After Earth, the new sci-fi adventure starring father and son team Will and Jaden Smith, has been savaged by critics ahead of its release today (May 31, 2013). Though the premise has the makings of a reasonable sci-fi movie – two guys stranded on earth years after civilization – somewhere along the line something has gone very, very wrong. Perhaps the blame lies with M. Night Shyamalan, a director who is on an uncomfortably bad run with the critics that shows no signs of slowing up.
The movie follows Will Smith as Cypher Raige, a stern general who is tasked with a peacekeeping mission on earth, one thousand years after humanity settled elsewhere. Under the general’s stewardship is a young teenager named Kitai – also his son – who helps with the mission though all too regularly finds himself in trouble with the various beasts that still inhabit earth.
Holding a dismal score of just 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, After Earth has come in for some heavy, heavy criticism. Sure, the critics may be having their usual fun with Shyamalan (The Last Airbender etc) though there really isn't a positive word to be found. Joe Morgensten of the Wall Street Journal asked, “Is "After Earth" the worst movie ever made?” while Betsy Sharkey of the L.A. Times wrote, “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.”
Watch the 'After Earth' Trailer:
Manohla Dargis of the New York Times thinks she may have found the reason why After Earth really is that bad, “Mr. Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, are producers on "After Earth," which suggests that there was no one on the production who could really say no to him.”
97% of the 45,000 that voted on Rotten Tomatoes wanted to see the movie, indicating that while a critical disaster, ‘After Earth’ will keep the Will Smith box-office wagon trucking.
M. Night Shymalan [L] Looking Pleased With Himself At The 'After Earth' Premiere. Oh, and There's Jada-Pinkett Smith [R], She's Smiling Too, Sort Of