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Worth Watching Just So You Can Say You Saw the Worst Child Actor in History
Michael_Elliott3 June 2013
After Earth (2013)

* (out of 4)

M. Night Shyamalan's big-budget vanity project for father and son team Will and Jaden Smith turns out to be much worse than the trailer. In the film, the father and son crash land on the planet Earth a thousand years after the people were forced to leave it. With daddy's legs broke, the young kid must go out into the scary landscape to retrieve an item that will allow them to make contact with their own world. AFTER EARTH is without question one of the worst sci-fi summer blockbusters ever made. Part of the blame can go towards the director but his handful of haters can't put everything on him. The incredibly bad screenplay also deserves a lot of the blame but so do the Smith boys. I seem to say this after each of his films but it's clear young Jaden has yet to take an acting class and just keeps getting passes because of his dad. I'm sorry but he's just not got a talented bone in his body and he certainly can't show any type of emotion, which is something the story here called for. The fact that he can't act to save his life really kills every emotion that the film goes for and it turns these scenes into something rather laughable. Mr. Will Smith doesn't come in any better. Although I liked his more quiet, laid back style, it just doesn't work considering the screenplay has him sitting around simply talking to the kid. Where Will deserves a lot of blame is getting his son these type of roles, which he can't do and which will eventually make him one of the most laughable actors in Hollywood history. The first couple films he did were just embarrassing but no one has given him the word that he can't act and apparently no one has seen fit to get him into classes so it's really just getting worse. Still, Shyamalan didn't improve the film any as there's really no drama, no suspense and no tension. It also doesn't help that the screenplay is full of cliché moments as well as being 100% predictable. I will say that some of the visuals were good but certainly not good enough to sit through this thing.
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Believe the critics!
Gordon-116 June 2013
This film is about a space craft that crash-landed on a dangerous planet called Earth, and the only two survivors have to struggle to stay alive.

The first few minutes of "After Earth" already look not so promising, and it only goes downhill from there. Acting is consistently bad by Jaden Smith, he is so annoying as a teenager who constantly freaks out. Will Smith is supposed to be a fearless commander, but his supposed bravery makes him so wooden as if he was a wax statue.

The plot is simply ridiculous. There are so many plot holes that are so obvious, that they simply should not happen. For example, if Will Smith is such a great commander, how could he not command people to wear seat belts when they were about to hit a meteor shower. And the masks are not even connected to anything!? The whole story, from the macro level to the micro level is very poorly written and makes no sense. The supposed emotional climax is so weak, that I wonder if that scene is really supposed to make me feel proud of what is shown on the screen.

