After Earth is a 2013 American post-apocalyptic science fiction action film starring Will Smith and co-stars Jaden Smith, Will's real-life son, who previously starred with Will in the 2006 film The Pursuit Of Happiness. While Will wrote most of the film's script, he got M. Night Shyamalan to co-write and direct the film. The film premiered in Tokyo on May 1, 2013, and was released in the United States on May 31, 2013.
Prime Commander Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) have to battle the elements of a post-apocalyptic Earth after surviving a spaceship crash. Cypher also tells Kitai about the Ursa, which are creatures that can "smell fear" and tells Kitai to go find the beacon that was lost in the crash.
Kitai goes out on his own to find the beacon and encounters a bird and a tiger while out on his rescue mission. Later, he finds the beacon and sends out the signal for help.
Why It's Denied
- The main problem for this movie is that the story is clearly and obviously a massive ego trip fanfic for Will Smith and made by him too, filled with long speeches about how awesome his fanfiction-level self-insert character (Cypher Raige) is.
- The story is nearly bizarre, poorly written, poorly directed, and very dull. The biggest example is Kitai's sudden out-of-nowhere rant after Cypher tells him to abort the mission.
- The character names try to sound futuristic, but just sound ridiculous, especially with Cypher Raige sounding arguably the most unconvincing.
- Both Kitai and Cypher Raige are completely unlikable characters. Kitai spends most of the movie being a whiny teenage brat and making terrible decisions, while Cypher is an extreme jackass and a terrible father since his treatment of Kitai is borderline emotional abuse, such the infamous dinner table scene where Cypher yells at Kitai with no provocation, ordering him to sit down, when all Kitai did was ask if he could go to his room.
- Very poor acting, especially considering who is involved.
- The special effects are poorly done, especially with the Ursa, the tiger, and the eagle.
- The Ursas look like rejected Starship Troopers bugs.
- Weird sounding stereotypical futuristic accents. For example, the characters speak in an accent that lies somewhere between Elmer Fudd and Forrest Gump whilst Kitai sounds like he has rubber bands around his tongue (mentioned in JoBlo's video).
- Despite it being set in the future, humanity uses retractable swords that look too primitive for a futuristic setting.
- When Kitai furrows his eyebrows, his forehead looks like Emperor Palpatine's.
- Nonexistent logic. Cypher says the Earth's atmosphere is unstable, yet the Earth is rich in plant life and doesn't suffer any form of pollution, meaning that there should be plenty of breathable oxygen.
- If you listen carefully in the scene when Kitai is confronting the tiger-like creature before its fall, a cartoonish growling sound is heard.
- Kitai whines a lot, especially after Cypher tells him to abort the mission.
- Unlike most M. Night Shyamalan films that have (often ridiculous) plot twists, this marks the first time that it lacks a plot twist.
- On brief occasions, Jaden Smith has a passable performance.
- Despite being poorly executed, it had an interesting concept.
- James Newton Howard's score is passable.
- The scene where Cypher shouts, "DENIED! SIT DOWN!" was actually amusing.
After Earth was panned by both critics and audiences alike; its acting was criticized as melodramatic, and the writing and storytelling were also singled out for mainstream criticism. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 11% based on 211 reviews and an average rating of 3.90/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "After Earth is a dull, ploddingly paced exercise in sentimental sci-fi — and the latest setback for director M. Night Shyamalan's once-promising career.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 33 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale. Famed YouTube critic Chris Stuckmann stated in his review, "After Earth unfortunately still finds M. Night Shyamalan plodding through another dull, lifeless movie." Betsey Sharkey of The Los Angeles Times stated about After Earth, "There is no small irony that this sci-fi action-adventure is about surviving a serious crash. The scorched earth left behind by "After Earth" is sure to leave a scar on everyone involved." This film and The Last Airbender marked the low point of the death-spiral of M. Night Shyamalan's career, which had already gone through a series of films including The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening. After creating Devil, he finally bounced back with 2015's The Visit and 2017's Split.
After Earth opened at #3 on its opening weekend grossing $27,520,040 domestically in the United States. The total domestic gross was $60,522,097. In foreign countries, After Earth grossed $183,321,030. The film earned a worldwide gross of $243,843,127 against its $130 million budget and was a box office disappointment, and failed harder than The Last Airbender by comparison in that regard.
Awards and nominations
After Earth was nominated for 3 Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Director, but lost to Movie 43. The film won three Razzies for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo.
- Co-writer Gary Whitta started life as a writer for the infamously dishonest The One Amiga, and among other things has a writing credit on Duke Nukem Forever, wrote the most nonsensical episode of The Walking Dead and the poorly-received The Book of Eli, and got himself thrown off writing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
- Will Smith admitted that this film was the most painful failure of his career.
- In March 2018, the film was revealed to become an "immersive experiencing" multimedia franchise titled 1000 AE with plans on a sequel, live action show, animated series, webisodes, mobisodes, a video game, consumer products, theme park attractions, documentaries, comics, an education program collaboring with NASA, cologne and perfume lines, and a social media platform, but is abandoned because of it's failure.