After Earth is a 2013 science fiction drama starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. The film is both written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan based on a story by Will Smith.
The film is based in the future where humanity have fled planet Earth to live on Nova Prime having experienced environmental disasters.
On Nova Prime a species known as Ursa’s are a constant threat to human, more so based on their ability to detect humans through the scent of their themeramones created when they are scared, in effect they can smell fear. Having battled the Ursa’s for a long time an heroic leader has emerged in the form of General Raige (Will Smith) who has such little fear, he is invisible to the Ursa’s.
His son, Kitai, desperate to follow in his footsteps is attempting to join the Rangers to being his military career, however struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and even more so his own opinion of them.
When the two are part of a flight carrying an Ursa on a journey, and forced to crash land on the abandoned planet Earth, a situation unfolds that leaves Kitai as the only hope for himself and his father’s survival.
Whilst being an interesting idea, this film really struggles to draw you in. There’s nothing terribly wrong with it, but it feels so formulaic and predictable that its a bit of a chore to get through.
Somehow this film manages to take Will Smith, a hugely charismatic actor and rid him of it all. And yet, even with that counter-intuitively, his son when set against him, is shown to be lacking the charm and likability that made his father the star that he is.
This film is clearly born out of an idea that Will Smith about acting with his son. Shyamalan has been drawn into it and it’s hard now to know exactly who comes out of this worse.
That’s what I thought – what about you? Have you seen it? Comment below and share your thoughts…