Sunday, June 2, 2013

After Earth (2013)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring:  Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoe Kravitz

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Danger is real. Fear is a choice.

Plot: A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after events forced humanity's escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Nah.

While I thought THE HAPPENING (2008) was pretty damn bad, I've thoroughly enjoyed all of M. Night's previous films.  I haven't seen THE LAST AIRBENDER (2010) simply because it's a kids movie and one that doesn't appeal to me.  I may see it someday but it's certainly not on my list of things to watch before I die.  It seems nearly everyone is lambasting this flick for one reason or another and I think some of it has to come from people jumping on the M. Night haters bandwagon.  The truth is, it's not that bad.  The only issues I have with it are with M. Night's inability to grasp basic science (just like in THE HAPPENING).  See, this takes place 1,000 years after humans abandoned Earth.  Will Smith tells his son that every creature on Earth has evolved to do one thing...kill humans.  How is that possible if we left the planet 1,000 years ago and there are no humans to kill?  Besides, why would that happen anyway?  Why didn't the flocks of birds try to kill Kitai?  How could tigers evolve to climb trees (which stand a hundred or more feet high) to reach a bird's nest for food?  Why is it that the Earth freezes every single night and defrosts the next day to return to lush, green plant life and not kill everything including the plethora of animals?  Why, when Kitai was in danger of freezing one night, is all it takes to survive the cold is covering yourself with leaves and branches?  We're told that he must reach certain 'hot spots', warmed by underground lava, each night before the sun goes down or he'll freeze to death.  What's the point in even having that plot device if you're going to shit on the audiences ability to easily see through the bullshit.  Damn, now I'm talking myself out of even liking it just a little.

My point is, that this has a few things like that thrown into it to make the story more complicated than it has to be.  We know it's a science fiction film so why does EVERYTHING have to be different than what we're accustomed to?  The future tech was pretty cool and they did a good job with coming up with some neat sci-fi gadgets and such but Earth is not going to change that much in only 1,000 years.  100,000 years might have been more appropriate.  Maybe us dumb audiences would have found that harder to believe than what they gave us.  The plot is very simple and bare.  Why does everything in Hollywood have to be so damn busy and complicated at the expense of telling a story?  AFTER EARTH isn't nearly as bad as all the critics are saying but it does have some things like those mentioned above that could frustrate you and question the integrity of the film makers.  Take a kneel, M. Night, and get a sense of who you are, your surroundings and focus on making good movies again.  You made Kitai do that in this film, now lead by example.  I miss the old you and I'd like to see the old you return to making fun and interesting movies that don't insult me.

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