Welcome to the worst movie of the year so far: “After Earth.”
It’s being billed as another Will Smith sci-fi summer blockbuster but it’s really more a vanity project for his son, Jaden, who it turns out is not good at all. I couldn’t’ help but hear Jada Pinkett Smith talking her husband into making this movie for their son when I heard this line: “You have a son you do not know. He’s reaching for you and he does not need a commanding officer, he needs a father. So go make some good memories together.”
They may have made good memories together but what they didn’t do was make a good movie. That may stem in part from who came up with the lame story – none other than Will Smith.
The poorly thought-out premise is that mankind had to leave Planet Earth in 2071 and now a thousand years later, a heroic Commander out for spin through the galaxies with his troubled teenage son crash-lands on … where else? Earth.
“Son we are the first humans to set foot on this planet in over 1,000 years. Everything has evolved to kill humans.”
Odd that everything there has evolved to kill a species that hasn’t been there for a thousand years. That’s a pretty inefficient evolutionary pattern, if you ask me.
So how has the Earth changed in all that time? Not that much, apparently because it looks a lot like the old Earth, with mountains and rivers and forests and jungles. And it’s peopled with lots of things that look like tigers and baboons and eagles. They’re giant eagles, granted, but eagles all the same.
Now I suppose I can imagine an entertaining enough movie of Will Smith fighting off giant creatures and making those trademark quips of his along the way. But to call “After Earth” a Will Smith vehicle would be wildly misleading. He’s barely in the movie. He conveniently gets hurt in the crash landing early on, so it’s his son who has to do all the adventuring.
The movie consists mostly of a stationary, injured Will Smith groggily giving directions to his son to find a beacon and in the process, prove himself a man.
This is director M. Night Shyamalan’s umpteenth attempt to resurrect his career since his breakout hit, “The Sixth Sense.”
“After Earth” was seen by many as his ticket back to the big time. Instead it may bury his career once and for all … under Earth.