‘After Earth’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated September 3rd, 2014 at 2:42 am,

After Earth Jaden Smith Review After Earth Review

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, After Earth, follows the story of father and son Cypher and Kitai Raige, played by real-life father and son Will and Jaden Smith, respectively. On a routine trip through space, Raige’s transport is damaged, decimating his crew, as well as stranding him and Kitai on Earth – one thousand years after humanity was forced to abandon the planet.

The only other survivor of the crash is a ruthless and unrelenting creature, an Ursa, designed by hostile alien lifeforms to hunt down humans – by smelling fear-induced pheromones. Cypher, a fearless Ranger Corps warrior capable of “ghosting” (allowing him to move undetected by Ursas), is mortally wounded in the crash; as a result, it falls to Kitai to set out into Earth’s wilderness, featuring highly-evolved (and extremely dangerous) animal life, unstable environmental conditions, toxic air – not to mention the freed Ursa – to locate a distress beacon capable of summoning rescue.

Unlike prior Shyamalan films, Columbia Pictures has been subtle about the well-known director’s involvement with After Earth – and for good reason. After a string of underwhelming movies, Shyamalan’s name carries expectations and baggage that could distract from the onscreen After Earth action and drama. For that reason, fans who are hung-up on prior Shyamalan disappointments, and are hoping to see the director return to his Sixth Sense and Unbreakable glory days, will likely be equally disappointed by After Earth. However, that doesn’t mean the film is an outright failure – despite some heavy-handed thematic elements, awkward story beats, and a few stilted performances, After Earth is at times surprisingly engaging with a rich sci-fi setup and several captivating character moments.

After Earth Will Jaden Smith Crash After Earth Review

Will and Jaden Smith in ‘After Earth’

The initial After Earth story was conceived by Smith and developed by Shyamalan along with Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) and the result is a solid (albeit thin) narrative that’s aided by slick future tech and an intriguing peek at humankind’s place in the larger universe. Though, once the Raiges land on Earth, the scale of the movie narrows significantly, focusing on the life-or-death race to make contact with rescue, abandoning some of the more interesting science-fiction in favor of a very thorough examination of Kitai’s fears and personal struggles.

Despite the straightforward coming of age tale, the actual After Earth experience is a hit-or-miss jumble of plot-holes, poorly developed tangents, interesting world-building, forced story events, cool (though brief) action set-pieces, and several on-the-nose emotional beats. For some viewers, the story will check enough boxes to be a worthwhile adventure-drama, but plenty of moviegoers will easily be distracted by the film’s numerous narrative shortcomings.

Despite the inclusion of fan-favorite Will Smith, this is Kitai’s story (and Jaden Smith’s movie), pushing the father-figure out of the action spotlight into a subdued support role – left as little more than an onlooker as his son faces one dangerous situation after another. For that reason, the plot point could be a disappointment to viewers hoping to see Smith take center stage, battling evolved Earth animals and alien creatures. Still, his incapacitation has been an essential aspect of the After Earth story from day one – given that the story has always centered on a reluctant son who must overcome his fears to save his father.

After Earth Jaden Smith Kitai Raige After Earth Review

Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige in ‘After Earth’

Fortunately, Jaden (The Karate Kid) is competent in the role of Kitai – in spite of some awkward voice-over exposition and a few scenes where it’s clear the young actor is still finding his footing. Considering that much of the movie follows Kitai alone in the wilderness, battling CGI creatures, and talking to an off-camera Cypher through a video screen in his suit, Jaden handles the challenges well-enough to ensure that key action scenes are exciting and emotional moments deliver some cathartic payoff.

Smith, on the other hand locks away his whit and charm, dusting off his grim Seven Pounds and I Am Legend demeanor, to play the fearless (and seemingly emotionless) Cypher. The performance is fitting for the film’s subject matter and world but, coupled with his subdued role, the lack of magnetism and trademark one-liners is sure to be a sticking point for fans that were expecting to see a new “Will Smith movie.” Instead, like Jaden, Will has to sell the performance in solo scenes instead of sharing exchanges with another performer – further complicated by the hurdle of being stuck in one place for most of the runtime. Ultimately, a few of Will’s scenes are forced and melodramatic, but overall, the character (and the actor) present worthwhile contributions to the larger After Earth story – elevating what could have been a bland exposition machine or sound board for Kitai into a empathetic and effective addition.

