Saturday, June 1, 2013

After Earth

After Earth, PG-13

1hour 40 minutes

2 stars

There are times when your expectations exceed your abilities.  This happens to Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) in the new film “After Earth.”  He is hoping to become a ranger just as his father, Cypher Raige (Will Smith).  Despite his efforts he falls short and will not advance after his evaluation is finished.  Not living up to his father’s ideals bothers Kitai but he is determined to keep going.

His father is a legend because he is able to “ghost” with alien creatures, Ursa, that track humans by smelling fear.  They use smell since they are blind and cannot see humans.

Kitai has a tough time facing his past.  He has memories of his sister being attacked by an Ursa and killed in their home.   This hinders his ability to be like his father and “ghost” as he does.  

Cypher is a military man and is tough on his son even to a fault.  In an effort to get closer to his son Cypher tells Kitai he will join him on his last mission before he retires.  While traveling to the training grounds their ship is damaged and crashes on earth.  It is 1000 years since humans left the planet so no one knows what to expect.  They are the only survivors and Dad is not in good shape.
The beacon they need to send back to their home planet in located in the tail section of their ship which landed about 100km away from their location.  Kitai must prove he has the ability to accomplish this task.  Oh they also were transporting an Ursa for training purposes, and it is possibly on the loose.

It is interesting that this film uses the theme of living up to an example for its central story, because the film itself is lacking in that department.  The story is a good one and a good idea but some of the plot points do not add up.

For instance the Ursas, they are blind but yet they still can stick a dead body on a sharpened limb to frighten other humans.  Also the environmental message is a little strong.  If you are looking for a political statement from your films then it probably won’t be too bad.  

While the story is a good idea it doesn’t feel complete.  There were times that it felt like the story jumped forward in time.  While the acting was good Will Smith is usually better than this.  It seems his strict father act doesn’t work on film.  He tried to be too serious.  Plus the final battle is definatly done on a green screen stage with tons of CGI.

All in all this can be a good film to see on video when it comes out but probably not good enough to spend the money to see it in theaters.