I can't even remember what the hell I was doing with my life when I was 14. I'm thinking Jaden Smith will remember for the rest of his life.
He very nearly got his own action figure, has an IMDB resume that's not too shabby, and can stroll into a restaurant mere grownup mortals can only dream of, wearing a halloween costume and get served. I can imagine him watch his current summer film and think "this is gonna look amazing on my college application." He's the type of person the paparazzi care to follow around, and he's a couple of years away from this super sweet sixteen party.
It's pretty low-hanging fruit to cry "nepotism," but, remember, his father was a child actor. Will Smith was a child actor that pretty much squandered his child actor money and came back from professional death to carve out an A-list career. I'm thinking a guy that knows it's possible to to dream and achieve crazy dreams is going to want more for his kid. Unfortunately, this quest includes the film "After Earth."
My one burning question throughout this movie was "Who the hell keeps funding M. Night Shyamalan? Really. Didn't they see "Devil?" How did he get money for "Devil" after "The Last Airbender?" There are only detractors and apologists when it comes to that director. This was a bonafide shot at a blockbuster and it was missed.
This dystopian future story describes an earth left a thousand years without human contact. Aliens have tampered with the ecosystem so much it's now poisonous to humankind. Father and son crash onto this poison planet and share a quest to save their lives and return home.
"After Earth" has all the ingredients of a blockbuster: A-list star and son, gorgeous CGI, restrained and innovative costuming and a supersweet weapon. They had this bounty and handed the keys to a director with a really subpar track record. He may have sunk the entire project. If you have downplay the director, you probably shouldn't have hired him in the first place. You would think that Will Smith would be the star of the film, but he really wasn't. The burden of carrying the film rested on the shoulders of a young boy that may be a great actor someday, but hasn't quite gotten there.
My biggest peeve was the sketchy, weird accent the Smiths used. I couldn't even describe it to you. The only thing that irked me more than the accent was the inconsistency. If you're going to foist this random accent on me, you bloody well better keep it up throughout the whole movie.
After all the work that was clearly put into this film, I walked away feeling it was "okay, I guess." It felt a little like a vanity project by a superrich family to teach their son the trade. I didn't feel cheated, but I was definitely underwhelmed. On the upside, it should look good on Jaden's college application.
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