Even though Will handed leading-man duties to younger and nimbler Jaden this round, adrenaline junkies will likely be underwhelmed by the amount of large-scale action in After Earth. There are a number of cool CGI sequences and genuinely tense encounters but most of the Kitai versus nature fights are very brief, relying heavily on one or two slow-motion shots to sell each sequence. Similarly, the camera work in a few of the more high-energy scenes is too frantic to fully appreciate the actual threats that Kitai encounters – especially since, despite Cypher’s numerous warnings, the film never really depicts an interesting example of how the Earth creatures have evolved. Unless by “evolved” Shyamalan just means “bigger” and “angrier.”

After Earth Will Smith Cypher Raige After Earth Review

Will Smith as Cypher Raige in ‘After Earth’

After Earth is not playing in 3D but the film is screening in IMAX theaters. Sadly, there’s very little reason to pay the upcharge this round. Whereas Oblivion made smart use of its post-apocalyptic Earth setting, which was further enhanced by IMAX audio and screen size, the After Earth visuals are much more restrained – with only a few shots that stand to benefit from a premium presentation.

Overall, After Earth is an extremely uneven film that is bogged down by a number of setbacks, but for moviegoers who are intrigued by the initial premise and aren’t expecting a return to form for Shyamalan, it’s not the throwaway disaster that certain viewers might claim. There are some genuinely engaging elements and the larger narrative universe is ripe for exploration – with some really interesting sci-fi ideas that could make for even better adventures down the line. Unfortunately, After Earth is too limited and muted to fully-incorporate the larger world and concepts it presents, resulting in a pretty standard character story that only offers brief moments of excitement as well as father and son drama.

If you’re still on the fence about After Earth, check out the trailer below:

517705175 3 620 439 After Earth Review

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After Earth runs 100 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some disturbing images. Now playing in regular and IMAX theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below. If you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss details about the film without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, please head over to our After Earth Spoilers Discussion.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out our After Earth episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5
(Okay)

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TAGS: After Earth

163 Comments

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  1. 2 out of 5 eh, wasn’t expecting too much from this myself, probably wait for it to come out on TV then.

    • Lmao I’ll wait to it its at the dollar show

    • Lmao I’ll wait to it its at the dollar show

  2. M .Night….. How can the person who made Unbreakable and Signs make so many bad movies in a row???? Wtf! I’ll never forgive him for f**king up Avatar (Last Airbender)

    • I would include Signs in the bad movie category. Unbreakable was great, Sixth Sense was good, but after the first run through it loses a lot of impact. EVERYTHING after those 2 varies from barely watchable to downright horrible. I haven`t seen a Shyamalan film in the theater since Lady in the Water, and I think that trend will continue long into the future.

    • As you wrote, M. Night did a real mess with “Avatar; the Last Airbender”, and that’s where I lost faith in him as a director. The tv series is incredibly rich, worthy of an epic movie experience, and M. Night’s version was one of the biggest dissapointment I have ever seen (the other was “Lawnmowerman 2; into Cyberspace”). I remember that I actually apologized to my friends for convincing them to give this one a chance.

    • I have to say, I am with the very (VERY) few that liked nearly all his work UNTIL The Last Airbender. Yes, really. But what he did to TLAB was unforgivable. Just by the trailers, I thought this movie would be 1.5 out of 5, so I guess I was not that far off. Now, I can’t give M. Night another chance.

  3. I went to see this last night. I went in expecting not much and come out about eh. The movie very much reminds me of Prometheus. Great scenery but lacks in the storyline. Some people will think it’s just an awesome movie and some will think the movie fell flat. To me it was just an average movie but if you do go I strongly recommend seeing it in IMAX

  4. I want to see this just for the backstory, but every review makes it seem like they take this awesome pretense and just forget about it for the earth portion.

  5. I smell Sony on this production……. Let me check……. Yep! Columbia Pictures which is Sony.

    Story and script are the most important factor in making a good movie. So many production companies cut corners in this area. You can hire big name actors but if the script and story are weak?…… I always prefer good unknown actors over popular actors like Will Smith, he’s got way too much baggage for me. Bad comedic role baggage.

