January 30, 2014

After Earth Movie Review

After Earth (2013)
By Lindsey Pogue
Rating: PG-13/100 minutes

Genre Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi 

Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

LP's Rating: 3/5 stars

*DISCLAIMER- Generally I wouldn't post a movie review if I wasn't super into the movie, but this particular film left me conflicted, which can sometimes be a good thing for people, so I figured, why not?

Basic Overview: A crash landing leaves Kitai and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, a millennium after man ruined Earth and therefore humanity was forced to escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help. Fear is Kitai's greatest weakness and becomes the tipping point between life and death.

My Review. This is one of those movies that left me going, "hmmm." The moment it started, I wondered what I got myself into by agreeing to watch it for reasons I explain below. However, by the end of the film, I was much more engaged and was left with a muddled opinion. Doesn't that happen a lot after watching movies? Is that a sign of a good movie, that it leaves you contemplating more than when you started it? Doesn't that mean you enjoyed it? The answer is probably yes to all of those, but...still I'm conflicted. As many aspects as I liked, I disliked, and by the end I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, even if I can only try to articulate why below.


What I didn't like. 
No connection to the characters. My favorite character was the dead sister and the giant eagle (or maybe it's a falcon) that saves Kitai's life when all hope was lost. I nearly teared up when the damn bird died, but never really felt any connection to Kitati or Cypher who were the two main characters. Shouldn't it be the other way around? My fiance would argue that it's a movie about trying to rid yourself of emotions and thinking rationally so to act without fear. While those intentions are clear throughout the story, the delivery comes off too flat, and as a result isn't not relatable and becomes disengaging.

The Acting. While I'm generally a pretty big Will Smith fan, I found this movie to be missing something from him--personality or passion I'm not quite sure. He was so one-dimensional that I felt I didn't understand him or really like him much. He's generally such a huge personality that demands center stage. His hard-ass, detached, no-nonsense character was borderline too unrealistic for me. Someone can't be so completely in control and devoid of outward emotion, especially when they think they're child is dead or dying...right?

The dialect and names. The way Kitai spoke in general was sort of jarring. In the beginning I heard nerdy kid from the south who isn't sure how he feels. Then, when you see how's talking it's like...that was weird. In the beginning it seemed forced and unnatural, but thankfully I did sort of forget about it after a while. The character names were also very singular and difficult to keep track of. I didn't even know Jaden and Will's character names until I looked them up. 

What I liked
The production. The scope was huge, imaginative, and thought provoking. The cinematography was really beautiful. Plus, it was sort of filmed in my own backyard of Norther California, so that might be why it resonated so much with me. 

The concept and themes. I liked the basic story idea--a famous General who's traveled the galaxy for years forgets how to be a father and through their journey, father and son are forced to reconnect and rely on one another to survive. I also liked the fact that it was a story about facing your worst fears. How poetic that Kitai is running from a monster that hunts him because he's afraid--literally tracking by his fear--and thus Kitai must overcome his "cowardice" if he's to save his life as well as his father's. 

**Intriguing Fact. Will Smith wrote this story. I didn't know that until the end credits. Smith wrote it, and he had M. Night Shyamalan direct it, and then put himself and his son in the starring roles. It seems appropriate, actually. Smith's been in many Sci-Fi movies, including Men in Black, Independence Day, I Am Legend, and I, Robot. So, it's interesting that this movie didn't do so well. You have to wonder why. Was it because of the story--his story? How it was adapted to a screenplay? Was it the directing or the lack of connection between father and son--real life and off screen? I personally wonder if Will Smith is happy with this movie. Just something I've been musing over.

Overall. I was entertained by this movie, but I was also obviously frustrated by it. It was just...strange, and I wish it would've been better. Although I'm hesitant, I would recommend this movie to people who like science fiction. Again the basic story idea is really great actually, but there was just something lacking in the acting I think. If you're watching it because you love Will Smith movies, you'll probably be disappointed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment