After Earth - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

After Earth Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2013
Though far from the complete disaster that most critics claim it to be, this flawed star vehicle suffers from a terrible performance by Jaden Smith and a sloppy script plagued by badly conceived narrative elements in a very predictable, unsatisfying story.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2014
Boredom, as it relates to film, occurs when the audience is unable and unwilling to care about the story. After Earth is a prime example of a boring movie. Its premise is set up in broad strokes, never giving the audience time to believe in it. It's too violent for kids and too childish for the summer crowd. Lastly, the whole film feels tailor made to turn Jaden Smith into the next big star, and based on his performance here, that is an expectation he is unable to meet and does not deserve. Even if it isn't as bad as it's been made out to be, After Earth is still instantly forgettable.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2014
I didn't hate this. I guess that I heard so many terrible reviews, that I was expecting a real stinker. The only weakness in this film was the quality of the animals. With today's CGI abilities, the DIRECTOR could have done a lot better in this area, especially with the big budget this film boasted. Story line, and acting were up to par. M. Shyamalan needs to give up making movies...he is poison.
MANUGINO
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2013
Danger is real. Fear is a choice.

Not a bad movie! This was a great, entertaining, emotionally charged sci-fi flick and I enjoyed every minute of it. I admit I was caught into the M. Night hoopla and expected a twist ending but this one is just a straight forward mainstream adventure flick. One of the final scenes between father and son was near brilliant and almost brought tears to my eyes. The special effects were very well done and some of the monsters and beasts they created were epic in stature and should be looked at as being fun and well done. I guess I just don't understand the expectations people had from this. It seems that people have a real grudge against young entertainers like Jaden Smith but I am not one of them and I encourage you if you love sci-fi to watch this and simply enjoy it.

One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind's new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai's craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2013
After many tough gruelling auditions spanning many gruelling weeks, Jaden Smith was finally awarded the starring role in his fathers hopeful sci-fi epic...oh wait.

The plot is as old as the hills, ye olde coming of age drama between a father and his boy, this one happens to be set 1000 years in the future on a distant planet. Put simply Will Smith ('Cypher Raige'...really? is that space age name cool enough for you Mr Smith?) thinks his boy is a failure for not becoming a space ranger action figure type bloke, so there is much resentment between the two. On a final mission Smith Sr. brings Jr. along for the experience, but they hit a snag midflight with pesky asteroids and are forced to crash land on Earth. Now its up to Smith Jr. to save the day and gain his fathers respect by saving both their lives, can he manage it?! tune in next week folks, same channel, same tim...

Oh and there's that whole planet Earth being made uninhabitable from man made pollution issues and humans having to abandon it...part. Now Earth is some huge wild jungle free from mankind (not any trace at all? really? no ruins?) and has evolved into a ferocious predator filled world that time has forgotten. All that was missing was Doug McClure.

The main problem with this film which I think everyone has mentioned is the fact Jaden Smith is a seriously lacking actor, he clearly has no natural talent for it and comes across wooden, lifeless and amateurish...although he is still young for sure. Its quite clear Smith Sr. is creating a fast food/instant movie star situation with his boy by getting him in big movie roles and trying to force him to the top. Smith Sr. wants this to happen big time in my opinion, I'm sure Smith Jr. does too but I don't think he's actually got the flair or natural ability.

The other issue is Smith Sr. tries to act seriously here, or tries something, not sure what, but it doesn't work. His performance is terrible, verging on B-movie standards. He's suppose to be a by the books, hard lined, emotionless, fearless, stoic military leader who certainly doesn't mollycoddle his son in any way. This means Smith Sr. is basically an unlikable character, not good, but it also means that Smith Jr's goal is to be like his father, an emotionless robot with no soul. This pretty much means that both the lead characters are unlikable and emotion in the film is cold and forced, or so it feels.

At no point did I really care about either of the lead characters, even at the very end, I didn't give a hoot frankly. The human emotion was as plastic looking as the ships interior, and that's pretty darn plastic!. So Smith Sr. sits out all the action in this film and simply sits around looking stern, whilst Smith Jr. is our hero and has the same expression of a goldfish the entire time. Oh he also whines quite a bit too, he's actually a bit annoying.