    Special FX? Even cheap movies have good special FX these days.

    No mention of the music soundtrack so I assume it was adequate. I’m a stickler for the music since I’m a musician.I always prefer a good orchestral score. But that costs money too, and a lot of producers will cut corners in this area. A lot of current Sci Fi movies have modern synth pop crap.

    • I haven’t heard the score, but it’s composed by James Newton Howard.

      • I heard the score was one of the true highlights.

      • Something called beautiful, which is well, beautiful:

    • Story and script, those are things from the past like books and the paper they were printed on…..

  6. I think the worst part of this movie is that nobody cares about it..it has built up no hype, no enthusiasm, no real “Oh, I want to see this” that summer movies need to survive…this movie probably had a better chance as an October release…it is just not going to do well, i fear….

    • Not gonna do well???? That is putting it mildly.

      This flick is gonna go down as the worst of the year. The biggest flop.

      It doesn’t take a psychic….

      • Worst of the year? Scary Movie V would like to have a word with you.

  7. I’ve read a few reviews now and they all seem to have the same feeling, it’s a shame because this looks really good from the trailer, it seems all involved have lost their mojo, at least we have Unbreakable 2 and Men in Black 4 to look forward to!

  8. Hold on did Will Smith turn down Django Unchained to do this?

    • Yes lol

      • A chance to work with his son, I don’t blame him.

        • His son is a HORRIBLE actor. No. I take that back. To call Jaden Smith an actor is a crime. He is NO actor.

          Will smith and his son are the epitome of celebrity nepotism.

          NEPOTISM !!!!!!

          That kid is nothing but a spoiled brat who has no talent and is only enabled by his dad. The brat feels as if he is “entitled.”

          This flick is the perfect example of this nepotism. Yeah, REALLY good idea to have your kid do all the acting, Will. Look what happened.

          Jaden Smith should be taught a lesson and forced to dig ditches.

          • You took it a little to far. If you had a kid or do and he was like dad will you please do this with me i bet ud say yes. Will is a great guy and father and he loves his son nothing wrong with that

            • For the sake of humanity, GOD NO!

              If anyone has a kid, that’s cool. But don’t lie to your kid and give him the world simply because you can AFFORD to give him the world.

              It’s wrong. In the end, it’s the kid who suffers the most. ( But in this case, the movie going audience suffers the most. Who would have thought Will Smith could be so subversive? And cruel. )

              Put it this way: read the reviews. Watch the flick. My point is that Little Will Smith Jr will NOT be getting any juicy acting roles in the future. Because of this movie. To deny this would be naive.

              Because it IS a big deal. Careers and reputations are on the line. M Night Shyamalan “Will” be seen as a joke from this point on. Will Smith passed up a great role that Jaime Foxx took up! Now, who made the wiser choices?

              Who made the wiser career choices?

              • @Kryptonic couldn’t agree more!! Celebrity kids have been milking off their parents for years!

                The only time that Will Smith has played serious and it worked was in the Fresh Prince when his dad let him down – http://youtu.be/bxulantPiXI

                Everything else has been lame!

                • Thumbs up, Dr Kenneth…

                  Unfortunately, I suffered through “The Day The Earth Stood Still” and have yet to make a full recovery….

                  • @Kryptonic

                    Couldn’t agree more.

                    If Jaden wasn’t in it, I might’ve given it a chance since the only bad M Night movie in my opinion was The Last Airbender.

                    Alas, it’s not to be.

                    I wanted Keanu to bring the full might of Klaatu onto Jaden in TDTESS. I rooted for the bullying Chinese kids in The Karate Kid. I’d have probably cheered on the creatures in this, anything to stop Jaden getting any more film roles.

                    I mean, I’m sure he’s a decent kid but in every movie I’ve seen him in, he comes across as bratty, entitled, full of himself and as one note as that other hack Shia LeBeouf.

                    Jaden and Shia are the only actors who make me decide not to watch something or own the DVD if either of them take a role in the movie.

                    I hope Will’s career can recover from this because I imagine he’d be on the phone trying to organise a search party for Martin Lawrence’s career within the next few months to get Bad Boys 3 put together and make up for After Earth.