"After Earth" is a terrible mess. This time, believe the critics.
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Kitai Litter
jadepietro4 June 2013
This film is not recommended. Father doesn't always know best, the latest result being After Earth, a vanity project that Will Smith has concocted for his son, Jaden. This wobbly sci-fi tale of survival will certainly test both Mr. and Mr. Smith's star power. Director M. Night Shyamalan, the man who continually keeps falling from grace, one film after the next, is still tumbling further from his talented beginnings, although here the director crashes and burns. This is not to say that After Earth is hopelessly clichéd, it's just hopeless. Shymalan's well- made film has some striking imagery, mostly of panoramic vistas, but his ill-conceived screenplay (co-written with Gary Whitta) keeps this exercise in filmmaking rather earthbound. Adding to that, his main star and one of the film's producers, Papa Smith, pushes nepotism to its limits with this unoriginal dreck. (He is also given story credit for this silliness.) It's not just that this film has no Will power, it just has too much of it, both on screen and off. Will Smith plays the fearless Cypher Raige, a no-nonsense military commando sent on a mission with his newt of a son, Kitai, played by Jaden Smith. Cypher is disappointed with his son's lack of achievement as a cadet and their relationship is a bit strained, just like the acting. The Smiths obviously look the part and act the part with the same stilted delivery. Like father, like son. Unfortunately (for us), they crash land on the apocalyptic Planet Earth. Cypher is injured with two broken legs, but pain is not an option. However a better script would have helped matters. Kitai must now go into rescue mode, wearing his amazing technicolor space suit, fighting beasts and creatures along the way to becoming a man. On his journey of self-awareness, Kitai contends with imminent peril: giant baboons, poisonous leeches, carnivorous tigers, and such. He needs to deal with the fluctuating below-freezing temperatures and an active volcano too. Life is hard. Kitai even battles a monster called the Ursa, a predator that hunts by sensing fear. (If the creature could instead sense the smorgasbord of bad acting on its plate, the Ursa would never go hungry again.) The elder Smith underacts and speaks in annoying solemn platitudes while the younger Smith overacts in a squeaky nasal voice that only a teenager can tolerate. The art direction is mind-numbing. The futuristic sets are bargain basement knockoffs of Disney World's Tomorrowland, circa 1960...very unimaginative with an overabundance of Rubbermaid-influenced interiors and enough flowing linen sheets to make one think that Bed, Bath, and Beyond had given the filmmakers a cut-rate deal for some product endorsements. All of the special effects are barely adequate and not the least bit compelling. After Earth has a strange lethargic listlessness throughout its short length. The film never builds any real tension or suspense. It's just so dull and unrelenting in its stupidity. After Earth is the type of film that gives the sci-fi genre a bad name. Shyamalan and the Smiths might want to use other aliases after creating this debacle. Let's hope they refine their own survival skills when making another film. After Earth is strictly Ursa Minor. So dear moviegoers, heed the film's tag-line: "Danger is real, Fear is a choice". You have been sufficiently warned about the real dangers in viewing After Earth...Fear not, it's still in your control. GRADE: C-
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Absolutely Boring and Pathertic
stogyman-702-8003893 June 2013
I have been a Will Smith fan since Fresh Prince, but in the last several years his on-screen personae and talents have been severely lacking. It is with no small amount of regret that I must say this is the bottom of the barrel for Smith. The short version of it is this: Will has no personality in this movie whatsoever, his non-talented son Jaden is absolutely laughable as a lead figure, the plot drags along for seemingly unending hours with little or no excitement or humor or intrigue to keep our attention or interest, and the underlying themes and tone is nothing more that pure hype for the scientology church. I don't say this very often about most movies...but I seriously would like my $10 and 3 hours of wasted time and money back. This one is a serious stinker
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What happened here?
keiichi7331 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Generally, Sci-Fi is supposed to fill us with awe with its visions of other worlds and of the future. All After Earth managed to fill me with is an overall sense of boredom. This is a lifeless adventure story about a gruff military father and his son bonding when they are both stranded on an abandoned planet Earth. The father and son dynamic, which is supposed to be the main dramatic force which drives the story, fails because we don't believe in the relationship, and the actors have zero chemistry. This is odd, considering said actors are the real life father and son, Will and Jaden Smith.

After Earth is the latest movie from director M. Night Shyamalan. Not that the studio would like you to know this. You might remember how just a few years ago, the studios heavily hyped each release from the director, plastering his name all over the poster and ad campaign. However, after a series of expensive flops, Shyamalan's name is no longer a selling point. And so, they literally have hidden his involvement with this stillborn movie that contains some of the shoddiest CG effects I've seen in a big budget summer movie. Just look at the CG baboons, lions and eagles that threaten our heroes during the course of the film. Compare it to the work done with the CG animals in Life of Pi, and the end result is almost comical.

The plot - We learn through endless, droning exposition that humans have been forced to flee Earth for another home planet. Considering the recent Tom Cruise Sci-Fi film, Oblivion, opened in a similar manner, it only made me wish I was watching that film instead. The humans have generally been living peacefully on their new world, except for some pesky encounters with some big, ugly aliens called Ursa who are blind, and can detect people only by smelling their fear. They're yet another hostile alien race who have mastered the art of the jump scare, but not intelligent conversation, since all they can do is roar, growl, and generally look and act like generic CG.

