After Earth Review

THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE.

With that out of the way, I'd like to warn you that I'm going to openly spoil the film (not that you can spoil something that's already rotten) and encourage you to not see it, and tell all of your friends how bad I said it was, so that they don't see it either.

This includes Netflixing it, Redboxing it, purchasing a DVD, pirating it, watching it online... etc. It's not a price thing. It's a time thing. Watching this film will do nothing but consume hours of your life and leave you hating the world (not in a gritty, soulful way that makes you feel important – but a way that makes you go “mother of Christ why did this movie have to be so horrible?”).

This movie also proves that M. Night Shyamalan's bad reputation does not soil the movies he does – it is in place with excellent reason. Going in to see this, I couldn't see past the Will Smith name, and had no clue that the dark mind truly behind this pile of filth was that of Mr. Shyamalan.

Now, there is a lot that is wrong with After Earth. Pretty much everything. I'm gonna try to glaze over the boring bits (of which there are many) and just flat-out bitch about the movie's highlights.

Jayden Smith: I hate this little bastard. He is utterly without worth as an actor – while I can go on a rant about how Will Smith seems to be violently thrusting his talentless spawn into every movie he can find, that is a topic for another day. The point of this is to say that, considering that he is the movie's star, he is a terrible actor with a stupid-sounding voice. His performance is utterly flat (a Shyamalan trademark I can't really fault him for), and then when he does finally get the umph to actually give acting a shot, he over-emotes with big fat crocodile tears and wild gesticulations. Will Smith's performance is... well, again, flat, but I blame Shyamalan for that, since Willy has shown that he's capable, even if his choices in films can be... questionable.

Adapted to Destroy Humans: The premise of the entire film is that mankind left Earth several thousand years ago (and don't even have cool phones, so much for technological development) – during the time we were gone, all of Earth has adapted to kill humans.

There are not one, but two problems with this.

1. Why?: We've been gone. We didn't destroy the Earth and then leave, Earth seemed pretty much fine when we left. So, why, after we've been gone for thousands of years, did everything on Earth specifically adapt to be lethal to humans? Why did they wait until we left if it was so important the entire planet had to adapt? You're a few thousand years behind, Earth. You should have started adapting to kill us several thousand years earlier if you actually wanted to accomplish anything. Now all of your millenia of specific adaptations seems silly and is really no more than a nuisance. Which brings me to my second issue with this.

2. It's All Crap: Beyond the brief exposition regarding Earth adapting to destroy all of mankind, it really doesn't show. They could have just as easily said “Earth has regressed to its natural progression and has evolved accordingly” and it would have made just as much, if not more, sense. Throughout the course of the movie (besides our lungs no longer being adapted to the atmosphere, which would have happened anyway), we get to see:

  • Totally normal baboons acting the way totally normal baboons should act.

  • A totally normal large condor-like bird, acting slightly more nurturing and peaceful than a totally normal large condor-like bird should act.

  • Totally normal large, unpleasant lions, acting exactly the way totally normal large, unpleasant lions should act (except that they can apparently scale mountains).

  • An evil slug that can kill you within minutes, apparently. More on this later.

And, ah, yeah. That's about it. I mean, there's also a giant horrible alien, but that's specifically not a native of Earth, and therefore does not count.

Also it gets really cold at night, which also effects all of the plants and animals and is in no way a strictly-human environmental hazard. So, yeah. None of this, in any way, equates to or even mildly suggests/hints that the planet has adapted to kill humans. Just seems more like we left and Earth got on with life.

Tired, Transparent Story: The film is loaded with foreseeable cliches. From the salute scene (and its end-of-the-film counterpart, which could have been heartfelt but was instead hamstrung by awkward writing), from the entire “no fear” premise, to the aliens, to the personal, familial conflict (“Blah blah blah, my sister was killed by aliens and you blamed me for it.”), to the magical telepathy.

Wait, magical telepathy?

