After Earth (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/06/2013

One out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Unforgivably dull, disappointing Sci-Fi thriller that fails thanks to a tedious script, poor performances, some dodgy CGI effects and repetitive, badly directed action sequences.

What's it all about?
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, but conceived and produced by Will Smith (who also wrote the initial story), After Earth is set 1000 years after the human race have left a ravaged Earth and settled on Nova Prime after successfully defeating an alien race of vicious creatures. Jaden Smith stars as Kitai Raige, a trainee Ranger who is struggling to live up to the legacy of his emotionally distant father, the legendary general Cypher Raige (Will Smith).

However, when their spaceship crash-lands on a now deserted post-human Earth, Kitai has to make a dangerous trek across hostile jungle terrain in order to retrieve a beacon device and signal for help. With Cypher lying injured in the spaceship and able to communicate only via a com-link, Kitai has to fend for himself, against both evolved Earth creatures and a vicious Nova Prime alien that escaped from their spaceship during the crash.

The Bad
Unfortunately, Jaden Smith appears to have lost both the charisma and acting ability he displayed in the 2010 Karate Kid remake; his line deliveries are stilted and unconvincing and he often ends up just standing there with a blank-faced expression, giving the audience ample time to marvel at just how much he looks like his movie star dad, but also incurring less favourable comparisons into the bargain. Perhaps wary of overshadowing his son, Will Smith opts to abandon his usually likeable screen persona in favour of an emotionally cold performance devoid of both humour and warmth, though it scarcely matters as his character spends almost the whole movie sat in the spaceship with two broken legs anyway.

The story is unforgivably dull, despite an unintentionally hilarious moment where Kitai slips in a reference to the script's key influence (‘I'm reading Moby Dick...’). The set-up is rich with possibilities – Smith and the writers have clearly put some thought into the backstory – but instead of, say, exploring the new Earth, the film chooses to expend almost the entire running time on an extended chase through the jungle, laced with some father-son bonding angst and some cheesy platitudes about overcoming fear.

The Worse
In addition, the action sequences are both repetitive and poorly staged, while director M. Night Shyamalan brings nothing to the table except his name, at least in terms of the project having anything in common with his other films (in other words, don't go expecting one of his trademarked twist endings). The film is further let down by the addition of some very dodgy CGI, particularly in the Earth creatures, which are jerkily animated and feel like they've been hastily added in post-production just to liven things up a bit.

Worth seeing?
After Earth is shockingly bad on almost every level thanks to a lazily written, poorly conceived script, poor performances and lacklustre direction. One to avoid.

Film Trailer

After Earth (12A)
After Earth has been reviewed by 1 users
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03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

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04 Chappie (tbc)

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05 A Most Violent Year (15)

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Content updated: 22/10/2017 01:42

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