Set 1000 years in the future, After Earth tells the story of a crash landing which leaves teenager Kitai and his father, Cypher, stranded on Earth. Earth is not the way we once knew, with cataclysmic events forcing humanity to abandon the planet and everything that remains evolving to kill. While Cypher is a highly decorated warrior, he is left severely hurt in the crash, forcing Kitai to embark on a perilous journey to signal for help. After Earth is the latest film from M. Night Shyamalan and given the incredibly negative critical response, I was expecting a bad film. Film critics are incredibly fickle creatures who seem to form biases towards certain filmmakers and After Earth is a great example of this. After Earth is not a great film, but it's a fun sci-fi adventure that consists of some well thought out father-son character dynamics. Cypher is a well drawn out character, a stern and highly skilled soldier whose done many great things for humanity, even with it leading to a growing distance between him and his son. Kitai on the other hand wants nothing more than to prove his strength to his father, and the film does a nice job of spending equal time with both of these characters, capturing their regrets, fears, etc. Shymalan is a filmmaker that people just enjoy to hate and it's unfortunate because he is a solid director (though a horrible writer). With After Earth he once again shows his talent for creating suspense, using some strong sound design and visuals that manage to evoke tension. Jaden Smith is without question the weak link of the film. He just lacks the talent and charisma of his father and I think they made a big mistake going with a 15 year old instead of making Kitai between 17-18. Visually After Earth doesn't consist of the best special effects you've ever seen but they are absolutely adequate and succeed at transporting the viewer into the world. In the end, I am quite shocked at the horrible reviews After Earth has received as it's an effective sci-fi thriller that is also quite heartfelt in telling the story of father and son.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.