                    • Jaden Smith is to acting what Justin Beaver (yes, I meant it) is to music. A spoiled, useless whiny brat without talent.

          • Jaden Smith was terrible in The Day the Earth Stood Still and I recently saw him perform a rap of his on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It was embarassing to watch. I think you are right with the no talent thing…

            I kinda feel bad to talk about him like that, because he seems to be a good kid otherwise, but eventually he might need to realize that movies and music probably aren’t the right path for him, regardless of what his father does.

          • I agree he is a terrible actor. Couldn’t stand him in after the earth stood still. Pretty much same whiny kid in all his roles. Will was also horrible in this one and he’s usually pretty good. Guess all the fame has gotten their heads way too over inflated to rationalize at this point.

      • He probably did it for his son. I’ll be checking it out later today. I’m sorry to read that Ben wasn’t impressed though. I tend to agree with most of this site’s reviews, and I was hoping I’d like this one. Maybe I will, but we’ll see.

  9. Not only do I have zero interest in seeing this movie, (not even on DVD) but the plot line is dead on arrival.

    If the premise is that “fear brings bad alien creatures”, then wanting to be “rescued” and making a mad dash to recover a homing device to summon help is, in and of itself a massive expression of FEAR. If you are not afraid of being on this planet then why are you trying to get rescued, Why? because you are AFRAID. PLOT FAIL.

    LOL. Nice try Will.

    • Your logic here is terribly flawed, but nice try I guess?

      This doesn’t negate the fact that this movie was just “meh” though. Ha.

    • Fear is imaginary, danger is real. Don’t you listen?

  10. This film will be rubbish , there are no positive reviews for this at all from what i have seen. I think Snr smith has made a major faux pas insisting his teenage son carry this film.he is just not up to it. Makes me think all of hollywood was not in to this idea so they had to go for the worst director out there who for some reason still draws the numbers in M. Night. Bad move. This one could kill some careers.

    • Thank you ,sir!

  11. Some critics are calling this the worst Sci-Fi film in years.
    Is that even necessary? Is it really that bad? I still haven’t seen it yet.

    • As far as overall storyline, yes. It’s pretty bad. I get the concept of what they were trying to do but it wasn’t executed well. As far as overall scenery I would say it’s pretty good. I can see it as being the flop movie of 2013. Will Smith was pretty bad in the movie, not acting wise but emotionally wise. It seemed to me like he had no emotion in this movie. It’s too bad too because it could have been a really good movie with the right people. Jaden Smith wasn’t all that bad but again the storyline(writing of script) was just average at best

      • From the trailers, I felt that’s what the director was going for, having Will Smith’s character being emotionless. In fact, if these creatures find you because of fear, then having no emotions would be perfect. Having said that, no way am I spending well earned money on this.

        BTW, glad to be back home. Thanks everyone for your prayers.

  12. The running joke in my city is that we call this “The Pursuit of Happyness 2″

  13. A couple of friends saw this last night and told me what they thought: The worst movie they had seen. Not only of this year, so far, but of the past few years.

    I’ve not seen this film, but I’ve read every available review and the consensus seems to be that this was M Night Shyamalan’s last chance of redemption and that he has failed once and for all.

    Rotten Tomatoes has it at a 13. OUCH!!!

    Mr Kendrick seems to keep the kid gloves on and is too nice in this review.

    Come on, Screen Rant. It’s okay to say a movie sucks when, in fact, it sucks.

    When you have Will Smith HIRE a once fine film director like Shyamalan, that alone says volumes.

    But when you have Jaden Smith carry the majority of the flick, that is the WORST.

    RIP M Night Shyamalan. And hopefully, Jaden Smith, too.

    • I liked Jayden in Karate Kid. Never saw The Day the Earth Stood Still, but in his other stuff he was either too young to get a good read on, or he was limited to cameo roles. Guess I’m just saying that I like him okay as an actor, and I hope his career is far from over. Here’s hoping he continues to grow professionally.

      As for Shyamalan, this probably is it for his credibility, if he had any left.

      • I liked the Karate Kid, but I couldn’t get past the fact that China has such a demand for jobs that it hires out-of-work Americans to come to their country to fill them..lol…

        • You just described Marvel’s partnership with China.

