This is not going to be a rant about M. Night Shyamalan. I don’t blame him solely, for the failure that is After Earth. Just like actors choose wrong films, it seems that in this case it was the director that just got involved in a film that was too focused on shining the light on one of the premier film families of Hollywood.
A film that is written by Will Smith, produced by him and his family members, and stars his son Jaden Smith along with himself can’t just be blamed on the director for not living up to standards. The basic story, at its very core, seems to be the biggest problem. It lacks any sincere emotions even though the film is about discovering a father-son bond amidst a journey from point A to point B.
The film takes place on Earth, a quarantined planet, where the spaceship carrying our father and son duo crash lands killing everyone except for them. What follows is a task for the son to prove to his father that he is not a “coward” as he must travel alone across the terrain to reach a homing beacon, 100 kilometres away that would save them.
There is nothing wrong with the special effects, but the story and the dialogue is just so boring that half way through the film I had yawned more than I had ever in any other film. Everything is highly predictable and the film as a result drags beyond comparison resulting in a snooze-fest for the audience, which isn’t surprising since the lead character spends most of his time either resting, sleeping, or passed out.
After Earth tries to pack in a number of genres into its short, yet what seems like very long, running time. We have a father-son drama at heart, a coming of age film, a monster movie, and a sci-fi action film, but nothing really has any impact whatsoever. Everything is approached at half-heartedly. There is no doubt that the film is more of a vehicle for the Smith family to showcase the “talent” of their son, Jaden Smith, but he too unfortunately doesn’t live up to the task. After Earth could have been a great way to explore his dramatic as well as action skills (even though we got a hint of that in the Karate Kid remake), but once again the film is just too dreary and slow to really keep the audience interested enough to notice anything.
A grand opportunity wasted, After Earth makes for a tedious first watch and an extremely forgettable film.