Film Review: After Earth

By Sam Robinson

Rated M. Starring Jaden Smith, Will Smith

[Stars: 1/5]

Have you ever wanted to get a glimpse inside the lives of Will Smith and his family? Perhaps you’d be interested to see what kind of home movie they might produce during school holidays? Well – wonder no more. It’s available on home media now, and it’s called After Earth.

The film is set in the future, and humans have fled Earth to settle on a new world named Nova Prime. Will Smith stars as Cypher, a General in charge of the United Ranger Corps. Cypher’s son Kitai (Jaden Smith) wants to follow in his footsteps to become a Ranger. But soon their ship is struck by asteroids and they end up on earth as the only two survivors – home only to baboons and other mutated animals. Kitai must find an emergency beacon and save his injured father.

After Earth is a yawnfest. I couldn’t work out why Will Smith has stooped to this level, and brought his son along for the ride. The film is atrocious – easily the worst film I’ve seen in 2013. It lacks any heart and even Will Smith’s acting is sub-par. The set design looks cheap (even though stats say it wasn’t) and when the film becomes a two-man show, it just turns more dull. Surprisingly too, there is next to no humour in the script – which is hard to believe with The Fresh Prince himself – Will Smith – conceiving the story.

What is interesting about After Earth is the relationship between Cypher and Kitai. Their relationship is tested and develops as the film progresses. Cypher turns from an authoritative and order-yelling Ranger to showing genuine emotion to his son, as a father.

It takes some long (and often cringe-worthy) scenes for this relationship to develop, but it reminded me about our state before God. Due to sin, our relationship with our heavenly Father is broken, but when we come before him in repentance he chooses to forgive us. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, Paul quotes 2 Samuel:

 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

How incredible is it that the God who made us – the Lord of the universe – loves us like a father. Despite our rebellion, he calls us to himself and wants us to be reconciled to him – that’s why he sends us his own Son to die on the cross. Cypher and Kitai have serious issues that will continue on, but when we trust in Jesus, our relationship with our heavenly Father is restored perfectly.

Despite providing some thought on relationships, After Earth is a dud film. I’m giving it just one out of five stars.

After Earth is available now on DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming on Quickflix.


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