        • the karate kid remake was a mistake from the start. One …karate kid?…ummm they do kung-fu. second, jaden smith is unable to carry any film. the one good point in it was jacky chan who was perfect as the old master.

    • The movie is a Scientology movie. Very few directors are in the cult of Scientology, not any good ones at least

      • @Kryptonic

        Again, agreed.

        Jaden Smith is NOT an actor, lets just leave it there for everyone to see.

        As far as Ben’s review, the people here at Screen Rant are way too nice and professional to go for the jugular, even if they really want to. Plus if Will or Jaden find out somehow and get mad then there goes the chance for a Screen Rant exclusive or on set interview in future.

      • This movie is to Will Smith what Battlefield Earth was to John Travolta

    • Kryptonic –

      You’ve obviously got strong feelings about the film – even if you didn’t see it. But no one here has kid gloves on. I gave it a 2/5, which is hardly a flattering review. That said, as stated in the post, I think some viewers are exaggerating how bad the film is overall – jumping on M. Night or The Smith family personally (i.e. the amount of your comments focused on the Smiths, scientology, etc. not the actual events/ideas in the film). Objectively, the film is just okay at best – but some people will find enough reason to enjoy it. RT score is obviously going to be low – because it’s a thumbs up/thumbs down system. It’s not surprising that only 13% of viewers would give the film a thumbs up. But that doesn’t mean the entire other 87% thinks the film is a total disaster.

      As important as it is to say what’s wrong with a film in a review, it’s also important to identify who might like the film. Several commenters here who did see the film, found a few things to enjoy – so it wasn’t a total failure. We aim for that objective balance and, while the film is difficult to recommend to a lot of people, there are people that will respond to certain elements.

      That said, if your friends think this is one of the worst movies of the past couple years, they haven’t seen some of the movies that I’ve had to watch reviewing for the site ;) They are entitled to their opinions of course.

      • @Ben

        That last part reminds me of a Mark Kermode review show when he said that people email his blog and say “that was the worst movie I’ve ever seen” and he responds with “actually, come to my house, I’ll show you 15 movies that can truly be called the worst of all time”.

        I think that’s the hard part about M Night movies in particular though because as I’ve said, the only one he’s made that I’ve hated was The Last Airbender but everyone else dismisses him without actually viewing the work.

        Even on articles and trailers, we see perceptions from people commenting and that’s always difficult to overcome.

        • The Village was absolutely terrible. Quite possibly not only Shamalanadingdong’s worse film, but one of THE worst films of all time.

          That is the last time I have watched a movie directed by M.Night.

      • @ Ben Kendrick

        I’m sure you’ve been keeping up with the Box Office for “After Earth.” AKA ‘The Vanity Project.’

        Word of mouth is the true voice of any film (or any work of art, for that matter)

        You claim that this flick will not enter the hallowed halls of such master works such as “Battlefield Earth” and “Gigli.”

        I respectfully disagree with your assessment and will go as far to say that you are wrong.

        “After Earth” WILL most certainly join that elite group of “rotten tomatoes.”

        After reading up on this flick, both before and after its release and after talking to many people about it, I can actually say I am THRILLED to see how bad this movie is for myself. It’s not often that we get a film experience that is so bad that is GOOD!

        I’m laughing already and can’t wait to enjoy this work of art.

        See ya at the multiplex!! Popcorn is on me!

  14. Dirt bag and his wife made a movie making Angela Davis look good. Angela Davis tried to blow up a dance for solders and their wives.

    Is Hollywood so poisonous to the human soul that those there lose their moral compass?

    I will never give him my money again. I will read a book instead.

    • Commies blowing up fascists? Sounds good to me… as long as the commies are sacrificing themselves in the process. :D

      • “Commies blowing up fascists…”

        Hey! That sounds like a great movie idea. Hopefully we can get M Night to direct. God knows he’s gonna NEED that paycheck.

        But who should be cast as the young hero and damsel? Must call Will and Jada Smith for some input. Maybe THEY have some ideas as to casting….

  15. Jaden was really miscast, they should have casted Bear Grills as Will Smith son, that movie i would love…

    • Bear Grylls is a master thespian compared to Jaden Smith.

  16. Is it worse than Battlefield Earth?

    • This flick will be tossed into the Battlefield Earth, Water World, Gigli, Catwoman BIN.

