After Earth

7 Jun

After EarthI’ve always used IMDB as a basis of my decision to watch a film with a cutoff point around the 6/10 point. “After Earth” was flagging at a meager 4.5 which was odd since the trailers did look promising. So going along with my gut feeling with minimal expectations I decided to watch it. Boy was I surprised. The amount of flak this film has been getting seems out of place and uncalled for. This isn’t a summer blockbuster with large set pieces and outlandish *blow everything up* action scenes. It falls more into a sci-fi survival drama with a morality tale and does a decent job.

The story revolved around Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) as they try to escape from Earth; a Class-1 quarantined planet that they’ve crashed on. Humanity had abandoned Earth in search of a new home and found Nova Prime to be perfect to settle on. A thousand years later they get attacked by alien creatures called S’krell who unleash large predatory creatures called the Ursas that hunt by sensing fear. By conquering fear, Cypher leads the Ranger Corps to victory, but loses his daughter Senshi (Zoe Kravitz) to the war. With scarred pasts, the father-son pair try to overcome their own guilt and shortcomings to survive the hostile environment that Earth has evolved into while avoiding contact with an Ursa.

Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige and Will Smith as Cypher Raige

Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige and Will Smith as Cypher Raige

From the conversations around us in the theatre, the story had managed to leave quite a few people confused. This was solely due to the hurried back story that failed to explain anything in-depth. Based on a story idea by Will Smith and directed by M. Night Shyamalan with screenplay by Gary Whitta; the film is riddled with plot holes and sub-par computer generated graphics. Some of the story plots were so illogical and brash that it felt like you were watching a bad horror film.

Jaden Smith & Zoe Kravitz as Senshi

Jaden Smith & Zoe Kravitz as Senshi

The story does have positives, but they aren’t enough to keep you on the edge of the seat throughout as it suffers from uneven pace, lack of character development and poor screenplay. After the debacle that was “The Last Airbender”, this fairs better in the list of films Shyamalan has given us over the past decade but falls short of expectations you’d have from a Will Smith film. It’s entertaining no doubt about it, but the potential to make this a better film was clearly lost in an effort to dilute the whole experience into a Jaden Smith extravaganza. That would have even worked if Jaden was up to the mark, but his inexperience as an actor shows up too often. He emotes well though is limited in his range and one feels this role wasn’t really suited for him. Will Smith on the other hand did exactly what the role required him to do as he delivers dialogue in a monotone voice bereft of any emotions. Irrespective of that with the limitation of the character itself, this might go down as one of his weaker performances.

With so much resting on young shoulders, “After Earth” stumbles along as an average film that could have been so much more.

6/10

Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith

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