One thousand years after disastrous events forced humanity to leave Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) returns from a tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his son, Kitai (Jaden Smith). When an asteroids damage Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon and save their lives.
M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t made many good movies in recent years, with films like The Happening and The Last Airbender. There was a chance that After Earth could’ve brought him back to at least some greatness. It isn’t in my opinion on the same level as The Last Airbender but this is still not the movie to bring back M. Night Shyamalan back to form. It still has boring dialogue, bored performances, and makes for an overall boring movie.
The story is very uninteresting and boring throughout, I didn’t care about what was going on. We are supposed to care about this father and son bond between these characters, however the writing is just not strong enough, not helping this is the dialogue which was very clichéd. The Happening’s story was not good but it at least had some enjoyable bad ideas, After Earth has nothing entertaining going on and was very predictable. We never learn anything about the aliens, we don’t even get to learn what they are called. There are also some conveniences, and plot holes, the weapon mainly used in the movie is a staff which is used up close, even though in the beginning there are guns being used. The movie is never interesting or intreging, it’s just following the same lines as many other better sci-fi movies.
Shyamalan often has his actors saying normal lines in a serious way and very dramatic way; the actors also usually seem very emotionless and this is the case particularly with the two main leads. Will Smith is completely emotionless throughout the entire movie. Usually he can at least have an entertaining performance, not here. Every line he delivers is monotone, and just sounded like a GPS, even when his son is in major danger in some parts. I understand the type of character he is but it would’ve been better if another person was cast because he wasn’t the best person for the role, not that anyone would’ve made a significant difference. Jaden Smith isn’t that good in this movie either. He was good in Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid but he hasn’t got anything good to work with here. None of his delivery of his lines were convincing in the slightest.
The special effects in the movie are okay. They aren’t horrible or amazing, they are just simply acceptable. There were at times some questionable cinematography choices, such as having characters awkwardly talking directly to the camera (a typical Shyamalan trope) or having some bit of plastic brush back and forth in front of a camera after the crash scene. James Newton Howard’s score was decent but I don’t really remember any of it after watching this movie.
The worst part about the movie is that I barely remember it. Even with The Happening I could remember some scenes, I don’t remember much here. The story is very boring, clichéd and every sci-fi movie you’ve seen, accompanied by the fact that the actors don’t do a good job. The movie at times looked great but they weren’t enough to hide massive flaws. Even if you are a diehard Shyamalan fan don’t see this movie, there isn’t much to see here.