Hey there MMT family! How many of you have already checked out the new Will & Jaden Smith joint, After Earth? I would really love to hear your feedback, as I’m a little on the fence about this one. For those who haven’t seen the trailer, Jaden Smith stars as Kitai Raige, who crash lands on Earth with his hero, warrior father Cypher (Will Smith) 1,000 years after the planet is declared “uninhabitable” for humans and all creatures remaining on the planet have evolved to “kill” humans. Based off a story written by Will Smith, who designed the story to be a trilogy and subsequent vehicle for son Jaden, the screenplay was co-written by the film’s director M. Knight Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs).
Okay, so those are a few basics now let’s get to my thoughts. First, I’m extremely proud of Will Smith and his whole Overbrook Entertainment production team, including Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, brother- in- law Caleeb Pinkett, and business partner James Lassiter. The trailers and anticipation built for this movie was on point and I had very high expectations; not only because of the former but also due to the elder Smith’s reputation as a box-office phenom. My love for I Am Legend and Hancock also added to the suspense. Although I do believe Will created a great story, I wasn’t as enamored with the screen version. I felt the story lulled at times, even with a short 100 minute run-time. Yet, I did find myself rooting for young Jaden, excuse me Kitai, on his mission to signal for help after his father is injured in the crash landing (FYI: that’s not a spoiler, it’s on the official website!).
I believe part of the let down for me was the fact that Jaden carried a lot of the movie versus his father, who took a back seat but is still very much a pivotal part of the film. I believe Jaden has already proven his ability as an actor, the Karate Kid remake was phenomenal, but this was a huge sci-fi/action undertaking and his overall performance was moderate. In contrast, I did appreciate the father/son struggle within the film and the natural chemistry between both Smith men complimented that element of the story nicely.
What I loved? The CGI was really cool, Sophie Okonedo (The Secret Life of Bees, Hotel Rwanda) is always a dramatic force and Will Smith didn’t disappoint with what was required. Well maybe he did with that horrible accent! I hated the accents in this movie! Some folk had them, some folk didn’t… I don’t know, apparently we left Earth and 1/2 of us adopted really bad accents in space, LOL! Also, Zoe Kravitz (yes, baby girl of that super sexy..eh-hem…of Lenny!) had a good cameo as Kitai’s sister Senshi.
If I’m completely honest, I will note that Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was mostly assessed as the least favorable episode of the franchise, but that didn’t deter me from giving it and the others a chance. I think I’ll give this After Earth series the same courtesy, considering it was really cool watching two African-American heroes on the screen in a sci-fi fantasy flick. I’m hoping it does well enough that those sequels come to fruition. I really would enjoy seeing what next becomes of the young Kitai Raige character, and how Jaden develops him.
Alright family, those are my thoughts. After Earth was released nationwide in theaters today May 31st. Please stop back and leave a thought or two about the film when you check it out!
Until next thought, Thomasena