After Earth (2013)

After Earth Poster.jpgBattlefield After Earth

A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, a millennium after events forced humanity's escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help.

Once upon a time, there was a director named M Night Shyamalan. He was hot property, touted as the next Spielberg, with each new film having high anticipation next to it. But then came the downfall, with each release garnering more and more criticisms, until he hit rock-bottom with the cinematic atrocity that was The Last Airbender. 4 years after that much-hated film, comes M Nights latest, but it doesn't show the promise the director once had early on in his career.

Will Smith is known for usually being a solid actor, but here, he manages to fare poorly. The character is said to be without fear, but Smith's performance lacks all of the other emotions, coming off as machine-like and bored, especially in the line delivery from his odd accent.

But Will's robotic performance is more preferable to Jaden Smiths, who comes off as the typical teenager that Hollywood likes to portray, which is moody and unlikable. But sadly, Will get sidelined in order for Jaden to take center stage, leaving us with his poor performance and single facial expression for the majority of the 100 minute runtime.

"No, I won't recite the Fresh Prince theme"
For a film which relies on the effects to tell some of the story, it's a shame that they look like more work could have been put into them. The ideas are interesting, but the way M Night executes it is unexciting and hindered by the predictable plotting, and the feeling that these ideas have been used in better films.

The backstory is handled poorly, with a side effect of painkillers added merely to provide an excuse for obligatory flashbacks, and much of the dialogue delivered for an infodump exposition. The rest of the dialogue doesn't fare much better, never managing to raise above being generic.

After Earth feels like it only exists as a vehicle for Will to get his sons acting career off the ground. It wouldn't matter as much if the writing, effects, performances and direction were handled well enough to distract the audience, but sadly, it doesn't.