After Earth

AfterEarthFrom Imdb.com: A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, a millennium after events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help.

Released: 2013

Why I Chose It: This looked like an interesting science fiction movie, and I was curious to see how they would represent Earth in the future. I guess my interest of dystopian stories also triggered my curiosity.

The Review:

I was pretty interested in seeing this movie. I usually enjoy Will Smith’s movies, and I was excited he was in another science fiction movie. I hadn’t seen any movies with his son Jaden yet, so I was curious to see how they would be together. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect with either of the characters. Smith’s character Cypher is a military man, who shows very little emotion and is absent from his family for large amounts of time. On the other hand, Jaden plays Kitai, a young military hopeful who shows too much emotion. I just couldn’t get attached to the family ‘drama’ of an absent military father disappointed in his son. Plus I found Kitai to be a little too young for me, and I just had trouble really caring for the character.

I have heard pretty negative remarks made about Jaden’s portrayal of Kitai. I have to say I didn’t think he did that bad. I think that carrying an entire movie by yourself has to be really difficult. There is literally no other person that Kitai talks to, resulting in a bunch of awkward scenes where he’s talking out loud to his father (who can’t actually communicate with him). At times he seemed extrememly emotional, which I thought was interesting, as their entire military’s strength is based on soldiers who eliminate their emotions. At times I couldn’t tell if it was Jaden’s acting that showed too much inner emotion of the character, or if the actual character was supposed to be that emotional. But I tried to put this in perspective in my head: Jaden was 15 when he filmed this movie. And you know what? I think for a 15 year old, he did alright. It was acceptable for me.

After2

I actually had way more trouble with the storyline. They made a big deal about crash landing on this planet – because it used to be Earth! Gasp! Okay, so what? It’s a highly dangerous planet, apparently, full of highly evolved killer predators. As Kitai is traveling across the terrain, he’s seeing familiar creatures: killer eagles; killer leeches; killer baboons, etc. Okay, cool. But other than these animals that we’re all familiar with, there’s nothing…Earth-y. There’s no ruins or signs that humans used to be there at all. No area of chemical dangers or toxic waste or anything. So why is it so important that the setting is Earth?

Now the argument may be made that this is a story set in the future, where Earth has been abandoned for 1000 years, and that nature has probably taken back the earth, blah blah. But I can’t get my head around that. We see things on Earth today that were built over 1000 years ago. For example, the Great Pyramid was built sometime around 2560 BC (Wikipedia). That’s over 4500 years old, people! So is it really so bad to assume that Kitai should be seeing some remnants of humans as he travels across Earth? I don’t think so. So why is this movie set on Earth if there’s no human history on it?

Oh right, because we need to see the animals that we’re all familiar with, because these creatures are attacking Kitai.

But wait!

Because the big bad predator, the one that Kitai is really scared of, the one that’s hunting Kitai and setting traps for him? Yeah, that doesn’t come from Earth. It was being carried on the space ship that crash landed, and escaped after the crash. So all of those Earth predators? Yeah, they don’t really matter, because we all need to be scared of the creepy giant alien that they brought to Earth with them.

So then what is the point of setting the story on Earth, and making this big deal that this is Earth if we don’t need Earth’s ruins or animals or history or anything – what is the point??

So THAT is my big confusion over this movie. I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t get something, or maybe I missed something. I just can’t get my head around the point of the whole thing, and I think that’s a pretty big issue. I mean, there were really pretty landscapes and scenery in the movie, and even some of the Earth animals were really well done, but honestly I couldn’t focus on them because I was too busy trying to figure out why Earth was such an important element of the story.

Rating: 2 / 5

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