After Earth Movie Review

Are you looking for a fun movie to watch? If so, you may think that After Earth is the movie for you. But is this film worth it? Here’s our review!

After Earth Movie Review

After Earth is a science fiction movie that was released in 2013. Starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith, who also play a father and son in the movie, this film explores what happens to Earth in the future when humans have left the planet. 

Peacekeeping General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son, Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith), must survive on Earth, which has become a hostile and uninhabitable environment since it was abandoned by humanity.

The post-apocalyptic film was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. After Earth received largely negative reviews and a disappointing box office. Do our thoughts follow this consensus? These are our opinions on the film:

Our Review

The Good

When it comes to After Earth, it’s difficult to find many positive things to say.

Perhaps one of the strongest elements of this film is its visual effects and use of CGI. This CGI stands up quite well, even though the film was made in 2013.

The special effects are used to render a version of Earth that is very different from the one that we are used to.

Though these special effects are nothing special (pun intended), they are convincing enough that it’s easy to immerse yourself in this fictional universe.

Despite the out of the world concept, this film offers some grounded themes that many people in the audience can relate to.

For instance, the theme of trying to live up to the reputation of one’s parents is a very real theme that gave the movie some much-needed emotion. 

The Bad

Unfortunately, there is very little to like about After Earth and a lot to dislike. In many ways, this film is an embarrassment for everyone involved.

Despite usually being a charismatic actor, Will Smith lacks any real screen presence. Though the characters are meant to intentionally be unemotional, Will Smith is unable to give the character dynamism.

Though this role is underwritten, perhaps in the hands of a different actor, the role of Cypher Raige could have been more charismatic.

This is a massive fall from grace for the senior Smith, who is known for popular properties such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Men in Black, Hitch, and Bad Boys. Such an experienced film and television superstar should have avoided such a poor script.

Jaden Smith’s performance is even worse. His portrayal of Kitai Raige makes the character outright unlikable and uninteresting.

In every scene, he wears a blank expression that’s difficult for audiences to connect with. He’s meant to be a reckless character that young people can relate to, but thanks to Jaden’s uninspiring performance this completely falls flat.

This is an obvious case of nepotism, whereby Jaden was only able to get this gig because his mother (Jada Pinkett Smith) and father were producers.

Though this is far from new in the world of Hollywood, it is nonetheless a valid criticism of the film.

The lack of chemistry between Jaden and Will Smith is not only disappointing because of their real-life relationship, but also because they starred together in the 2006 movie The Pursuit of Happyness.

Both actors delivered much more nuanced and captivating performances, to the extent that the film resulted in a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Will Smith.

Like Will Smith, much better was expected of M. Night Shyamalan. After he directed a string of successful films, such as The Village and The Sixth Sense, After Earth is a bland and desolate mess that is surrounded by other poorly directed films in Shyamalan’s career.

Shyamalan’s direction is simply uninspired. His visuals are nowhere near as strong as they should be, especially for a film with such a wild concept.

This could have been a great opportunity for some out-of-this-world visuals, but Shyamalan is unable to deliver.

Though the concept of exploring the desolate future of the planet in After Earth may seem fresh and interesting, it becomes littered with tired tropes. 

Should You Watch After Earth?

Unless you enjoy watching bad science fiction, you should not watch After Earth. This painful movie is a bit of a slog. At 100 minutes long, it simply isn’t worth it to watch a disappointing concept and underwhelming performances. 

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a science fiction or apocalyptic movie to watch with a generous bowl of popcorn. After Earth is likely to disappoint.

This vanity project has few redeeming qualities. It’s one of the few low points in the otherwise stellar career of Will Smith. This film made us feel as though we were lost in space.

We give After Earth 1 out of 5 stars.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Promised Land Movie Review‘.

Max Roberts