FILM REVIEW: AFTER EARTH (12A)

The best thing I can say about this sci-fi actioner is it isn’t as bad as the critics were saying.


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That’s if you can get round the extremely wooden acting and clichéd scripting.

See, the problem is Will Smith’s strictly stoic, super soldier father Cipher Raige is completely charisma-free – which is weird for such a usually colourful actor – leading to immediate likeability problems which doesn’t help his son Jaden (who actually plays his cadet son Kitai).

In fact Jaden – after his impressive turn in The Karate Kid remake – will have to work hard to prove he’ll make it as a good actor after this stale effort.

The sad thing is with The Sixth Sense director M Night Shyamalan – who is in a serious career decline of his own after such early promise – helming, the two Smiths, and a seemingly exciting sci-fi premise, it’s surprising this offered very little ingenuity whatsoever.

With General Cipher – part due to his intergalactic exploits, part due to the death of his daughter – struggling to connect with Kitai, he takes him on a bonding mission across the galaxy, only for their shuttle to crashland on Earth after it is hit by an asteroid.

The only problem is humans have long since left the now uninhabitable planet – with spiking temperatures and evolved creatures making it an inhospitable landscape – and Cipher and Kitai are the only two survivors.

To make things worse, Cipher’s got two broken legs, and the emergency beacon to alert the human’s new homeworld to their whereabouts is about 100km away.

And to top it all off, a creature they were transporting – a Rancor-monster looking alien called an Ursa – has also escaped.


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Cue the expected father and son emotional attachment, as Cipher has to guide his son through the treacherous wilderness to find their only hope for survival.

But it’s sadly done in such a generic – albeit still engaging-enough – way, that the journey doesn’t really bring an exciting destination.

Which after the initially decent-looking trailer is a big let-down – hence why it’s going to be the first big-budget summer blockbuster failure.

Shyamalan does pretty well in providing the movie with some luscious scenery and backdrops, but fails to do anything close to remarkable to save it from mediocrity and the film simply never takes off.

Will Smith may be the only one to come out of this relatively unscathed (despite it being a possible nod to his alleged-Scientology beliefs), but After Earth looks like ending up in movie oblivion – with Tom Cruise’s Oblivion.

Cast: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Zoe Isabella Kravitz, Sophie Okonedo, David Denman

Running Time: 1hr 40mins

Director: M Night Shyamalan

Gavin Miller [youtube id=”e2qdvELqskc” width=”600″ height=”350″]