Smith Sr. gives Jr. this all encompassing speech about what to do and what not to do before sending him on his way. Then literately within the first five minutes of setting off the kid ignores what his father says, gets himself chased by a posse of large killer baboons and finally stung by a poisonous leech, no wonder this kid failed his space cowboy test thing. Luckily they just happen to have the correct antidote for the leech bite so never mind. I did feel sorry for him towards the end though, he reaches the tail end of the ship and finds out he's now gotta climb a huge volcanic mountain on top of it because the flare/beacon thing has no signal! these space age service providers huh sheesh!.

The whole film looks good as do all films these days, the special effects are touch and go, CGI in abundance of course but not the best. The scenic views of Nova Prime are very nice at the start as are all the location shots throughout but props and sets are curiously average looking. As I already said the interior of the spaceship is very odd, its all beige and looks like its been made out of cardboard and plastic, visibly shakes too. What was that carwash brush section that Jaden walks through?? what the hell was that?!, plus all the equipment used and the 'Ursa' egg all looked very poor.

One thing that did spring to mind throughout, why doesn't anyone have any futuristic guns of some kind? surely these space ghosts would carry a gun for emergencies?. It just seems so forced that this accident happens and they are stranded on a prehistoric Earth with only a Predator spear to protect them, trying to make it a desperate primeval survival flick much??. Plus the suits both the Smith boys wear, they are futuristic gizmo's right, don't they at least have an internal temperature control? surely that is an obvious gadget to include when designing?. No oxygen supply, battery pack, extra weapons concealed anywhere etc...pretty useless suit really isn't it, all it did was change colour.

The overall message about us humans is pretty definitive if you ask me, we messed up our own planet to the point that we had to abandon it, we then find another planet and claim it as our own when it clearly belongs to another alien race (or is looked after by another alien race). All this says to me is the human race are in fact like a disease, we are infectious and bad for a planets ecosystem. In this film clearly we have upset another race by invading this planet, why don't we just find another planet?.

Its not all bad, I liked the mystery behind the alien race that unleashes the Ursa, nothing given away there which is fine, I quite liked the Ursa too. I think they captured a futuristic Earth without humans nicely...that's about it. Its a weak survival film really, you're never in any sort of fear about what's gonna happen, you know everyone will be OK, no suspense or real drama, its all very shallow and amazingly rudimentary.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2013
Rare is the movie that just seems to fail at every level of filmmaking, from writing to direction to pacing to casting to production design to logic to, well, you name it (perhaps the craft services were the exception to the rule). Director M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth is one of those exceptional, big-budget passion project failures that just mystify on every account, making you scratch your head and wonder who could possibly be passionate about something this utterly terrible? I'm reminded of John Travolta's 2000 sci-fi Scientology-ode, Battlefield Earth, for a comparison that comes close to approaching After Earth's star-powered ineptitude (this movie also has plenty of vague Scientology references as well). While I doubt this will kill anyone's careers associated, though it probably eliminates some good will for the Smith clan, it definitely piles more dirt on the grave that was Shyamalan's film career. Enough preface, let's get into the meat of why After Earth is one of the worst sci-fi films in years.

In a sloppy bit of exposition, we're told that humans left planet Earth after we made it too unsustainable. The human race then colonized an alien world except that the indigenous aliens weren't too happy about this. The aliens made a space monster, known as an Ursa, which would track and kill human beings by sniffing out their fear pheromones. Cypher Raige (Will Smith) rises in the ranks of the Ranger corps because he has the unique ability to "ghost." Because the man does not register fear he is able to sneak around the Ursa as if invisible. His relationship with his teenage son, Kitai (Jaden Smith), is strained at best. Dad has been gone a long time and has high standards for his boy; the kid has to refer to him as "sir" even at the dinner table. Father and son are traveling through space when their ship crash-lands on good old Earth. Cypher's legs are broken and he entrusts his son to make the trek to send out the distress call. The dangers of Earth, we're told, have only magnified since humans left, and the Ursa onboard their ship has escaped.

Oh boy, where to even start with this one?

I've got a great idea, let's take one of the world's most charismatic actors and then turn him into a stone-faced hardass, terse with words of encouragement, and mostly sidelined so that his son can go on his stupid hero's journey. I suppose Smith deserves some credit for stepping outside his comfort zone to play against type, but that praise only matters when the portrayal works. Smith is arguably miscast in his own passion project. That's because this was really a $130 million dollar birthday present to his son, trying to use dad's star power to establish Jaden as a star. It's less a movie and more like a product launch. On its face, I don't really have an issue with this. Nepotism has been alive and well in Hollywood for over 100 years and those in power have been producing vanity vehicles for their beloved for even longer. What I chafe at is that the finished product is so lacking and unconvincing. Jaden was cute in 2010's The Karate Kid remake, a movie that was far better than it ever should have been. Unfortunately, After Earth came at that special time in his life known as puberty, so he gets his lanky, squeaky-voiced, awkward growth stage forever captured on film. Thus when he gets into a huff, squeals at his dad, and then become the world's most improbable super warrior by film's end, it mostly brings about snickers. You don't buy a second of this character's ascent to hero.

