Though the humans rule the planet, the Earth really belongs to the animals. Creatures of large and small were the first to roam the land as they lived purely on instinct; the strongest will win. There were no emotional conflicts or intellectual advantage; everything was a battle to the death. It’s no wonder that the dinosaurs ruled for millions of years before that large asteroid wiped everything out. When the first humans came about, emotion and imagination would change everything. From now on, us creatures would now offer a hand to help everyone else live and prosper. This land was now our land.
I will admit that I know that people will eventually be wiped from the planet in comparison to the dinosaurs. Maybe it will be disease or possibly technology turning against us, but the power of the planet will be up in the air again. Without people running around to build, the plants and woods will consume everything that has become evidence to mankind. There are plenty of questions I’m sure scientists are asking about this future. So if we seem so committed to finding some answers, then why do we have to ask M. Night Shyamalan of all people. That’s how you get After Earth.
Set in the year 3000, mankind is now living on a planet outside the solar system called Nova Prime. We had to leave the Earth because of Environmental damage (I’m sure Al Gore would dancing around proclaiming “Told ya so!”). Thanks to the efforts of the Ranger Corps, people have been able to start a new life and make Nova Prime their new home. The leader of the Ranger Corps is General Cypher Raige (played by Will Smith). He apparently developed the idea of Ghosting which is his way of defeating aliens; if you can actually channel all the fear in your system, then the creatures can’t see you and you can beat them easily.
If your still reading this, then the plot actually concerns the general’s son, Kitai (played by Jaden Smith). Though he’s smart, he’s known for breaking a lot of rules to show off, thus preventing him from advancing. His mother convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his latest mission. The flight goes wrong when an asteroid path sends the ship crashing on Earth, which has been overrun with foliage and evolved animals. With the general down due to two broken legs, it’s up to Kitai to face the danger and retrieve the emergency beacon that can send for help.
M. Night Shyamalan has had very bad record of movies from the laughable The Happening to the insulting The Last Airbender. After Earth doesn’t do much better. This has to be one of the most boring blockbusters I’ve sat through. Most of the dialogue is a lot of hallmark greeting card expressions about facing danger and fear. Though Will Smith is warning his son about the dangers of this new Earth, I could not care less if these two got off or not.
You no this movie is meant for the son when the father gives the stiffest performance of his career. I know he’s supposed to play a general, but with only one expression on his face the entire time, I kept thinking that Frankenstein was not as stiff. If your expecting a father/son adventure, you’ll be disappointed. With Will Smith in a chair for most of the movie, Jaden Smith takes the wheel as the main star. To his credit, Jaden is actually a decent actor and I could tell he was putting a lot of effort into his performance.
Why don’t people ever try to go back to Earth? Are their other habitual planets? Why are lions evolving back into saber-toothed cats in the future? Why do the animals literally smell fear? None of these questions are answer that would have been covered in any other good science fiction movie. It’s all vague (which seems to be the definition of this future; very little of it’s detail is explained). The movie is bad, but I can’t put the blame on Shyamalan; I’m placing most of it on Will Smith. He produced the movie, wrote the story, and apparently gave most of the emotional and action direction while the director pointed and shot. Will Smith seems to be making a lot of ineffectual choices recently, including turning down Django Unchained because he didn’t want to share the main role with Christoph Waltz (I’m not kidding, look it up). After Earth is simply the proof that Will Smith only cares about making his children famous, and not for his audience.
I’ll give this one and a half crashed spaceships out of five. While this isn’t the worst of the M. Night Shyamalan pictures, it seems to fit in perfectly with the others. This one should be avoided at all costs.