The Smith Family’s AFTER EARTH is way better than expected

After Earth is set about 2000yrs into our future, to make a statement about the environment it is set after we have basically made our planet uninhabitable. a mass evacuation of the entire planet was made and we all moved to a lovely little planet called Nova Prime. We obviously didn’t send any rovers in advance because Nova Prime was also inhabited by evil freaking aliens that live on and can only see through detecting fear. If you are afraid then they will see you and basically devour you. But if you lose your fear then they can’t see you and you can slaughter them – this is known as “ghosting”. Cypher Raige (Will Smith) is a general, has the coolest name in the galaxy and is a master ghoster.

 

AFTER EARTH, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, Jaden Smith
AFTER EARTH – M. Night Shyamalan’s Film starring Will and Jaden Smith

 

General Raige has just returned from active duty to his estranged wife and a son who hardly knows him but worships him. Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) is a young teenager and desperate to be a Ranger in the defending forces of mankind to make his father proud. He is technically brilliant but due to a horrific experience as a child freaks out in the practical and very real field. General Raige has one last mission to attend to before retiring and takes Kitai with him so they can have a chance to bond. As you can imagine shit hits the fan, with an evil alien onboard and they have to crash land onto a now very murderous planet Earth.

 

AFTER EARTH, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, Jaden Smith
AFTER EARTH – M. Night Shyamalan’s Film starring Will and Jaden Smith

 

I will be honest, I have detested M. Night Shyamalan for a very long time. Not his fault really, I should never have liked him. He made one superb, out of this world film that blew the world way, THE SIXTH SENSE (way back in 1999), but has since then been in a downhill slide to OK films followed by bad films, and then throwing in some pieces of fucking atrocious trash that should have seen him murdered in Hollywood but someone always backs him because they know he can make something genius, and will the next one be it. His last decent film was THE VILLAGE in 2004 and I have to say, he is back, kind of. The downhill slide just plateaued and his star may start rising again. The problem is that so many people hate him for films like THE HAPPENING, THE LADY IN THE WATER – in fact, following both of these films I put it in writing I was planning on organising an assassination of him. Then he made THE LAST AIRBENDER, I did not bother, but this was what turned the rest of the world against him and no one is willing to forget or forgive.

 

AFTER EARTH, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, Jaden Smith
AFTER EARTH – M. Night Shyamalan’s Film starring Will and Jaden Smith

 

So bad is his rep that Hollywood is now fine with tearing Will Smith apart, purely by association, for doing this film, do you know it was Will Smith who approached Shyamalan and convinced him to make this film for him and Jaden? Will Smith was going to be Django in DJANGO UNCHAINED, a Tarantino goldmine that made Jamie Foxx even more famous. The world turned on Smith, “what are you thinking, you idiot?” has been the general consensus. I will tell you why he did it, you freaking idiots……Scenario pop quiz – you have an opportunity to work with Tarantino on an amazing film for lengthy shoots away for your family or you have the opportunity to spend over three months working day in and day out with your son in one of the most crucial times in his life, as even highlighted in the film???? If you can answer that question correctly you get a gold star.

 

AFTER EARTH, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, Jaden Smith
AFTER EARTH – M. Night Shyamalan’s Film starring Will and Jaden Smith

 

I love Will Smith, always have, met him once, thought he was great, he makes a good popcorn film, and is basically the African American Tom Cruise, never really does it for awards, does it for fun and what he likes, and I admire that and mostly have fun in all his films. In this one he purposefully takes the back seat. His character is badly injured and stays immobile and is the guide in the film. Just like the real Will is doing for his son in this film. He is trying to turn Jaden into mini Will and set him up skill wise for the rest of his life and I think he will do it. I really enjoy Jaden on film. Loved the Karate Kid and love him in this, have heard some interviews of him in real life and think he is a bit of a tool but hey, so are most 15yr old kids, especially if they live a life of helicopters and privilege.

 

AFTER EARTH, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, Jaden Smith
AFTER EARTH – M. Night Shyamalan’s Film starring Will and Jaden Smith

 

Is Jaden good enough to carry an entire film on his shoulders? I think so. He is no Oscar winner from birth but I have seen many worse performances and he does have a bit of Will’s charisma but not all of it, it will come. You can see it shine out every now and then – there is the scene on the plane when he clearly being the cheeky Smith kid to his dad and in that scene you can see the real Jaden and not the actor, loved that little smirk between father and son. And then acting on his own he does well, he does trapped and scared kid well and I felt for the character in this film. My stomach lurched and I sat on the edge of my seat so win win. It appeared as though his performance in this one grew from start to finish – I wonder if shot in order? But by the end Jaden was a damn fine little popcorn film action star as far as I was concerned.

 

AFTER EARTH, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, Jaden Smith
AFTER EARTH – M. Night Shyamalan’s Film starring Will and Jaden Smith

 

Now the film has quite a lot of flaws that let it down a bit. I found the story quite convoluted in the fact that did we need the ship to crash on planet earth that is trying to kill them with all the wildlife plus an escaped alien determined to kill them on the same planet. Why not just the creatures of future Earth or a planet with monsters trying to kill them. And the alien itself, it is as fearsome as the aliens from the Pitch Black films, yet it was under utilised. Probably why AFTER EARTH 2 is scheduled for 2015 – I want to see that. Next is the safety suit that Jaden wears, a form fitting wetsuit like thing. It looks like a damn fine multi terrain utility suit. Now I htink it is called a safety or survival suit – yet it pretty much does nothing to aid his survival, when it gets cold, so does Kitai, I mean it has a wicked magnetic like back pack, it has holes where the heart is incase you need to inject your heart, it changes colours in a chameleon like fashion and it looks damn good on Jaden but generally I think it could have done more. Next is the air on Earth, why does Kitai constantly have to inhale a lung covering agent to protect him and help him breathe and yet the entire planet is covered in animals still here since we left – I am pretty sure they breathed the same thing we did? But most of this is made up by the Cutlass, a battling weapon to rival the lightsabre and bat’leth (ok maybe not the lightsabre) – more of that please!!

 

AFTER EARTH, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith, Jaden Smith
AFTER EARTH – M. Night Shyamalan’s Film starring Will and Jaden Smith

 

I got to see this film on my birthday with my great mate, Sebby T, we had a wicked dinner before and we both enjoyed the film. I think it is being torn apart because no one wants to see anything from M. Night again but I am willing to give him another chance and for that I reckon this is a nice popcorn sci-fi film. It is predictable, has some cheese factor, is directed by Shyamalan but I still thought it was a fun film to watch on the big screen. It commenced in cinemas today and you can do plenty worse. If you like some sci-fi then get into it.

JK SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

 

SEBBY T SCORE:

3 Pops

 

 

KERNEL CLAIRE SCORE:

3 Pops