The answer to that, my friend, is a loud, resounding, echoing, “...Maybe?” After his brat's radio breaks, Will Smith (or rather, Fatherfigure McBadassname) stares at the screen and gives orders to his son anyway, who proceeds to, within seconds, perform exactly as he had just been commanded without responding. Whether or not he came up with these ideas on his own (possible, since most of them are really stupid, along the lines of “I'll just head over to that active volcano, that will work and definitely not kill me”), or whether Fatherfigure McBadassname was able to somehow, without explanation, telepathically communicate with him, is left up to interpretation. I like to go with the latter option, since it further justifies how utterly, terribly written this pile of refuse is.

The Aliens: The aliens (which are called “ursas” – yay for originality, ursa means “bear”) can smell/sense fear, and that's how they hunt.

That already doesn't make sense, since in order for something to excrete fear pheromones at all, they have to already know something's after them. So what, do they wander out into the open and wait for people to be afraid of the awkwardly stumbling monsters that don't really seem to be much of a threat at all? I don't feel like they would have progressed that far along their evolutionary path if they couldn't hunt anything that wasn't already afraid.

However, that's the tip of the iceberg.

If you stop being afraid, the aliens (I'm just gonna call them aliens, since I refuse to call them ursas and they're the only aliens in the movie anyway) forget you exist. Sort of. Maybe. In the sense that they can have a direct physical hold on you and drop you once you “disappear”, but will then continue to look for you, really actively.

So, what is it? Do they forget where you are once they can't see you, but immediately remember that they were looking for something? When the little Smith kid falls down and “ghosts” for the first time, the alien goes berserk, smashing everything in the (very small) area except for the kid. He obviously knows he's looking for something, but can't just, y'know, find him? Using, I don't know, maybe, his hands? In Fatherfigure McBadassname's backstory, he “ghosts” while the alien is actively drowning him, and the alien immediately lets go and bolts. Rather than just continuing to drown him. Which would have made for a much better movie.

Gloves Would Have Totally Altered The Entire Storyline. Gloves.: Li'l Jayden Smith has a magical enviro-suit that can do anything!

As long as “anything” involves “changing colors”.

Or “not coming with gloves”.

In fact, it is the absence of gloves on this full bodysuit that results in the entire plotline unfolding (not that anyone in the film mentions it). The aforementioned evil, lethal slug manages to (impressively, as it appears to be quite immobile) attach to the kid's hand (the only part of his body, besides his face, that is exposed) and immediately inject him with a toxin that threatens to kill him within about, oh, three-to-four minutes. Industrious little fella. I wish the movie had just been about the slug, since he is obviously the baddest-ass in the film.

So, anyway, before he gets the (very convenient) antidote that works perfectly, he falls down, smashing his doses of magic gel that lets him breathe without dying. Because it smashes his magic gel doses, he no longer has the time it will take to get from Point A to Point B (cutting it close, don't you think? He gets just enough?), and has to do a crazy flying squirrel routine that leads to him being kidnapped by a bird and a bunch of other boring, poorly-planned crap. Too bad he didn't have gloves on his enviro-suit... then, y'know, none of that would have happened. He would have just made it all the way.

Now, I have no problem with adding conflict to a story to make it more interesting. But make the conflict work within the parameters of the story. These highly-advanced, smartphone-less civilizations would never have created environment suits that could change color but didn't feature gloves as a part of the design.

All in all, After Earth is...

  • Badly acted.

  • Badly written.

  • Terribly directed.

  • And has the consistency and exposition skills of fan-fiction. Not good fan-fiction either.

Boycott this movie and mock it openly wherever you go. Tell your friends you got your information from the least reliable source – yours truly.

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For more reviews and articles that aren't comic-related, take a quick gander at my official blog, Chronicles of a Stoic Maniac.

50 Comments
50 Comments
Posted by SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26

Shame. Shyamalan is my all-time favorite director. Whatever, I'll still probably get it when it comes out.

Edited by laflux

M.N Who? I erased a man by that name after the events of the last airbender.

Posted by OmgOmgWtfWtf

I forgot this movie even existed honestly...

Edited by ThatGuyWithHeadPhones

oooooh yea, this movie did happen didn't it

The moment I saw M Nigh- I lost interest while watching the trailer, good review though.

