Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Written by M. Night Shyamalan and Gary Whitta
Starring Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okenodo, and Zoe Kravitz
PG-13, 100 minutes
The earlier work of M. Night Shyamalan had a profound effect on my movie-going tendencies. So much so that his recent cinematic contributions have been more disheartening to me than if they would be if made by any other filmmaker. I remember the day the downward spiral become readily plain to me. It was late June 2008 and The Happening was unfolding before my very eyes (I actually kind of enjoy Lady in the Water despite most elements). Then, The Last Airbender struck and was pronounced quite possibly the worst movie to come out in some time (and there may be something to that argument). Now, After Earth is upon us. It’s a step up from Shyamalan’s last two films, but it’s by no means a success.
After Earth takes place in the future, where all humanity has travelled to a distant planet. The story follows Kitai Rage (Jaden Smith, the character names are not a strong suit in this movie), a young boy in desperate need of some quality bonding time with his father, Cypher Rage (Will Smith), a general who is the only person who has ever mastered the art of “ghosting,” where you proceed without fear and thus secrete no fear pheromones that blind aliens smell (yeah…). During a trip through space, complications ensue and the Smith family finds themselves stranded on a dangerous Earthly terrain. Will Smith’s legs are broken, so Jaden has to go find the emergency beacon that has been strewn about somewhere on land.
Shyamalan’s sullen style has served him well in the past and when working in the wheelhouse of small-scaled supernatural thrillers. Here, though, it comes across as joyless and lacking in all creativity. This movie is boring. Not one moment in the film feels like it is capitalizing on anything related to its own premise or the charisma of its star. When I say star I mean Will Smith, whose character and acting in this film is borderline lifeless. I don’t mean to knock on a fifteen year old kid, either, because lord knows I can’t act worth a damn, let alone in a $130 million summer action flick, but he just isn’t effective here and his character arc feels incredibly forced in the film’s mercifully truncated running time.
I truly hope M. Night Shyamalan finds his footing once again, but this one does not suffice in terms of mounting any kind of comeback.
Possibly Related Posts:
- Friday Fiction: The Boy Who Never Left The Carnival! (Part 3)
- Fazbear Frights Review: Book #11: Prankster
- Free Guy: A Chaotic And Delightful Mess
- Friday Fiction: The Boy Who Never Left The Carnival! (Part 2)
- New STAR WARS Coming Soon + FREE Stuff!