Review: AFTER EARTH (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Review: AFTER EARTH (2013)

I shall kneel down till the volcano erupts...
Flat and uninspired, AFTER EARTH is a big-budget misfire that marked another cinematic embarrassment by M. Night Shyamalan as well as wasted the particular talent of Will Smith.

Three years after the critical failure of THE LAST AIRBENDER (2010), writer-director M. Night Shyamalan tries to revive his flagging career yet again (yup, he also previously lost his sense of direction in 2006's LADY IN THE WATER and 2008's THE HAPPENING) in the big-budget Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster AFTER EARTH. On paper, this movie sounds like a potential big comeback for M. Night Shyamalan especially it features the combined star power of Will Smith and his son Jaden. You might be asking: what could go wrong? Unfortunately, under the hand of M. Night Shyamalan, he has succeeded on turning the normally-charismatic Will Smith into an unappealing leading man and botches (almost) everything in this tiresome post-apocalyptic adventure.


Set in more than 1000 years after the Earth was ravaged by natural disasters, the remaining mankind has now settled at a new home planet called Nova Prime. General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) has just completed his mission for fighting against the aliens called the Ursa, and he is now finally home to reunite with his estranged 13-year-old son Kitai (Jaden Smith). But their reunion is short-lived when an asteroid storm damages their ship and forced to crash-land on Earth. All the crews aboard the ship are dead, except for Cypher and Kitai. However, Cypher is badly injured and the only way for Kitai to save his father's life is to track down the rescue beacon that was lost nearly 100 kilometers away from their ship wreckage. Armed with backpack and a weapon given by his father, Kitai must journey across the wilderness filled with unexpected danger in order to retrieve the rescue beacon at all cost.

Amy Westcott's costume designs, particularly on Kitai's camouflage suit, is creatively done. Meanwhile, Kitai's weapon, a multifunctional staff capable to retract all kind of sharp instruments, is really cool to look at.

Sadly, there are none of them.

Will Smith's dead-serious performance is disappointingly stiff. It's even sad to see him spending most of the movie trapped alone in a ship wreckage with two broken legs while monitoring at the screen and giving orders to Kitai. As Kitai, Jaden Smith's acting ability is clearly limited. Other than displaying either confused or frustrated expression, he is mostly lack of personality. M. Night Shyamalan and Gary Whitta's script is cold and ineffectual, while it's kind of off-putting to see the actors are asked to speak their lines in a mid-Atlantic accent. If that's not insulting enough, Shyamalan's plodding direction is simply a test of patience and the pace is almost slow to a crawl. As a so-called post-apocalyptic adventure, there is little sense of thrill or suspense throughout the movie. Action is too minimal (not to mention, uninspiring) and most of the CG effects are average-looking.


Boy, you better wipe that smirk off your face or I'm going to whup your ass.

AFTER EARTH is clearly one of the worst sci-fi movies of the year, and what's even sadder is M. Night Shyamalan has hardly learn a thing or two in his past mistakes.

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