Let's tackle the ultimate elephant in the room here, namely the involvement of Shyamalan. This is his first project he didn't conceive; Smith himself came up with the story and personally hired Shyamalan. Who deserves more of the blame? There's a reason why the marketing for After Earth has not breathed a word about Shyamalan's involvement. In my theater, when the end credits appeared and it opened with Shyamalan's director credit, the guy behind me remarked, "Well, that figures." His sense of dissatisfaction now had a tangible culprit. It's almost become a joke how much of a critical punching bag Shyamalan has become as a filmmaker. The man has genuine talent but it's five duds in a row (I am counting The Village) and not even the world's most bankable star could have saved this movie. As anyone who witnessed the atrocious Last Airbender can attest, Shyamalan is not a filmmaker who works well with a big special effects canvas. I'd suggest that Shyamalan, besides taking some time off, which may be a self-prescribed death sentence in Hollywood, find a smaller project to foster, perhaps something more personal and intimate. Nobody except the sadistic enjoys watching once-promising talents keep hitting a brick wall. Then again, people also dislike having to pay for terrible movies, especially when the director of said terrible movies keeps getting the opportunity to deliver more disappointment.

The plot, which Shyamalan is credited as a co-writer for, is so dull that I found myself almost falling asleep. You would think father and son surviving crash on a hostile alien world would be packed with survival thrills and excitement. You'd be wrong. It's as if Shyamalan takes a page from Smith's ranger character, and just goes about its business in the most thankless, ho-hum, undeterred manner. When we have characters that don't react to the danger they're in it has the misfortune of feeling less real, less urgent, and less dangerous. This was a problem with The Matrix films when Neo became a super being because then the stakes evaporated. It's hard to sympathize with characters that don't reflect the reality of their setting. With that said, so much of this script is just Kitai running off and running into different animals. He meets monkeys. He meets a tiger. He meets an eagle. He meets a slug. Scintillating stuff. Such ambition. If this is what the execution was going to be like, why didn't Smith and Shyamalan just make the planet an actual alien world? It would certainly open up the storytelling options. Or they could have gone in the opposite direction, setting this survival tale on a modern Earth. That would probably have made it much more relatable and resonant and also far cheaper.

The character back-story is also woefully familiar and just as ineffective. Before it even happened, I knew that there would have to be some tragic personal history so that Kitai could overcome his past. We're given some cringe-worthy moments of flashbacks to the family's happier times, when Kitai's older sister Senshi (Zoe Kravitz) was still alive. It's a plodding and contrived plot device for the father to preposterously blame his son for, who was like seven years old at the time. I kid you not, during one of these oh-so-necessary flashbacks, Senshi tells dad she got a copy of Moby Dick and a boy let her hold it. Dad doesn't get it, though I don't know if this is meant to be some lame sex joke. This back-story is ladled in with no real logical connection to events. All of a sudden, Cypher will be thinking about his broken leg and then, whoosh, we're thinking about Moby Dick.

There's also the issue of its tenuous grasp on reality. I know this quality is a give-and-take depending upon the tone of the sci-fi film, but After Earth is so drearily self-serious that it becomes even more unbearable when it so clearly conflicts with credulity. This movie's big message that it pounds into your head repeatedly is that fear is a choice, fear is not real, and that fear is a hindrance for mankind's progress. This is nonsense. Fear is what kept our ancestors alive rather than trying to play with larger predators. Fearlessness is a great way for your species to end. You know an animal without fear? Lemmings. The fact that the movie has to literalize this conflict in the form of a fear-smelling alien monster is just beyond absurd. Let's keep this literalizing-of-theme going; maybe next the aliens will fashion a monster that smells intolerance or illiteracy. Why are these aliens even genetically creating a monster to do their dirty work? If they have the superior scientific prowess to create a gnarly beast, I'm pretty sure they can take care of mankind. On top of this assertion, why would you make a beast that is effectively blind and only reliant upon one sense and then you limit that one sense to "fear"? Why not just have the alien monster smell human beings? That seems to make a lot more sense.

