After Earth: After Wasting Money

Posted: July 22, 2013 in Movie Reviews, New Releases
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Rating: 0.5/4

I read an article once that talked about how this movie came to be.  Will Smith had an idea about making a movie that would put into test the chemistry between a father and his son, a chemistry that had been falling apart for years.  His first idea was that the movie would take them into some sort of a road trip in which the car crashes, and given that the father was badly injured in the accident, he was unable to move.  Therefore, it was up to the son to look for help in a remote place to be able to save his father and himself.  This would seem to be actually a brilliant idea for a movie, being both sentimental and shocking at the same time, given that it would be based on something that can actually happen any day.  And in a year full of post-apocalyptic movies, how great would it be to see a movie that goes far from this theme, while at the same time bringing into present time the idea of people that are alone in a remote place and in need of help?  Well, guess what.  Will Smith suddenly had the urge to be extremely original and move the time to 1,000 years later!  Oh, and of course, why wouldn’t he decide to give M. Night Shyamalan, one of the greatest directors in the present day, directing classics such as “The Happening” and “The Last Airbender”, a call?  Seriously, what could possibly go wrong? Everything.

After Earth” takes place 1000 years after the Earth had suffered from irrevocable environmental damages, making humanity abandon it and settle in another world called Nova Prime.  The movie follows Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith), who dreams of being a Ranger like his father, Cypher (Will Smith), the most respected Ranger in Nova Prime, who in a war against some alien species whose biggest weapon was another alien species called Ursas (yeah, I don’t really get it either), is able to completely suppress all his fear, a technique called “ghosting”, making him blind to the Ursas, who only see fear.  However, when the Ranger Corp. board lets Kitai know that he has not passed the test, he and his father are left disappointed.  After Cypher talks with his wife, Faia (Sophie Okonedo), she convinces him to take Kitai on his next and last mission. Unluckily, when on their voyage, an asteroid shower hits the spaceship, leaving only 3 passengers alive: Kitai, Cypher, and an Ursa who was going to be used for training, which managed to escape the spaceship when it crashed.  Cypher is left badly injured, with both legs broken, so it is up to Kitai to face his fears and look for the tail of the ship, which had broken off upon its entrance through Earth’s atmosphere, so that he can send a message to Nova Prime to come look for them.  Oh, and there’s also some subplot regarding Kitai’s sister being killed and him blaming himself for it, but in reality, who gives a shit.  It just makes the movie worse than it already is.

“After Earth” is possibly one of the most unoriginal post-apocalyptic movies to ever come out.  When I wrote my review on “Oblivion”, I highlighted the fact that even though it does not necessarily cover new ground, it does give the post-apocalypticafter_earth plot a risky twist that ends up working on its advantage.  “After Earth”, however, decides not to take any risks at all.  It prefers to cover already overused ground, and if anything, the few things that some might argue to be different from other post-apocalyptic movies work against its own sake.  There’s nothing in this movie that gathers any possible involvement from the audience, since the plot is as linear and as unimaginative and boring as possible.  It is probably as predictable as a romantic-comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker and some guy who must be drugged to think that she is somewhat attractive.  Also, the fact that there is a subplot involving the death of Kitai’s sister just makes things worse.  This subplot tries to add some interest into the main plot, but in the end, the movie might have been exactly the same without this unnecessary subplot, or even a little less horrible.

In a post-apocalyptic movie, no matter how bad it is, we can always find some good in its scenery.  Sadly, this is not exactly the case for “After Earth”.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it is not like if it just looked plain ugly.  It just does not try too hard to make the most out of its opportunities.  Earth is basically a giant forest, and it really does look beautiful.  However, when the movie presents us with the animals that lurk on the surface of the Earth, one would expect that this would be the over-the-top part of the scenery.  Nevertheless, this does not happen.  In fact, the animals just look average.  There’s nothing special in them that might leave the audience impressedl.  They are just plain average when we look at how much special effects have grown in recent years.  And as for those Ursas, I don’t even have to say how they look.  They’re basically the alien from the Alien saga, but with more claws and arms and slime and exoskeleton, you know, the usual.  But hey, at least the movie succeeds in making its aliens look even more bug-like than in other movies.

Probably the worst part about this movie is its acting. Will Smith as the respected Ranger Cypher gives one of his most bland performances in recent memory.  You can easily tell that Will Smith was trying to give through his character a feeling of importance and leadership.  And apparently he thought that by making Cypher have absolutely no emotions, he would transmit this feeling to the audience.  Well, guess what, Will: you were wrong. After-Earth-Movie-Review-2013-Wallpaper-of-Jaden-Smith And not only this, but director M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith decided that it would be better off if they take the biggest star in the film and make him not move throughout 90% of the movie, just sit him there in a spaceship with his legs broken.  This makes Jaden Smith the lead in this movie, and it is an utter disaster.  As Kitai, Jaden does nothing more than tremble and shake throughout the whole movie.  He does not exhibit that same charisma he had in the remake of The Karate Kid.  Sure, he is supposed to be scared when he is left alone to save his dad and himself, but it is just too excessive.  At some points, it just looks as if he had been holding his necessities for too long and was about to explode.  And even worse than this is the execution of his lines in the movie.  For some reason, everyone in the movie has a normal American accent, except for him.  He has some sort of British/Australian/American accent that just makes listening to him dreadful.  Jaden Smith will probably turn out to be as good of an actor as his father at some point, but right now, he is in a process of learning, and he is definitely not ready yet to take such big roles like this one.

“After Earth” is by far the worst addition in this sudden fistful of post-apocalyptic movies, and one of the worst all-around.  As far as this year goes, it is at the top of my list for “Worst Movie of the Year”.  Worse of all is the fact that M. Night Shyamalan continues in his downfall after starting off with great movies such as “The Sixth Sense” and  “Unbreakable”.  In addition to this, both Will and Jaden Smith hit rock bottom with this movie.  The only positive thing they can take out from this is the fact that it is almost impossible to make a movie worse than this one.  In the end, all I can say is this: this movie is real, punishing yourself to watch it is a choice.

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Comments
  1. Would you rate this as one of Shyamalan’s worst? I mean, it seems hard to beat ‘The Last Airbender’ in terms of crapness.

    • celpupi says:

      It definitely is one of his worst films, and given how promising he started off with movies such as Signs, it is just too sad to see that he is making movies like this one now. Compared to The Last Airbender, its almost as crappy, but The Last Airbender surely wins the award for Crappiest Shyamalan Film hahaha.

  2. I personally loved this movie…seriously!

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