Reports have stated that After Earth is bombing at the US box office following disastrous reviews and claims from critics that its plot shares similarities with the teachings of Scientology. The M. Night Shyamalan-directed movie was produced by Jada Pinkett Smith and stars both her husband Will and her 14-year-old son Jaden.
Before you decide to give this movie a total miss, I have to say that it is a pretty decent movie though it may not be what we’ve come to expect from Will Smith. I do think it’s great that he’s trying to help launch his son’s career.
A crash landing leaves teenager Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help, facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash. Father and son must learn to work together and trust one another if they want any chance of returning home
I haven’t thought much about this movie until it was reported that it didn’t do so well at the box office. Will Smith a failure? No way, I have to go see this movie and decide for myself. Also I was curious to see the dynamics between father and son. I mean what an incredibly high pressure situation Jaden must be in, living in his father’s ultra successful shadow but yet wanting to make it on his own.
Well his parents for starters are very supportive, first they both produce Karate Kid which Jaden starred alongside Jackie Chan and now they’ve allowed Jaden to take it to the next level, play with the big boys…..and it doesn’t get any bigger than his own father, superstar Will Smith. After watching the first 15 mins of the film I realised that it’s somewhat a true story. After all there are reports that say that Jada Picket and Will Smith do argue about the career of young Jaden. Jada says Will should go easy on him but Will insists that if he wants to be a great actor he has to work hard.
Back to the film itself, the graphics and imagination of space and Nova Prime the “new Earth” so to speak are pretty excellent. This story is pretty much about Jaden’s character Kitai who travels on Earth after the crash in search of a rescue beacon. I was slightly annoyed with his character who seemed whiny at many points but it was a good portrayal of an insecure boy. I was especially or should I say finally impressed with his acting at the climax of the film where without giving too much away, he had to switch emotions instantly which was very impressive.
Will Smith while in a restricted role really stands out as a stone cold father holding in his emotions. Perhaps not something we are used to from this funny man but certainly very impressive from an acting point of view.
The movie also offers many moments of suspense that will leave you in anticipation of a fright from a huge animal or alien only to still be caught by surprise. It’s good fun that way.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
While After Earth is worth the watch, I can’t help but think that more could be done to the film.
By Elliott Danker
After Earth opens in cinemas 6 Jun 2013
Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Singapore
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