Title: After Earth
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan
Based on a weekly turnover, in China it is pretty frustrating to find an ideal film to watch in cinema to meet everyone’s taste, this week, the best offer (for me) is AFTER EARTH, a North American flop stars Smith Family, directed by the ever-downgrading wunderkind Mr. Shyamalan (this time descends to the hack hired by Will Smith personally). With zero expectation, the film is a slim action adventure exploits Will Smith’s star power to bolster his son Jaden Smith, but the paper-thin script and a sub-par visual SFX bewilders its viewers where its reported budget goes ($130,000,000)?, call me a sceptic, is the whole hubbub an internal money-laundry chicanery?
A pseudo-epic start briefly justifies why mankind abandons the earth, and relocates at a new planet with the new arch enemy, a fear-sensing brute. After a reckless asteroids attack, an aircraft crash-lands on earth and miraculously all the crew are dead except for Jaden and Will, the latter is the commander of the team and is injured and immobilized by broken legs for rest of the film, up till then, the film plunges into a young boy’s journey of seeking courage by facing a menagerie of mutant wild animals on his quest to track down a beacon apparatus which he could use to call for the rescue team, and now is in the rear part of the craft and lies amid the formidable wilderness, it is also a boy’s rite-of-passage to overcome a past trauma and save himself and his father, who treats him with military disciplines, but a role-model for the whole race because of his “ghosting” skill, which is facilely interpreted as a fearless warrior who is able to be invisible to the brutes, everything is well-foreseen by viewers’s imagination and the film fails to ignite audiences’ passion at all.
A glum Jaden Smith and ultra-wooden Will Smith can barely hold together the film (one wonders what has happened to the pair in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS 2006), already it is character-scarce, Sophie Okonedo is shamefully underused in the Will Smith’s Wife Club, and a dazzling Zoe Kravitz glints only in flashbacks and illusory parts, then all the CGI creatures take the stage by turns, and the final showdown turns out to be a major letdown, again I am very curious about how they spent the gargantuan budget? It looks too cheap compared with other summer tentpoles.
It is inevitable a stain in Mr. Smith’s filmography, the mass is repellent and jealous of nepotism especially when he or she is a superstar, the Smith family may be too keen in showcasing their ambition to establish their dynasty in Hollywood showbiz, this setback should alert them, the market is not ready yet for a blatant mega-family contrivance. Anyhow, what’s more disheartening for me is the career orbit of M. Shyamalan, to witness the fall of a young talent is never easy, although we could assume one must reach rock-bottom to bounce back, in that case, I do hope AFTER EARTH is his fortunate nadir.