Despite being sans any supposedly revelatory twist ending — is every inch an M. Night Shyamalan film. This is why you’ve barely seen Shyamalan’s name attached to the film, as After Earth has instead been advertised as your standard Will Smith Summer sci-fi blockbuster. What’s ultimately odd and more than a little fascinating about the movie is that it’s hardly the crowd-pleasing actioner it purports to be. Instead, this is an occasionally grim, surprisingly serious, and unfortunately shallow attempt at science fiction grandiosity. After Earth takes place well into the future, where Earth has become uninhabitable, and humans live far away on a planet unfortunately infested with giant, murderous nasties who are bred to detect fear. The film revolves around the improbably named, hard-nosed military man Cypher Raige (Will Smith), and his fearful, angsty son Kitai (Smith’s son Jaden), who’ve crashed on an inhospitable Earth. With Cypher injured, Kitai must trek through various dangers — including one of the aforementioned alien beasties — in order to save himself and his father. Smith the elder takes it all too seriously, while Smith the younger just isn’t much of an actor, but then this ultimately isn’t much of a movie.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: Will Smith, Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan
Producer: Caleeb Pinkett, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, James Lassiter and M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoë Isabella Kravits, Lincoln Lewis, Sacha Dhawan, Chris Geere, Isabelle Fuhrman, Kristofer Hivju and David Denman