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After Earth Review

by Philip FerreiraJune 8, 2013
After Earth is a 2013 American science fiction adventure drama film directed by M. Night Shyamalan that he co-wrote with Gary Whitta based on an original story idea by Will Smith, about a military father … Wikipedia
Running time: 100 minutes

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ell I have to say that this is one of those films I’ve been dying to see for at least 2 months.  I am a huge fan of Will Smith and his son Jaden (Karate Kid was sooo good.)  Unfortunately, there were too many problems with the movie.  I hate to say it, but I was mad that I spent my money on it.  It isn’t that this movie is  bad, rather it is one of those movies you wait to catch on HBO, or if you can’t wait – rent from Redbox.

To start with Will Smith’s character is just too unbelievable.  He’s like a mortal version of superman and that’s cool, I think there is room for African American bionic men (there are certainly enough bionic mortal supermen characters without color).  It’s just that we didn’t know enough of his character to really care about him, and that was the mistake.  We needed more background, we needed a reason to draw our own conclusion that he was amazing and it had to be more than the one seen of him ghosting that we saw in the trailer.

The trailer is the BIGGEST thing that made this movie “Waah waaah”.  It tells you the whole story.  Every single good scene in the movie that would have made me walk away with a smile on my face was in the trailer.  I expected to pay money and see more amazing things, instead I was just connected to the 5 amazing things that I’ve already seen in the trailer.

So aside from poor character development on Will Smith’s character, and all the best parts of the movie being spoiled by the trailer… we have Jaden’s performance.  Which was good, but it didn’t really have any soul.  It felt a lot like someone going through the motions (well) but I didn’t feel any real reason to like his character for 95% of the movie and I think that was a mistake.  Sure he was a kid going through some trouble, but he also seemed to be a kid bereft of personality and lacking in any real character.  His single driving motive seemed to be to get out of his father’s enormous (unearned in the movie) shadow.  Jaden’s character needed to be more complex.

It was not I believe a fault of his acting, rather something lacking in the script and character development as a whole.  This was a huge formula film that wasn’t done well enough.  M. Night Shyamalan should  be ashamed of himself.  I said it.  Ashamed.  He could have had a better vision on this one. (Unless of course he was micro managed by the purse string holders, but then he should have quit and told them where to stick it, because his name is hanging on this one, and so is his reputation and it’s not impressive). What sucks for me is I’m a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s work too.  I’ll tell you what though (and after reading this any of these people will likely say one or several combinations of things such as “Who the F(*UY is this guy anyway”, “I still made more money than he’s made in his life doing this 2 hour film”, “Go f(**@ yourself fat boy”, “What a douche bag”) but seriously… if you sit down and take a look at the film I can’t believe you will not agree.  It’s just not great, and that is the first time in 20 years I’ve seen anything from Will Smith and kin that wasn’t great.  So two things.  1) It’s OK, you earned this one, and I’m still a big fan.  2) The fact that you have killed it for the last 20 years and now I’m complaining if your fault Will Smith… because damn… if you had just sucked a few other times I wouldn’t have had unfair expectations of this movie… so… you know… keep doing you… but next time you have a film and you think it is done, hit big Phil up for a consult (free my dude, ask anyone that knows me, even my son, I do not sign off on stuff that isn’t good). LOL!

So I give it 1 – 2 stars out of 5.  It’s worth watching on television, they have a lot of neat visualizations and future-ish technology that was cool.  I’d even say it was worth renting on Redbox.

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