      • Kryptonic, did Will Smith not give you an autograph as a child or something? Did you go to school with Jaden Smith and he stole your crayons? I mean, I agree with you, After Earth looks terrible but you seem to have this personal vendetta against this film and the Smiths themselves. Honestly, are you going to be alright? I feel like I’m watching the slow deterioration of a commenter as he descends into Smith-induced madness.

        • Thanks for the concern. No, it’s nothing personal. Well, maybe a little ; when it comes to the arrogance of the Will Smith family / entertainment wrecking crew.

          I will be bold enough to call it out; It IS Nepotism. And I know that I am not alone in this regard. Read through the comments on this thread and you will see.

          Will Smith is a tremendous talent. But what is going on with him lately? For him to pass up the opportunity to star in a very well scripted film by Quentin Tarantino only to pursue this disaster to push his son on us? What did the movie going audience do to deserve such cruelty?

          Jaden Smith CANNOT act. He is a pompous, little jerk. He is annoying. His lack of acting ability is discomforting. Why is he in ANY major film production??? Hmmmmmmmm, why would that be? Could it be because his father happens to be Will Smith and his mother is Jada Pinkett Smith? Yeah. It is. Because if that wasn’t the case, Jaden would be in a completely different world.

          They have even gone to the point of pushing Willow Smith on us. Come on, man! What more evidence does anyone need? COULD there have been a child actress that was perhaps a bit more accomplished for that part in “I Am Legend?”

          What irks me the most is that this whole “After Earth” project was designed by Will Smith from the VERY BEGINNING to be a Vanity Project. The key word being “vanity.”

          Will felt it would be a great project for him AND his son. That’s why he developed the story. Put money into it. HIRED M Night. But that should not be the way any producer, actor or story teller should approach a film. A movie is a collective process. And in the end, that film should be designed to satisfy the Audience. Not the egos of the cast members.

          So, look what happened. It misfired. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith actually believe that because they believe they are gifted actors, then obviously their offspring are equally anointed. For them to think that carries a LOT of nerve. How presumptuous is that?

          This is all a very touchy subject. Maybe that’s why I feel the need to be a bit vocal about it. Because I KNOW I’m not the only cinephile , or pop culture critic, who feels this way. This HAS been brought up before, here and there. But it’s a touchy subject, this nepotism. This arrogance. People try to dance around it and try not to be offensive. Maybe it’s because some are concerned with back lash.

          Maybe it’s a racial thing. Yeah, I just went there. But I have nothing to gain or lose because the bottom line is that Jaden Smith would not be acting in movies if his dad wasn’t Will Smith. No matter what color he is.

          All I have to ask is this? At this moment, who’s stock is rising and who’s stock is sinking?

          Will and Jaden Smith compared to Jaime Foxx?

          As for M. Night Shyamalan, sadly, the writing is on the wall….

    • Both are Scientoloist movie

      • I meant Scientologist

    • Having seen the film, I can safely say it is not anywhere near as bad as Battlefield Earth (nor Catwoman, Gigli, etc as was also suggested).

    • I would say as far as overall story, yes. It’s worse. At least Battlefield Earth had somewhat of a storyline with okay emotional acting.

  17. I have to disagree with much of this review. I thought that this film was bogged down by Jaden Smith’s performance which I will get to. The setup was predictable once you knew that this was Will Smith’s character’s last job before he retires to working behind a desk. Furthermore, the reveal that the aliens only affect people based on whether or not they have fear is a horrendous plot device (reminds me of the “bad color” in The Village). Also, the continual bombardment of flashbacks to Jaden’s fear inducing moment really ruins the flow of the film. The CGI was beyond pathetic and it the animations come off more like a Syfy film’s animation than a big budget production. The main problem with this film though was essentially handing it off to Jaden Smith. He is not the worst actor in the world but he is definitely not good. The film forces him to carry the film for the entire second half and he pulls us through it as though we are being pulled through drying cement. He just does not have the chops yet to pull off a role that requires him to carry a film (on the other hand his dad does). This film, along with Now You See Me, is a candidate to hold the “worst of 2013″ award as this film is way too predictable, poorly filmed, even more poorly scripted, poorly animated, mediocrely acted, and horrendously directed.

