Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Review: After Earth

After Earth

Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige - Will Smith as Cypher Raige - Sophie Okonedo as Faia Raige
Zoë Kravitz as Senshi Raige

What does it mean when your first thoughts in the very first few minutes is "So this is what we can expect from Will Smith as he get older?"  That's what happened to me.  I think it was more the makeup used on Smith to make him appear much older, but then we are treated to his wooden delivery and I start thinking that this can not be a good thing.  I guess you could  attribute it to "bringing your work home with you" as it appears that the elder Smith as Cypher Raige seems to be doing.  

Part of the movie is very confusing because not enough time is really spent in fleshing out the alien encounter and subsequent war that makes Rangers of Cypher's ilk a valuable asset.  Being able to "ghost" is never clearly defined as a mutation or a trait.  Another aspect that might cause confusion is the very animals the Rangers are trained to fight.  It is only mentioned in passing that the creatures are not THE aliens, but bred to hunt humans, hunting by "smelling" their fear.  So,  it may be that the director and writers stepped away from telling the American viewing audience every little minuet instead of letting (read forcing) the viewers to discover why things are happening the way they are.   I could go on, but that would really mean giving away too much.  

The plot is really not to terribly inventive, what am I saying, there is nothing new here at all.  That it is executed reasonably well, is no testimony to anything except that a fairly workman performance is all that was required.  Not that Jaden Smith wasn't interesting to watch, it is a shame though that as the movie progressed, his progress is rated on how wooden he becomes in the end.  Pity.  

Honestly, the whole movie is part and parcel, older science fiction themes sewn together.  There is plenty of action and personal conflict.  But it has all been done before many times and better.   Oh it is not a bad film, just doesn't set the screen on fire either.   I would say watch it for an evening's entertainment but don't expect or demand too much.

I would give the film an overall 7.   

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