Sunday, June 09, 2013

After Earth

Year: 2013
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Zoe Kravitz, Sophie Okonedo

Plot: In the future, Earth has become uninhabitable, forcing humans to move to a new planet, Nova Prime. A thousand years later, a general named Cypher Raige brings his son Kitai on a training expedition, but their spaceship crashes on Earth, which has evolved into a dangerous planet filled with deadly lifeforms and a deadlier climate. With his father seriously injured, Kitai is forced to get help by going through the dangerous terrain alone.

Review: Looking at the people involved in this film, from director M Night Shyamalan to the father and son team of Smiths, you would be tempted to stay away from it. After all, Shyamalan hasn't had a hit in years (the last being the awful The Last Airbender), and we've seen Will team up with his kids one time too many, either as a co-star or a producer, or something.

But I admit, I am curious about it. It looked decent on the surface, and I love adventure, so why not? The good news is, it's not as bad as everyone claims it is. But it certainly isn't mind blowingly good.

So basically, the film follows Jaden's character Kitai, who has to travel on foot to the tail section of their ship which separated during the crash, since his father broke both his legs, and there are no other survivors. Earth has a fluctuating climate, much less oxygen than before and filled with killer animals. So Kitai has his work cut out for him, especially since he is struggling to live up to his father's expectations.

What's good about it is that it's better than The Last Airbender in many ways. It's a straightforward plot, the acting is decent enough and the CGI isn't bad at all. Yeah, some of it still looks fake, but I can overlook that. Will's character is also well written, and he plays it well too. I like it when he's serious the whole time, even though he has a natural flair for comedy. This film requires seriousness from him, and he delivers.

What's bad however is having to rely on Jaden to carry most of the film. Now, Jaden is by no means a bad actor, he had some good moments here, the best of which is when he argues with his dad over his sister's death many years ago. But as good as he is, he's not quite ready to lead a film of this kind yet. I'll give him some credit for trying though. 

The plot, as simple as it may be, is also predictable to a fault. You can tell how this film is going to end once it gets rolling, and thus you never really feel like Kitai is in any real danger as he races to his destination. The pace is uneven at times too.

In summation, After Earth is a decent adventure flick, but nothing more. M Night is gonna have to work harder to return to form, and Jaden needs to grow up a bit more. My advice to Jaden: don't work with your dad too often, okay? (3/5)

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