What also buggers my mind is the fact that, according to After Earth, everything on the planet has evolved to kill humans. First, I don't think substantial leaps in evolution work in meager thousand-year spans; secondly, these evolved creatures are really just slightly larger versions of familiar animals, which doesn't really make much sense either; and lastly, if humans have been off planet for a thousand years, how did these animals evolve to kill something they no longer have any interaction with? Then there's the fact that the Earth drops rapidly into freezing temperatures overnight, for no good reason. How do all those plants survive? As an extension, Kitai's super suit is just a prime example of a poorly developed idea that just as easily could have been abandoned. He has a special leotard that changes to his environment. We'll watch it change colors though we're never given any worthwhile reason why this is happening. However, Kitai's suit will not shield him from Earth's sudden temperature drops. So he's wearing this super suit that adjusts to his environment... except temperature? If you're going to present something all super scientific and then give it such obvious limitations, then you never should have introduced it in the first place. This is an ongoing theme with the film.

Then there are just nit-picky things like my total distaste for the production design of this movie. The spaceships look so chintzy. They have plastic flaps separating sections, like what you'd see in an office building when there's construction. The spaceship interiors, as well as home interiors, also look like some bizarre mix of honeycomb and bamboo. I'm all for thinking outside the box when it comes to futuristic design, but this is just stupid. One of the great possibilities of sci-fi is to capture our imagination with out-of-this-world visuals, the unfamiliar, the spectacle of the alien. If your spectacle is good enough, it can even save a so-so movie, like last year's Prometheus. Being stuck on Earth, only slightly different, emphasis on slightly, fails to deliver anything visually that will captivate an audience too often settling into boredom. Apparently After Earth looks pretty much like Earth except for Mount Doom popping up. The special effects are also lackluster and the score by James Newton Howard will try and trick you at every turn into thinking what's happening onscreen is a lot more interesting than it is.

If you value your entertainment, please ignore After Earth. It doesn't even work from a derisive enjoyment angle. The movie is lethargic and unimaginative to its core. It's predictable at every turn and underwhelming throughout. The plot consists of the most boring father-son team in recent memory and a hero's journey that feels false at every step. This big-budget star vehicle doesn't work when its star doesn't have the intangibles to be a star, nor does it help when the story is so poorly developed. The science feels boneheaded, the characters are dreary, the pacing sluggish, the spectacle clipped, and the world building to be bland. The shame is that this premise, even this exact same premise on a future Earth, could have easily worked as a suspense thriller. Smith seemed more interested in building an After Earth enterprise, since companion books were commissioned, and extending the reach of the Smith family empire. Making a good movie, it seems, was secondary. Being fearless also has its disadvantages.

