Movie Review: After Earth
Sorry. A day late with this one. Got caught up in other things…
“After Earth” is M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie creation. It stars Will Smith as Cypher Raige and his son, Jaden, as his son, Kitai. It is set in the distant future. Humanity has abandoned earth; they have encountered and waged a war with a group of aliens who have engineered human-killing creatures called ursas (I think?). Cypher Raige is the commander of an elite group of warrior humans called rangers. They are renowned for their ability to “ghost.” Basically, the ursas hunt humans by smelling the excretions of the human body that come about with fear. A ranger with the ability to “ghost” has control of his emotions and feels no fear. As a result, such a man or woman is invisible to the ursas and can kill them with relative ease.
With the above as the backdrop, the plot of the movie is pretty basic. Cypher and Kitai are on a ship that is bombarded by asteroids, knocked off course, and forced to crash land on Earth, which has become an inhospitable planet filled with vicious wildlife that have evolved to kill humans. As the ship crashes, the tail comes off and lands a good distance (several days travel) from the rest of the ship. Cypher and Kitai are the only survivors in the main section of the ship, but Cypher is seriously wounded. It is up to young Kitai to brave the wilderness, travel to the tail, and retrieve the beacon that will send up a signal that will help them get rescued. Pretty basic. Pretty simple.
Perhaps, too simple.
I found this movie dull, and boring after the first half hour, so much so, I eventually walked out. If I had known it was M. Night Shyamalan’s work, I might have stayed through the full bit. I got as far as Kitai’s arrival at the tail (I guess that’s a spoiler: he makes it to the tail), which I think is a good portion of the movie, but I’d gone to a lot of movies that week combatting depression and I didn’t want to sit through something I wasn’t really enjoying. It’s a shame, but it seems that all the movies M. Night Shyamalan has been doing lately have been unimpressive. It’s been all downhill since “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs.” Oh well.
Strengths: The special effects were good, but special effects don’t make a movie. I think the acting was fine, too, but it was just a weak script. Weaknesses: The movie was boring. I guess it was a coming-of-age story for the kid and all about his relationship with his father, but it didn’t hold my interest.
For that, I’ll give it a whopping one and a half stars out of five.