Edited by danhimself

Shame. Shyamalan is my all-time favorite director. Whatever, I'll still probably get it when it comes out.

Really? what movies has he done that make him worthy of being your all-time favorite director? Sure the Sixth Sense and Signs were good but for me they were only good during the first viewing because of the Shyamalan plot twists, once I knew the endings the movies became extremely boring. Then he ruined The Last Airbender to the point where it's critically known as one of the worst movies of all time.

Posted by SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26

@spideyivydaredevilfan26 said:

Shame. Shyamalan is my all-time favorite director. Whatever, I'll still probably get it when it comes out.

Really? what movies has he done that make him worthy of being your all-time favorite director? Sure the Sixth Sense and Signs were good but for me they were only good during the first viewing because of the Shyamalan plot twists, once I knew the endings the movies became extremely boring. Then he ruined The Last Airbender to the point where it's critically known as one of the worst movies of all time.

I'll tell you what (Apart from Sixth Sense and Signs, which you're right were both amazing). The Village, which was an extremely intelligent, emotional and well acted film that should've won Bruce Dallas Howard an Oscar, Unbreakable which is one of the smartest and most emotionally resonating superhero films I've ever seen with one of the BEST endings in cinematic history, and yes, even The Happening, which was a great tribute to 50's B-Sci-Fi movies with a twist I actually really liked and some pretty interesting character studies.

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

The Last Airbender was the nail in the coffin in his career. This movie is him turning into a zombie and trying to get out of his grave.

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Posted by lykopis

LOL -- awesome review, you had me laughing the entire way through. I will take a pass on this movie -- thanks for the head's up.

Posted by Cybrilious4

@dragonborn_ct: I knew the film was going to be cheesy, poorly written, and super choppy, when I saw his name.

We needed Guillermo del Torro directing that film!

Edited by TheAcidSkull

Wow.

Posted by jointron33

I almost want to watch just to see how bad it is.

Edited by ARMIV2

That glove-less thing still really, really, really bugs me. Shyamalan needs to take some classes.

Posted by jointron33

@armiv2: Classes in what? Not failing at life?

Posted by ARMIV2
Posted by jointron33

@armiv2: He has an Unbreakable Sixth Sense that does not allow him to see the Signs.

Posted by ARMIV2

@armiv2: He has an Unbreakable Sixth Sense that does not allow him to see the Signs.

Sad how he's not Wide Awake to The Happening that is everyone Praying with Anger that he stops making movies that suck.

Posted by jointron33

M. Night is the literal movie equivalent of liefeld, Bay is the figurative one

Posted by russellmania77

Smells like hater

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Posted by Jorgevy

the only thing I ever liked that Shamalaban did was Unbreakable. everything else... eh...

and Last Airbender... man... I dont need to say anything about that one.....

Edited by Web_Flotsam

The Ursa are such bad predators that humans use swords instead of guns just to make things fair.

Posted by SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26

Oh come on! Shyamalan's only truly bad film was the Last Airbender (Haven't seen After Earth yet) Leave the man alone!

Edited by tomdickharry1984

oh damn i woz going to see this tonight.....may hava rethink

Edited by YoungJustice

Yesssssss on the Jayden Smith part.

Posted by jointron33
Posted by drgnx

Dayamn!!!!

This review made me laugh, cry, and cheer and sneer!

More excitement than I got from the movie!

Adapted to Destroy Humans:

So why did that bird save him?

Jayden Smith: I hate this little bastard. He is utterly without worth as an actor

Best line!!!!

Edited by Dragonborn_CT

I just discovered this. You know a movie is awful when the narrator rage quits half way through the parody trailer. Watch and laugh.

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Posted by Cezar_TheScribe

There will be nothing after earth dies.

Then again, I am not an Atheist.

Edited by AllStarSuperman

Jayden Smith: I hate this little bastard. He is utterly without worth as an actor

good! He is the ass that ruined the Karate Kid.

Posted by WillPayton

@joygirl: How does it compare to Oblivion?