Nate's Grade: D
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2013
some of the most fun ive ever had watching a film that amounts to little more than a train wreck. the list of problems here is extensive, the plot was misused and underdeveloped. i couldnt hate it, but i cant say there is much about it i like either. a strong disappointment.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2013
This is a odd movie. Not odd like "man that was so different!" But odd in like "what the heck were they thinking?" Will Smith is one of the most charismatic actors alive, but here he is so boring. He is dull, lifeless, and looks like he would rather be asleep the entire movie. The plot is very basic, and could have been good, but I just think they went about it the wrong way. Anyway, this is about a future where all of humanity has left Earth after some cataclysmic events. Kitai(Jaden Smith) wants to be a ranger like his father(Will Smith), but isn't cutting it like he hoped he would. They then go on a ship together that is transporting a dangerous alien that feeds off of peoples fear. The ship crashes and lands on Earth. Cypher is badly hurt and must guide his son from the ship wreckage to a way to signal for help, while avoiding that alien and all the life form on Earth that wants to kill humans. It's a father/son survival movie, but the problem is it's so slow and boring. There isn't a lot of action, and the acting of both Smith's just isn't very good. I dunno what it is, but I think if this were directed by someone other than M. Night Shyamalan, this could have been better. M. Night used to be one of my favorite directors("Unbreakable" is amazing!), but has last 3-4 movies have all been pretty bad, and this continues that trend. This feels like a big opportunity missed. Just skip it til it's available at redbox or netflix.
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2012
Sadly, there isn't even any entertainent value to be had with Shyamalan's latest failure, he's just lost all the belief in himself he once had.
Markus Emilio Robinson
Super Reviewer
June 3, 2013
While "After Earth" contains a compelling enough plot to keep ones interest throughout, it was a compilation of minor underwhelming factors which worked to overshadow and make this a below average movie going experience.
The Script: The dialogue here is pretty bad. Filled with cringe inducing back and forth's, which only serve to continuously bludgeon the audience over the head with paternal life lessons, writers Gary Whitta and the director who shall not be named, have done "After Earth" (and it's actors) no real favors. To the point where most (if not all) of the watchable moments during this film (and there are more than a few) occur when nobody is speaking.
The Direction: As for the direction, he who shall not be named actually does a fairly decent job, for about half the movie. But at the point when "After Earth" exits the forest (you'll know it when you see it) the cinematography goes from striking, to overrun by cheap looking CGI, rivaling the likes of "Green Lantern".
The Story: As I alluded to before, I was rather impressed with how the plot here wasn't as bad as everyone was proclaiming it to be. And aside from the fact that the main "bad guy" in all of this doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, much of this storyline is entertaining enough to be deemed the foundation of a watchable sci-fi venture. But then comes the insertion of melodrama. Over and over again said melodramatic scenes come about, slowing the film to a screeching halt just when things are starting to pick up. I'll put it like this: "After Earth" was no "The Pursuit of Happyness", no matter how much it tried to be.
The Acting: While this aspect is the least of the factors which worked against "After Earth", much will be made of Jaden Smith's bouts of goofy overacting. Some may go so far as to make claim that the younger Smith is a bad actor. To this I would argue that if not for those immensely awkward Cajun-like accents that each character was forced to use throughout "After Earth", Jaden's underrated acting abilities would have been given a proper chance to carry this story, with diction that wasn't so distracting.
Final Thought: The people wanted another "The Sixth Sense", but got "Devil" instead. The root of the problem with "After Earth" really comes down to the fact that after train-wrecks like "The Village" and "Lady in the Water", and the negative backlash from anime dweebs everywhere after "The Last Airbender", he who shall not be named needed to redeem himself with something the caliber of "The Sixth Sense". So, while "After Earth" is a step in the right direction (I'm still not recommending it) the bias that comes with this director will undoubtedly have many audiences taking an all or nothing attitude. In other words, this director who shall not be named needed to come out with something that was damn near Oscar worthy in order to avoid getting his film ripped to shreds right out of the gate. So, in his defense, the strong negative overreactions to "After Earth" may not be all his fault. Furthermore, this story was credited as a Will Smith idea, so if there is any real blame to be passed around, one could make an argument that "After Earth" is more Will Smith's fault than he who shall not be named.