  18. I’m sorry but this movie wasn’t even that bad. People just gave this movie a bad review just because of his other “supposedly” bad films. I bet if it was a superhero flick by Marvel, you’d give it 4 or 5 stars. This site is cool and everything but when it comes to the reviews on here, I know there’s going to be some biased opinions and some bulls**

    • Or a Christopher Nolan turd…

    • “People just gave this movie a bad review just because of his other “supposedly” bad films.”

      Really? Because I’ve read plenty of other reasons as to why this film isn’t so great…hmmmm…oh well if you say it’s just because of Night’s other bad films I guess you’re correct.

    • War Clown, pardon me if I call you by your real name, M. Night. Considering how much your film has been trashed by other critics I think Screen Rant did a pretty good job actually trying to find some good in this mess. I realize you’re probably still trying to recapture the love and adoration you got with your first two movies but the fact is you’re washed up now, M. Night. Your career as a Hollywood superstar is over and you just need to accept that. You can direct a television pilot or go small scale for your next film so you can rebuild some of your reputation but you’ll never be the “big-budget auteur” you thought you’d become a decade ago. I’m sorry I had to be the one to break this to you. Honestly, you should have known this after the whole Lady in the Water fiasco.

      • This comment makes me REALLY wish that Screen Rant had a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down option.

        THUMBS UP!

  19. Yep. This movie is very unbalanced. There are awesome moments, but the movie fails to carry on. It could really be a good and engaging story with gripping emotional family drama, but it falls flat in the end.

    If there will ever be another opportunity for Shyamalan to make a movie, I wish he would make a small-scale movie instead of a movie this big. He simply tends to overlook the details that make an epic story great. A small, character-driven story will fit him better.

    I do think that Jaden deserves another chance for acting, though. He has the potential.

    • Didn’t M Night conceive/write Devil or a big chunk of it?

      That movie worked, he should make more like it.

  20. “The initial After Earth story was conceived by Smith…” ~ Ben

    …and, there is some of the problem. Even though Shyamalan has had his hits and misses, Will Smith and family have become annoyances. I use to love Will’s movies. iRobot, I am Legend, and Independence Day were great films. However, over the course of time, Will’s attitude and politicking have tainted his movie career. People are becoming annoyed with him and his family.

    • Will’s appearances, activism, and attitude on Oprah didn’t help his career.

      • Being British, I never heard about these things. Care to enlighten me please?

  21. OUCH!

    I actually feel a little sorry for MKS.

    It does sthink of nepotism though. Maybe I’ll catch it on netflix.

    • Oops. I meant MNS, oh, you know what I meant. (^-^)

  22. I think Will Smith knew it was a dud. Hence appearing on British TV rehashing his Fresh Prince character, a character that his core audience grew out of when they embraced puberty 15 years ago. It was to remind the audience why we had fallen in “love” with him in the first place and to think, “Yeah! I’ll go see his movie now!”.

    As for M. Night, I didn’t even rate ‘The Sixth Sense’ but I enjoyed ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘The Village’ (twist should’ve been at the start there). I would suggest his career trajectory is tragic, but frankly, ego has played a big part in this. Every scene in ‘The Happening’ is blatantly a first take cut. You’d have to believe yourself imperious to yell cut and believing it to be movie material.

  23. People are saying its as bad as Battlefield Earth?! That’s really bad. That’s so bad that I’m actually going to see it just for confirmation. The overwhlmingly negative reviews actually peaked my interest if that makes any sense.

    • Kinda like a gory traffic accident.

      • Says the guy who hasn’t even seen the film ;)

        • But I’ve seen many gory traffic accidents….

          Look, have you read the comments on this thread? Don’t get too upset if peeps on here are reacting so negatively to this flick. I am not the only one. Am I? Nope.

          Since my original post, I have talked to numerous people and they have all declared the same disgust. I have kept up with comments from a “Variety” of other film sites. (See what I did there?)

          I’m off on Fridays and I must say, I’m having a HOOT with this movie. Sometimes, when things move fast on a certain subject, when they trend compulsively, you know that something is foul or not.

          This is becoming THE story this weekend, in regard to entertainment. I am going to see this movie tonight so I can be a part of this story. To be a part of the atrocity and to have a GOOD LAUGH. It’s one of those experiences when years down the road you can say “yeah, I SAW that in the theater when it came out!”

