After Earth – Review

After Earth


Review by T M Zimmerman



After Earth – the 2013 summer “action” sci-fi movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan, written by Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan; original story by Will Smith. This summer “action” sci-fi chronicles the father Cypher Raige’s (Will Smith) and son Kitai Raige’s (Jaden Smith) struggle to survive a crash landing on earth 1000 years after humans escaped the planet.

During the crash Cypher (Will Smith) suffers an injury rendering him unable to leave the wreckage. It’s up to his son, Kitai, to venture out into the dangerous regions of earth to find the ship’s emergency tracking device and signal for help.

Packed away in the ship’s cargo is Ursa, an alien monster with the ability to track humans by sensing fear.


The story line builds upon a strained relationship between an absentee father and a son continually trying to earn his father’s acceptance. Confronted with the reality that his son is his only chance of survival Cypher is convinced he can guide his son via high tech gadgets thru the ruthless and dangerous world know as earth to locate the emergency tracking device … did I mention Ursa, the fear sensing alien monster, survived the crash landing and is lose on the planet.

Short of brief encounters with dangerous baboons, a large eagle, a leach, tigers, and Ursa this movie lacks … action! Earth is made out to be a very dangerous … yep just imagine a Mel Brooks flick … earth with yellow tape wrapped around it and space signs noting “do not enter”.  The scenery is more indicative of a travel channel segment on the jungles of South America.

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Fighting for survival, Kitai realizes he must go against his father’s orders, trust his own instincts and overcome his own fears.

Ultimately this movie is more about a kid’s “rite of passage”. Great advice for Will Smith … sit back and let your kids find their way in the biz.  Now Jaden will have to defend his role in this movie until a more suitable role comes along.

I had the opportunity to screen After Earth with my son who was very excited to see the flick.  We both agree an important ingredient for successful sci-fi action films is an element of believability.

What mother would let her only son go on a space trip with his Dad knowing Ursa (the fear sensing alien monster) is part of the ship’s cargo?  REALLY?   

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After Earth is distributed by Columbia Pictures and available on IMAX.

One Response to “After Earth – Review”

  1. Glen Wilson says:

    Maybe mom wanted her son and his father to die too (it happens sometimes even today) ?

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