One of the main war heroes in the battle against the Ursa is General Cypher Kaige (Will Smith). Cypher is a tough, battle-hardened military man who seems to have a hard time differentiating his work life from his home life. His son is Kitai (Jaden Smith), a young boy who desperately wants his father's approval, and is trying for a position in the military, but fears he will never live up to dad's lofty expectations for him. Kitai is also haunted by the memory of seeing his older sister, Senshi (Zoe Kravitz), being killed by an Ursa right before his eyes. Cypher's wife suggests a father-son space voyage, so that they can bond. This doesn't go very well, as the ship is severely damaged in an asteroid belt, killing everyone on board except Cypher and Kitai, and sending the ship crashing on the abandoned planet Earth.

So, now they're trapped on Earth, and must rely on each other for survival. Cypher has broken both of his legs in the crash, so it is up to Kitai to get them home. The journey Kitai undertakes is supposed to make him into a man, while allowing his father to win respect for him. This could be effective, if it weren't portrayed in such a crashingly obvious way. Each adventure he undertakes is small in scope - He runs away from a pack of baboons, he fights off some lions, he is briefly poisoned by a parasitic creature...All of these encounters seem like annoyances, rather than grand adventures. There is no sense of scope here, no sense of awe or wonder.

But the real question here is, how could the performances by both Will and Jaden Smith be so wooden, unemotional, and unconvincing? I'm not exactly sure, but my best guess is that they took their character descriptions completely to heart. In the case of Will Smith, I imagine his character bio read something like this - "Cypher is an emotionally distant, gruff military man who has a hard time showing emotion, or being open with his son". And so, Will Smith interprets his character as if he is completely devoid of any emotion whatsoever. He reads all of his lines in a passive, monotone voice. It got to the point where I found myself wondering if I wasn't watching the wax statue figure of Will Smith from Madame Tussaud's museum instead.

The performance by young Jaden Smith is not much better. He often comes across as shrill and grating, his voice pitched at this high and whiny tone. It just made me want to peel him right off the screen and replace him with another actor every time he opened his mouth. Who is to blame for these awful turns by these actors who have been likable in the past? Was the director's heart just not in this project? That sounds reasonable. Say what you will about Shyamalan's recent body of work, but I've often found something to admire in the look of a lot of his films. Here, we get no interesting visuals. Even the fleeting glimpses we get of humanity's new planet home are disappointing, and look like they were shot on a studio soundstage.

After Earth is the kind of movie experience you want to forget as soon as possible. In a year that has already brought us Sci-Fi films like Oblivion and the flawed-but-enjoyable Star Trek Into Darkness, this movie feels all the more insignificant and lame.
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Makes Battleship Earth look like a classic....
Julian09223 June 2013
I do not know what I want to say, but I want to say something so people won't waste money on this piece of whatever one wants to call it.

I am a big SciFi fan, yet something like that I never experienced. Was it the effects that ruined it, was it the lame story, the extra-lame acting of the second Smith in the movie, the directing of someone who got after Signs too much credit and couldn't deliver since (with the exception of the low budget Devil). I really cant say. Its just very disappointing and I wished I would not have seen it, not spend the time nor the money. But I wanted to know it for myself if the critics are right, since they are so many times wrong (in my opinion).

Well, they are right, and yet they even gave the movie way too much credit. Probably because of Will Smith.