          I have one final thing to say to you. Earlier, you said this, and I quote: ” …they haven’t seen some of the movies that I’ve had to watch reviewing for the site They are entitled to their opinions of course. ”

          Oh, REALLY, Mister Kendrick? ARE my friends entitled to have THEIR opinions? Am I? Do WE have YOUR permission to have our own opinions?
          Well, thank you sooooooooooooooo much for granting us that permission! But are we as “entitled” as you?

          The way you come across, you make it appear as if YOU are the one who is truly “entitled.” BS!

          Your opinion is just as valid ( or invalid ) as my friend’s opinions. Just as much as MY opinion. Just as much as all those who have commented on this thread. You come off with this attitude that YOU see MORE movies than others. Whether that is true or not makes NO difference. As if YOU know how many flicks you see as opposed to my friends? Or myself.

          You know nothing about my friends or myself. You don’t know if we see more cinema than YOU ? Do you? You don’t know what my field of study was in college. You don’t know what I teach. You don’t know whether I prefer blondes or brunettes.

          You are assuming too much, Mr Kendrick. And you know what happens to those who “assume” too much.

          And, yes. You’re “soft” in your reviews. That’s because you work for Screen Rant and have the boss looking over your shoulder. You have to make sure you don’t offend. You have a “policy” that ultimately filters down to the way your points come across.

          Now, if I may be so ‘entitled’ I’m gonna get ready to see After Earth: The Vanity Expedition.

          • Kryptonic: I often like reading your analysis of movies; but wow, you’ve made 17 of the 92 posts (almost 20%) before having seen this particular movie, and you’re arguing on “entitled” as a singular sentence.

            It will be nice to read your opinion of the film when you’ve actually viewed it.

  24. Everything I need to know about whether or not to see this film is in this review.
    And I know I don’t. Reviewers have been piling on and many with an ax to grind.
    You kept things balanced, Ben, remaining detached as the best writers will do.

    • Cheers Rob.

      I think a lot of people are going to quickly jump on the hate-train for this film, given the names involved (and as evidenced by the amount of comments here related to Smith, scientology, and Shyamalan). But, looking at the movie itself, I stand by what’s in the review. I don’t think it’s as bad as certain viewers are going to make it sound – but it’s definitely not easy to recommend either.

  25. Ew an M.Night movie I think Ill pass

  26. Director M. Night Shyamalan is the Indian version of Germany’s Uwe Boll. Both are currently the worst directors in the world, but movie studios keep giving them money to make crappy movies! When will the madness end?!

    • It’ll end when we stop seeing Jaden Smith, Shia LeBeouf, Adam Sandler and Eli Roth getting work in Hollywood and when Quentin Tarantino actually lives up to his early promise and makes a movie that has us all saying “Wow, where has this guy been since Jackie Brown?”.

  27. Will Smith is good singer and actor. Its an shame movie is just made to push his kid into action. No thank you, I am sick of Jaden Smith. He was in new Karate Kid as well it should have been called Kung Fu kid since Charlie Chan knows Kung Fu.

  28. I have to say that I find the title “After Earth” to distractingly remind me of Titan A.E. which is not really a good association to make (at least in my mind).

    The whole “post apocalyptic/abandoned/contaminated Earth” theme is on one hand very relevant, but on the other hand just doesn’t have much appeal to me as a viewer. I almost went to see Oblivion because it looked cool, but this one doesn’t really have any hook that draws me in.

    • I liked “Titan A.E.”, but that’s just me.

      • I liked “Titan A.E.” too. So don’t feel completely left out :). Joss Whedon is amongst the people that did the screeplay for this, and it’s got Don Bluth in the director’s chair, same guy who brought us “The secret of Nimh”, a true classic in animation IMO.

  29. Not going to see this, was skeptical at first because of Jaiden and Shyamalan but after reading the review I’m nit gonna waste my time. And another thing, I getbits sci-fi but evolution takes billions upon billions upon billions of years for creatures to drasticalt change yet in here it only took 1,000 years for all the animals and what-not to evolve into what they are. And do they ever explain whyy they had to leave Earth? I’m assuming no, definitely not on my To-See list

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