Written by Matt Mungle
Title: After Earth
I think movie audiences are ready to forgive M. Night Shyamalan for The Happening, The Last Airbender, and anything else that isn’t The Sixth Sense. He has made more good films than bad ones, but sadly it seems the bad ones are the ones we remember. So with the release of the new sci-fi thriller After Earth, it was time for him to prove his merit.
This is a story all about how the Earth got flipped turned upside down. Well not exactly, but since it stars Will Smith, I could not help but type that. Smith portrays Cypher Raige, a futuristic, military, Ranger. His son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) wants badly to find favor in his dad’s eyes. When Cypher takes Kitai on a mission that goes horribly wrong, Kitai finally gets that opportunity. They live somewhere other than Earth, though that is really never explained in full. Not that it matters. All we have to know is that Earth in no longer inhabitable due to our abuse of the environment. All that remains are vicious animals. So when Cypher and Kitai crash land on Earth and Cypher is badly wounded, it is up to Kitai to overcome the environment and save his father.
Like most of Shyamalan’s stories this one has promise. It has a decent foundation of the father and son dynamic. You immediately feel for Kitai and want him and Cypher to engage with each other. The casting of the real life father and son Smith’s help that tremendously. The chemistry onscreen works. Like most of M.’s stories though it has a hard time getting past a story line. Once the story starts fleshing out, it becomes apparent that a whole lot of nothing is happening. It looks good, and there are a few intense moments of action, but other than that the whole thing just seems sort of stagnate.