Thursday, June 6, 2013

After Earth: Utterly Charmless and Dull

June 6, 2013

"After Earth" was about a future where humans have left ecologically-devastated Earth to live on another planet. Cypher Raige (Will Smith) is a highly ranked, highly respected Ranger who is disappointed that his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) could not even make it to Ranger school. One time, Cypher brings Kitai along on a mission but an asteroid storm caused their craft to crash land on Earth. This accident kills their whole crew except for father and son. Cypher was crippled with severely injured legs. This leaves Kitai the only able body left to look for their distress beacon to call for help. But of course the kid has to face his worst nightmares to recover it and prove his worth to his father.

Sci-fi films are on a roll this year, with excellent films like "Oblivion" or "Star Wars Into Darkness". Unfortunately, this one did not follow suit. "After Earth" was really bad. There was so much bland pretentious talking and ugly computer-generated creatures, it did not succeed to be interesting at all. The acting of Will Smith was so uncharacteristically wooden and robotic, while that of Jaden Smith was typically whiny and annoying. With Will's character hurt and dying, the burden of carrying the film fell on Jaden, who was utterly charmless and dull. Director M Night Shyamalan has certainly added another bad film to his list.

Overall, this film is forgettable even while you are still watching it, as your mind will wander off as it flounders in its lifeless exposition. It was a generic father-son story with an unappealing futuristic setting.  On posters, "After Earth" looked like a promising sci-fi film starring Will and Jaden Smith. Even if I was not a fan of Will Smith, I was curious to see how father and son will fare acting together. Sadly, they did not fare well. I think it was because the material was not able to show any dynamic father-and-son rapport between the two. The two were not even together for majority of this film. This film was as lame as Will's appropriately-named character Cypher was. It cannot even stand up on its own. 3/10 only for me.

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