After Earth is less of a movie and more Jaden Smith's
Christmas present. The movie is, simply put, the most blatant display of nepotism ever put on screen.
While most kids may get a new bike or a video games
console, Will Smith treated his son to be the main actor (actor, ha ha) in a big budget sci-fi flop.
The general idea isn't completely without merit, but
clearly Will Smith getting involved with it for a vanity project with his son turned it into something absolutely terrible.
Set in the distant future when Earth is an
uninhabitable planet with creatures evolved to kill and humans with absolutely ridiculous accents live in a galaxy far, far away.
Smith Senior is a Ranger named Cypher Raige (honestly,
where do they get these terrible names) and Smith Junior is a young cadet Ranger. A ranger's job is pretty much intergalactic military, protecting mankind from a race of beasties which
can smell fear.
On a routine mission, their spaceship crash lands on
the now forbidden Earth, Daddy Smith has broken his legs so his precocious son is given the mission of locating the stern of the ship approximately 100k away so they can radio for help,
all under daddy's direction who can see what Jaden sees with all the hi-tech equipment (honestly, all that hi-tech gear and no secondary radio to call for help?????)
The rest of the story is obvious and holds absolutely
no surprises, ripping off umpteen movies in the process, including Avatar when Jaden Smith tries to outfly a giant eagle (honestly) and the movie culminates in a battle between boy and
This movie could possibly have been better if it
didn't have a father-son connection or if it was done as a realistic drama instead of sci-fi hokum. The main problem however is the acting; Jaden Smith simply doesn't have the
charisma to carry this film and his limited acting skills are appalling. His character is also incredibly obnoxious as he spends the entire film acting like a spoilt rich kid or throwing
a strop like an infant.
Will Smith must shoulder the blame for this
catastrophic movie, clearly so close to it that he couldn't see how terrible it was. His performance is also bad, but nowhere near as bad as his son's.
It's hard not to feel sorry for M. Night Shyamalan for
this one, I don't think he had full directorial control over this project and simply took it on to try and resurrect his crumbling career. Some of the visuals are actually quite good, but
the cgi effects and acting are just thumbs-down-bad.
Will Smith's money would be better served if he just
paid for Jaden to have some acting lessons instead of forcing him into a vanity project while he still has afterbirth on him.