The year is not over, but I do not think that After earth will be topped in the category for "the worst movie of 2013"!
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green1112 June 2013
First, I am a HUGE sci-fi fan and love most sci-fi movies but this was just wrong on so many levels. Bad acting.... No plot.... Story was all overthe couldn't get a good understanding of what was going on in the movie. Graphics & visuals were so,so. I would wait for DVD/Blu Ray and even then I would avoid this movie. I feel like they made a movie just so Will Smith's son could star in it. Save your money. Trust me, you will thank me! I almost walked out of the theater at one point because it just wasn't worth sitting through anymore of its. ..... ..... ..... Nothing else to say. Just save your money! Why Will Smith? You had a pretty good rep on movies now you're starting the Tom Cruise slide into just making a movie cause you think you should.
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Fear is a is making films like AFTER EARTH
Tony Bush22 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Apparently, 130 million dollars was burned through to achieve this. I can only imagine the studio must have insured it for a billion in order to make a huge claim. It has to be a scam. I can discern no other explanation for it. I am a firm believer that hardly anyone would deliberately set out to make a bad movie. green light a project that was clearly potentially financial and definitely artistic suicide from the outset is either unparallelled lunacy or a caper of some sort. Evidence being that the script alone could not have been any more of a monolithic flop indicator if it came with giant neon signs spelling out M-E-G-A T-U-R-K-E-Y in flashing twelve-foot high letters.

At this point I'm not going to go into the plot in any depth but I am going to raise the issue of the atrocious acting from both father and son. Papa Smith needs to drop the kid. I mean, I know blood is thicker than water and all, but this child is never going to be an actor and he's just going to stink up any project he's ever involved in. Yes, I know, I know it's really hard for any parent to accept that their child is truly useless at something as easy as a running and jumping game of pretend in front of a green screen, but we all have to face facts. Kid is a dead loss. Find him another career or just pay him to stay at home or, maybe even let him find his own way in the world. He has no acting talent whatsoever. Accept it, get over it and move on.

The same might soon be said for Papa Smith if he can't turn in something better than this these days. He played his role with all the animation, charisma, presence and dramatic expression of a plank of balsa. I accept that he was portraying someone who is an expert at controlling their emotions, but he achieved the nigh-on impossible feat of making Keanu Reeve's moribund turn in THE DAY MY FACE STOOD STILL seem a master-class example of the thespian art. Smith senior stares intensely into the camera a lot, grunts and puffs a bit when his legs are broken and goes to sleep every so often then wakes up again looking a bit groggy. All the time those trademark jug-ears make him look like an Easter Island head with satellite dishes on either side. Smith Junior, meanwhile, has his stunt double run and jump about the place until he gets a close-up wherein he wildly furrows his brow, loses control of his jaw, pops his eyes and telegraphs episodes of respiratory failure with all the conviction of a burned-out porn star simulating an orgasm. Both father and son should pause for thought and take stock.

Here's another thing – career moves born out of personal obsessions are sometimes not the way to go. I get that certain Hollywood types feel the need to voraciously ram their pretentious hobbies and eccentricities into the eager faces of their audiences, but just go make an advert or take out a page in a paper if you feel the need. Frittering away 130 mil on an extended propaganda piece for your favourite sci-fi mock-religious cult baloney is nothing short of obscene. Travolta had a shot at it and bombed. Smith's attempt may make back some of the dough, but even so it's truly awful cinema. Should Cruise ever step up to the plate marked "Egocentric Vanity Jerk" I expect the results to be pretty much the same.

Performances aside, along with the Scientology mumbo-jumbo, if the film had been any good I would be much more forgiving. But it's a predictable CGI drag from beginning to end that boringly rehashes some sci-fi iconography from other much more creatively original sources. The core philosophy/message is the simplistic mantra of "you have nothing to fear but fear itself." Whoo-hoo! Ya think?

M. Knight Charlatan directs in a listless and linear way and the narrative has no twists or turns – it just ploughs the same one-note furrow from beginning to end. Some of the CG eye-candy grabs the attention for brief periods, but it's mostly dull and drab. The dialogue has no spark or life and consists of daisy chained clichés or terse blocks of hilarious cod-philosophical speech. "Danger is real, but fear is a choice." Yeah, well "Bowel actions are real, but toilet paper is a choice." Next?

