There appears to be something about the summer period that induces a cluster of action movies, in which the existence of humanity is at stake. The sun seems to attract post-apocalyptic tales of crisis in which the hope of the human race hinges on the actions of a fair few. Common sense will remind you that it’s just an intentional plan to boost box office sales as families flock to the cinema during the holiday period.
Nevertheless the trend continues this weekend with the release of After Earth – a film produced by and starring Will Smith, along with his insistently multi-talented son, Jaden Smith. This is the second time the two have co-starred following 2006’s critically acclaimed The Pursuit of Happyness.
In After Earth, the two play father and son duo Kitai Rage (Jaden Smith) and Cypher Rage (Will Smith). The plot has it that the humans were forced to leave the planet after an alien attack, and made to set up a new home on planet Nova Prime. Cypher is the legendary commander who is widely credited for saving a small percentage of the population.
Kitai forever wishes to be as respected as his father, but struggles before being allowed on a trip with him and The United Ranger Corps. Things go wrong and after a crash the two find themselves to be the only survivors of the wreckage, back on Earth – a strictly no-go area. Kitai now has the opportunity to become a hero and save himself and his father on a planet where animals have evolved to kill humans.
The visual effects are often realistic and spectacular, whilst the camera shots of Earth’s landscape are eye-watering. What lets down the cinematography are the story, script and acting. The tale was originally written by Smith senior and handed to director M. Night Shyamalan to develop and yet it feels like that never took place. Other than looking good the film lacks any substance or even action, leaving it languishing in mediocrity.
All in all, After Earth is good for a bit of family fun but in reality it’s more a self-indulgent Hollywood vanity project than a bona fide blockbuster.
After Earth is released nationwide on 7th June 2013.
Watch the trailer for After Earth here: