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Film review: After Earth

by Benazir Anwar

Age certification: 12A

Written by: M. Night Shyamalan, Gary Whitta

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Smith

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: *

M. Night Shyamalan may have a string of popular and well known films attached to his name, but the quality of these films seems to be rapidly deteriorating. His latest film, After Earth is dull and disappointing, especially to fans of the sci-fi genre and the lead, Will Smith.

Years into the future, having destroyed Earth, the human race have relocated to a new planet. Earth is forgotten and labelled a danger zone, a place to be avoided at all costs. But after crash landing on the planet, Cypher (Will Smith) and his son, Kitai (Jaden Smith) must  fight for their survival. With two broken legs though, Will Smith hardly contributes to any of the film’s action. Instead he remains seated for 90% of the film’s running time, with Jaden taking the lead, making his way across the planet to find a device which will get them home.

There are plenty of points in the film which give it the potential to be something entertaining, however Jaden’s acting and the overwhelming sense of forced dramatics do nothing for the film. Not even when he’s being chased by monkeys, fighting lions and close to dying after being briefly paralysed by what appears to be a poisonous slug. Perhaps the only point of interest is the alien creatures, the ‘Ursa’, blind and able to detect people by their fear. But even then, they lack any intelligence and are a generic CGI creation.

Sci-fi can usually be considered an entertaining and action packed genre, but this film does not deliver in any aspect. Instead, the audience is left bored by the lifeless story and the lack of chemistry between the two leads makes it a grudgingly annoying experience, despite their real life father/son relationship.

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