read a book or watch an old classic. Reason being I think if we keep paying for whatever mediocre stuff Hollywood churns out they'll continue to churn out mediocre stuff. Plus movie's have gotten so expensive I can't justify to myself dropping cash on something that I don't think has the potential to be great or at least very good. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed movies that have gotten less than stellar ratings on RT, so maybe your preferences in films differ from mine...I have a not so secret grudge against M Night and his spirally film quality trajectory. I actually thought Now You See Me would be better reviewed. They did a good job Zac Snydering the trailer (Making a trailer that's apparently better than the actual movie it's drawn from).

May 30 - 07:36 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

Plus you never know if the critics might not be right, I mean I love Night at the Roxbury and the critics hated that.

May 30 - 07:50 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Uh....

May 31 - 07:29 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

wasted money is wasted money

May 31 - 07:30 AM

Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson

That's what books are for. You are not required to see crappy movies for entertainment.

Jun 1 - 11:23 AM

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman

Nothing for me this week. I knew After Earth would fail, but I was really hoping Now You See Me would be good. Too bad.

May 30 - 07:16 PM

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