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 terrible, 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 rangers job is pretty much intergalactic military, protecting mankind from a race of beasties which can smell
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 terrible
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
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.
Although not credited on the finished film,
co-writer/producer Will Smith was responsible for much of the movie's direction. While M. Night Shyamalan was primarily in charge of the blocking (composition of shots, placement of the
camera) and the visual aspects of the film (color and design), it was Will Smith who personally coached Jaden Smith in his performance and dictated the development of the story and the
on-screen action. After both the story and acting were heavily criticized, Shyamalan decided to take the blame.
Award Wins & Nominations:
MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:
Worst of the Year: 2 (Worst Actor; Worst Screen Couple, Double
Act or Team); 5 nominations (Worst Film; Worst Director; Worst Supporting Actor; Worst Screenplay (Original); Worst Visual Effects)
Razzies (Worst Actor; Worst Supporting Actor; Worst Screen