Just as most filmmakers don't deliberately make bad films most film-watchers don't deliberately want to dislike or not enjoy the films they watch. And I'm of that ilk. But I am struggling to find much positive to say about AFTER EARTH. Even so, globally it took around 243 mil at the box office and there are rumours of a sequel. If the sequel is real then my fear definitely isn't a choice. In that case I'll overcome my fear through avoidance. Works for me.
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Unfortunately Disappointing
AnAnonymousFilmCritic18 March 2014
Unlike many here I had truly high hopes of this movie, I was hoping M. Night Shyamalan could make another interesting movie, that the visuals would leave me in shock and awe, and that Jaden Smith could make a decent performance, unfortunately none of these hopes actually took place. Immediately into the movie the narration is outright terrible, from wording to accent, to the lack of dramatic change in Jaden's voice. It sounds like a kid reading reluctantly for his high school English teacher.His acting also had much to be desired, but in all honesty I think this movie would have been a hundred times better if Will Smith would have been the lead character, or at least the narrator in the beginning. I feel the beginning of the movie puts such a damper on the movies possibility it ends before it even begins. I stopped half way through this movie and watched the rest a different day because that's how uninteresting the beginning was. Visually the beginning also lacks creativity, the planet humans move to looks like something from Dune or Starship Troopers, something that was a cool idea fifteen plus years ago. Their homes are basic, and the opening story is boring, and seems forced, they don't make you feel for characters and the CGI showing the frozen wasteland of Earth looks beyond half-assed which is unfortunate as the rest of the movies CGI is actually decent looking. Overall I feel this movie was an excellent idea it was just poorly executed, instead of jumping right into the action and making the movie last an hour and forty minutes, there should have been some well needed dialogue scenes in the beginning to allow the audience to gain an understanding for the characters. However both Will's and Jaden's dialogue is terrible in the movie, the only thing that feels real is the connection they share as father and son which is obvious since they are just that. I recommend you start about thirty minutes into the movie if you're wanting to see this one. *Disclaimer, this is only my humble opinion*
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After Earth
Eddie Kureczka4 June 2013
After Earth should be retitled After Birth, because that is exactly how sloppy and dirty this pathetic excuse for a film is. Gross analogy, I know, but trust me, a delivery room after a woman has given birth is a better produced show then this. I honestly don't even know where to start. The film decided to market itself as a Will Smith film, which was the only way to get people to go because of how silly its plot is. Even the Will Smith fans were let down because all he does is sit in a chair the whole time and speak to his son in an over-serious and unintentionally hilarious monotonous voice. He easily gives his worst performance to date, but it is not quite the worst acting in the film. Jaden Smith gives a Razzie worthy performance as an underdeveloped character with a useless upsetting past and an ear-cringing accent. He whines and makes the most stupid mistakes a film character has ever made in the history, provided by the horrendous Shamylan-Esq screenplay where you can't tell if its supposed to be funny or not. "He let me borrow the book Moby Dick, he even let me hold it.""Hold what?" "The" Word for word. This comes off as a terrible joke some sixth grader tries to make, and there are many nonsense lines like this crammed into the ridiculous plot with gaping and obvious plot holes. Why is he making a fire when he's right above a geothermic vent? Why in the heck did the bird who just tried to eat him save his life? Why is that oxygen mask working when its not even attached to anything? Why did Jaden need to get higher on the volcano to send out the transmission when he was just getting closer to the "radioactive cloud"(dafuq)? A ton of these mistakes are so obviously scattered throughout the terrible script. It really just makes it funny. If you enjoy being entertained by stupid movies, I definitely recommend you check this out because it is so bad its funny.

GRADE: D- (The only reason I'm not giving this piece of crap an F is because it's still not as bad as Last Airbender, so you need to give Shamylan some credit)
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