So try and follow me here, in a near future mankind must abandon Earth because we treated it like garbage. Humanity found a new home on a planet called Nova Prime, problem is aliens show up and send down monsters that can only smell fear. The face these creatures down a man named Cypher Raige(Will Smith) takes them down. Years later his son Kitai(Jaden Smith) wants to follow in his fathers footsteps. They go on a training mission, problem is there ship crashes down on to Earth. Cypher Raige is hurt badly so his son must go out alone to find a beacon that will signal help. Kitai must over come his fears to survive.
M. Night Shyamalan gets hated on a lot these days, some of it is deserved but most of it isn’t. I hated Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender but some of his other films have been very strong. His style here never really hurts the film. The movie has a lot going for it, Earth looks amazing, most of the animals are overly CGI’d. The future technology is pretty interesting and at least a little refreshing to see some different ideas on how things would look or work. There is also a strong back story here involving Kitai’s sister, but the film doesn’t really use it right, which is a shame.
Will Smith is strong here, but frankly he doesn’t have much to do, he’s stuck on a ship most of the time. Jaden Smith struggles here, his line delivery is very weird at many times. M. Night has proven one thing, he isn’t good at working with kids. The script is really where the failure is though so you can’t blame Jaden all that much. The film even though being titled “After Earth” doesn’t really seem to make Earth matter that much. Things just evolved to be bigger, I was expecting some sort of explanation or discovery on Earth but that never happens.
The film comes of like a video game mostly, as Kitai must over come an obstacle, then face off with an animal, then face off against a monster. He even has to take capsules to survive every day. That is the major issue with the movie, using a video game structure just doesn’t really make this movie very interesting. At no time is there any real peril it’s just going through the motions.
After Earth isn’t terrible, visually it is very interesting. There is no major twist or anything like that. Just don’t go in expecting some sort of science fiction game changer. Some of the ships and tech choices are interesting, but beyond that the film is basically a short video game.