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2013
M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth is one of the most disappointing films of the year. Judging by the trailers, this film looked like it had the potential of a terrific Sci Fi movie. Will Smith is a good actor, and he has made many good films, but this simply doesn't deliver what it could have. Shyamalan was once a great filmmaker, but now he seems to focus more on directing movies that are underdeveloped and needed more work in terms of a great script. In the case of After Earth, it's a dull, mediocre to affair, that you will find yourself not enjoying because nothing really grabs your attention. This was a case where the ideas were good, but the filmmakers, in this case Will Smith, because it's his idea should have rewritten the script a few times before turning it in. Shyamalan makes another dud, however at least the film looks good, if only there could have been more substance to the material that the actors are working with. Everything here seems lazy and unimpressive. The idea is good, but they could have added more depth to the material. I think it's a great shame because After Earth is a good looking movie with great effects and a good lead actor. However the plot suffers from underdeveloped ideas, and dull performances and excessive slow scenes where nothing happens. The Grey had that, but the script was solid, and the acting was top notch, but we get a film here that fails to deliver any real feel of threat to the characters because I found them to be poorly thought out. At least with The Grey, what kept you interested from start to finish was that the characters were great, each had a good enough back-story and had enough thrills. After Earth just ends up using a good, interesting idea and peppering the script with a few clichés to create the film. I did not absolutely hate the film, but it's one that could have been much better and needed a few rewrites. I was more disappointed with this one, but I guess that's what we've come to expect from M. Night Shyamalan.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2013
Though the film is somewhat a step higher than director M. Night Shyamalan's recent slumps, it still results in blockbuster blunder and failure. After Earth is a watered-down sad attempt at a sci-fi epic. The film's inconsistency and open-ended plot/story leaves the audiences hanging and confused. No doubt Will Smith & Jaden Smith's chemistry as father & son is there, but the acting could somewhat improved as it appeared flustered. Visually a remarkable film, but that's all it can give as the film disappoints. 2.5/5
Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2013
Besides a few pleasing elements, from the acting to a few pieces of visual effects, "After Earth" is a bland and forgettable post-Earth? film that strives far too much to be like many sci-fi films of the past. As their shuttle crash lands on a quarantined Earth, Kitai must leave his father who has broken both of his legs, while he ventures off to seek the tail end of the ship which has a beacon to rescue them. That being the entire plot does really nothing for me and is very very boring. There is nothing to this film. With terrible dialogue, a horrendous execution and laughable visual effects, "After Earth" is easily one of the worst films of 2013 by far. The idea has so much potential, but by the time the movie ends you are too pissed off to enjoy any of it. The movie starts and ends and things happen, that is all. This movie is pretty damn bad!
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2013
There is an interesting story in here somewhere but unfortunately the filmmakers have decided to focus on a bland one. I liked the world that the movie is set in with the human race having to flee Earth and settle on a far away planet and their troubles with an alien race that has caused them to form a brand of military specially equipped to handle them but the movie doesn't focus on this aspect of the story. Instead we get to watch Will Smith be gruff and bleed out while his emotionally damaged son runs around on a very hostile Earth.
The effects and design of the future technology are hit and miss through the whole film with the crashed spaceship looking more like a busted up kite than something that could fly through the cosmos. The crazy amount of green screen work is obvious and took me out of the film a few times and some of the music cues were misplaced.
I think M. Night played it safe with this one to avoid the slings and arrows of all who judge him for not hitting it out of the park with each film he releases. It's unfortunate because none of his identity comes out in this film and I think it would have helped it a little in the end.
Overall I didn't think this was a terrible movie. It's just not a good one.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2015
When the spaceship carrying Kitai(Jaden Smith) and his father Cypher(Will Smith) crashes, they are the only survivors. To make matters worse, the emergency beacon is in the other half of the spaceship, several days hike across a hazardous planet full of things that want to eat them. That becomes increasingly necessary considering Cypher suffered a compound fracture in the crash which even 30th century medicine has no quick fix for. And that big alien thingie they were giving a ride to might still be alive and waiting for Kitai out there.

Even if "The 100" had not cornered the market on post-apocalyptic generational and parental issues, there would still be little reason to recommend "After Earth." That's how heavily contrived and predictable it is. Yes, yes, we get it. Kitai really needs to prove himself to his father. But at the same time, you don't have to travel half way across the galaxy to find an emotionally remote father. All of which makes for a waste of perfectly fine production design.
Super Reviewer
May 8, 2013
After Earth is another failed effort from the one and only M. Night Shymalan, who has made a name for himself as one of the worst directors working today. His new sci-fi action film was an unsurprisingly failure that has a lot of ideas that aren't his own. He once had a promising start as he created the brilliant Sixth Sense, but his last four films or so have been just awful works that have destroyed his once-great career and now we are given further proof that he just needs to stop. Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith star in this picture, and to be perfectly honest I don't know how much they paid them to be in this garbage but it must've been a big paycheck. They lack complete chemistry together in this film with Jaden Smith proving he is a boring and one-dimensional actor. I figure the only reason they picked him was for publicity and notoriety. After Earth had me laughing several times throughout, and it's by no means a comedy. The acting is unbearable, the script is so unoriginal it hurts, and the visuals are so uninspired that Battlefield Earth may not be so lonely anymore on the rankings of worst science fiction films ever. It's a story with characters that we never grow to care about, and as the film progresses I actually disliked them more and more. Shymalan has some weird skill at creating characters that we just don't care about and could care less what their fate is. We know from the first five minutes or so how the film is going to turn out, and so we are forced to sit and watch a movie about nothing for nearly two hours. It's a cliché ridden piece of garbage that forced me to watch the Fresh Prince throw himself and his son into a movie with one of the laziest directors I can think of. Is it worse than Shymalan's previous work The Last Airbender? No, but few movies could be worse than that. It's an overlong and dull sci-fi mess that does everything in its power to make us hate it.

The story is set in the future where humanity have left Earth and settled on a new planet. Kitai (Jaden Smith) as he is taken on a mission with his father Cypher (Will Smith), but something goes wrong and they end up crashing and surviving on what is left of Earth. To survive in this dangerous world, Kitai must find his bravery to save himself and his father.

