Movie: After Earth
Starring: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoe Isabella Kravitz
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Manoj Night Shyamalan's new film is unlike any we've seen so far from the director's stable. There's no twist, no Hitchcockian cameo. The characters aren't ordinary folks thrown into extraordinary circumstances. If anything, 'After Earth' seems like a sincere attempt by the director to break out the pigeonhole we've been forcefully cramming him into for over a decade now. However, with characters you care little for and some guffaw-inducing dialogue, 'After Earth' comes up short.
What's it about?
Humankind has been forced to evacuate Earth and settle on the planet Nova Prime. When aliens attempt to take over their new home, Commander Cypher (Will Smith) teaches rangers the technique of 'ghosting' - letting go of all dread to become invisble to the aliens who track humans by sensing fear. In the attack, Cypher's daughter dies while protecting her brother Kitai (Jaden Smith), leaving boy and father consumed by guilt ever since. In order to win his father's approval, Kitai trains hard to become a ranger but fails the tests. Cypher's wife suggests he take Kitai along on his last mission for some father-son bonding time. Cypher agrees, but an asteroid shower forces the crew to crash land their ship on Earth - a planet that has now become next to entirely unfit for human habitation. It is now up to Kitai to deliver himself and his injured father to safety.
Given their last film together (the delightful 'The Pursuit of Happyness'), we were looking forward to Will and Jaden creating movie magic on screen but there's little here. For most of the movie, Will delivers his lines like he's got the giant cutlass he fights with up his backside, making Cypher a character you couldn't care less for.
Even though the accent makes him tough to understand, Jaden is impressive and shines in some scenes like the baboon chase and climatic standoff. The post apocalyptic Earth visuals give you a bit of an 'Avatar' deja vu, but they are breathtaking. Added bonus? The movie's not in 3D and so there'll be no customary migraine that follows after watching a sci-fi film in the theatre.
What to do?
'After Earth' is average fare that neither excites nor entirely disappoints. Make it your weekend's Plan B.
in.com rating: 2.5/5
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