Wednesday, March 19, 2014

After Earth - DVD Review

Starring Jaden Smith and Will Smith.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.


M. Night Shyamalan has had a baffling career. If we pretend The Sixth Sense was his debut, then every movie he's made has been a little bit worse than the one before, until we get to the twin terribles of The Happening and The Last Airbender. While The Happening was silly, and The Last Airbender derivative, After Earth is just dull.  There's no sense of wonder involved. It feels more like Obstacle #3 before you can meet Lord Xenu.

Will & Jaden Smith play father and son Cypher and Kitai Rage, the former being a world-famous ranger, the younger living in his shadow. They are sent on a mission to Earth, a planet humans abandoned 1000 years ago. Their ship crashes, and Cypher's legs are broken, so Kitai must travel from point A to point B to retrieve a beacon so they can be rescued.

Some animals have evolved over those thousand years. They're more predatory. Most of the movie is Jaden Smith running through the jungle avoiding such animals. It made me think of the superior jungle scenes in Avatar or Apocalypto, movies made by much better directors than Shyamalan.

The film's central theme is about overcoming fear. Danger is real but fear is a choice. It leads to a fairly anticlimactic conclusion.

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