The plot is one of the most unoriginal and boring works I have seen in quite some time, and as the credits roll you force yourself to question if there was any story at all. We have a father and son conflict where they must work their differences to become closer. Sound familiar? Even as the film ends we expect some kind of emotional payoff but Shymalan even failed to provide us that. It's pretty much a movie where Jaden Smith travels to a volcano and has to fight a bunch of monsters over and over, with Will Smith just sitting and giving instructions the entire time. The message of this film is that to become a brave man you must fight a ton of monsters and have a bad relationship with your father. These characters annoyed me to death with their unbelievable dialogue and plain stupid backstories. How am I supposed to enjoy a movie when I can predict the cliché ending with the first few minutes? It's ridiculous and I am almost starting to believe Shymalan just wants to make movies as quick as possible without giving a second thought to if its "good" or not. Science fiction is a difficult thing to handle, this I will admit. But don't think of an unoriginal idea and feel the need to make the movie and try and make a quick buck. Are we supposed to believe the father and son are the only people who will survive a ship crash? Are we supposed to just accept that the protagonist doesn't find his actual courage until the last ten minutes of the film? These are the kind of questions I found myself asking myself over and over and they never seem to want to deliver an answer. So if you think that Will Smith and his son both in the same film is enough to make a cool story, think again friends.

The cast mainly consists of Will Smith and his son for an extended period of time, which raises the question of how Shymalan convinces all these great actors to be in his awful movies. Paul Giamatti, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg and Dev Patel were all deceived, and now Smith has joined the club. Will Smith doesn't give a bad performance in this film, but what he does do is give us a character that we just don't end up caring about. He is an emotionless father who has a broken leg for most of the film and that just doesn't put his talents to good use if you ask me. There is a lot of anger in the movie from him and not enough humanity, people don't act like this. He reminded me more of a robot. Jaden Smith, however, is worthy of saying he gave just a flat out bad performance. He has no skills whatsoever in this role, all we ever see is one blank and stupid expression on his face nearly the entire film. When he yells it sounds like a teenaged girl crying about her cell phone being taken away. Just the sound of his voice gave me goose bumps of embarrassment, for this is one of the funniest performances I have seen all year. Overall these two actors may have given decent performances under a new direction, but what we are given is two lazy performances we are forced to bear thanks to a lazy script giving them nothing to work with. Perhaps it worked in The Pursuit of Happyness, but that was a long time ago and things have changed.

After Earth is a colossal mess that gets worse the more I think about it, and while it's far from Shymalan's worst film it's still just not good in any way. I hate to think about a great actor like Will Smith being dragged down by a bad career choice like this, as he has made such a name for himself. He has gone from a TV legend, to an A-list movie star, and now he has chosen to be in a weird sci-fi movie with his teenaged son? Something is wrong here people. I don't know how much they paid him, but I really hope that money was the only judgment that came from reading this script. I've also started to guess that Shymalan has ended his love of twist endings in movies, for now he has started providing us with boring and predictable conclusions. What made The Sixth Sense so great was that he mixed horror and thrills along with superb acting and a shocking finale, so I don't know where he lost his touch but I think he just lost his artistic vision in a world of dollar bills. What could've been a cool sci-fi movie that opens hundreds of new ideas ends up being a boring point A to point B film that never becomes interesting or likable. The visual effects are what the film relies on the most, but to be honest I could care less about special effects. A large budget doesn't make a good movie, but I feel like most of the budget went to paying its cast. The world and the monsters look uninspired and boring, and to be honest, at this point in time it's just extremely rare to actually be impressed by visual effects in movies anymore. If you need a movie that is unoriginal, boring and makes Will Smith look like a robot than After Earth is the film for you.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2013
Will Smith and his son Jaden star in the science fiction adventure After Earth. The story follows a father and son who crash-land on Earth (which has become toxic to human life) as they struggle to survive. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the film has an impressive visual style that's quite interesting. Additionally, the setting includes a number of science fiction elements that craft a fascinating futuristic vision. However, the script is too contained to really explore the sci-fi ideas that it brings up or the characters. Still, After Earth is an entertaining and action-packed film.
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2013
Had some cool bits and pieces but it seemed such a lazy movie, all though I can tell it was deliberate because thats apart of Smiths character to be emotionless but it just bored me a little. still watchable tho.
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