I saw Oblivion and actually liked it ok. It's not great, but decent. This one sounds really bad.

Posted by Joygirl

@willpayton: Oblivion was for me, on a scale of 1 to 10, around a 5. After Earth was a 1.9 or so.

@dragonborn_ct: OMG. YES. AHAHAHAHAHAHA. EXCELLENT. :D

Edited by Dragonborn_CT

@joygirl: You are welcome :) *brofist*

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Posted by Joygirl

@dragonborn_ct: Though now I feel insecure because I think it was funnier than my review. O_O

Posted by WillPayton

I just discovered this. You know a movie is awful when the narrator rage quits half way through the parody trailer. Watch and laugh.

Now there's definitely 0% chance that I will watch this movie.

1 1/2 hours of my life I wont waste, yay!

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

@joygirl said:

@dragonborn_ct: Though now I feel insecure because I think it was funnier than my review. O_O

Nah, don't worry. Every review that spared us from watching that piece of crap is worthy it in their own way. Also there is no comparing a written review to a video :P

@dragonborn_ct said:

I just discovered this. You know a movie is awful when the narrator rage quits half way through the parody trailer. Watch and laugh.

Now there's definitely 0% chance that I will watch this movie.

1 1/2 hours of my life I wont waste, yay!

A big salute to everyone that sacrificed themselves to watch that cinematic disaster so that we wouldn't have to.

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Posted by Joygirl

*nudge*

Posted by Dr_Harlequin

I can't wait for the sequel.

Edited by JetiiMitra

Saw this movie for the first time last week... about as I expected. It existed and I'll forget about it sometime.

Gotta love that Honest Trailer though.

Posted by Cassius_Knightfall

lol Sounds truely aweful glad i missed it now

Posted by Dr_Harlequin

Out of 10 what would you give this film? Is this the worst film of the year so far? Is this the worst M. Night Shyamalan movie so far?

Posted by Joygirl

@dr_harlequin: I'd give it a 1.

I haven't seen every film of the year but I'd say it's a strong contender.

Also haven't seen every Shyamalan movie but have seen a good few, this is the worst so far.

Posted by Marionettegeist

It looked pretty terrible in the trailers as well.

@joygirl said:

Adapted to Destroy Humans: The premise of the entire film is that mankind left Earth several thousand years ago (and don't even have cool phones, so much for technological development) – during the time we were gone, all of Earth has adapted to kill humans.

Huh, and here I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that would be explained in more detail in the movie. They don't even give some kind of half-a**ed explanation or anything?

Edited by Joygirl

@dctv3363 said:

It looked pretty terrible in the trailers as well.

@joygirl said:

Adapted to Destroy Humans: The premise of the entire film is that mankind left Earth several thousand years ago (and don't even have cool phones, so much for technological development) – during the time we were gone, all of Earth has adapted to kill humans.

Huh, and here I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that would be explained in more detail in the movie. They don't even give some kind of half-a**ed explanation or anything?

1/10th-assed.

Posted by InnerVenom123

What did you expect?

Posted by TheSpiritStalker

I love this.

Posted by TheAmazingImmortalMan

This movie was mediocre at best, I give it 3 out 10 on the "movies scale"

Posted by Marionettegeist

@joygirl: Question: Who do you hate more, Willow Smith or Jaden?

Posted by Joygirl

@dctv3363 said:

@joygirl: Question: Who do you hate more, Willow Smith or Jaden?

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...Amazingly, Jayden.

Posted by Marionettegeist

@joygirl said:

@dctv3363 said:

@joygirl: Question: Who do you hate more, Willow Smith or Jaden?

IWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTHIWHIPMAHHAIRBACKANDFORTH

...Amazingly, Jayden.

For me Willow. No matter how bad an actor Jayden is, I end up just forgetting about the movies he's in. I'll never be able to forget that "song".

Posted by Ostyo

@joygirl: The slug was truly the hero of the film, and deserves a spin off movie of his own.

Posted by Dr_Harlequin

@ostyo: We need another Bug's Life.