Film Review: After Earth

After Earth
After Earth stars Will Smith. This film started like a 1950s newsreel. Earth is no longer habitable and a new planet has been found.

The theme was like Starship Troopers, as bugs on the new world tried to kill the settlers. These bugs can smell fear! How? The explanation given wouldn’t appease a nosey five year old. They can detect faster heartbeats, sweat and brainwaves? People’s heart don’t just beat faster when they’re afraid. Marathon runners would be easy pickings and downright liars would be mincemeat according to these rules! Not to mention day dreamers and heavy sleepers!

In the new world there’s no doors and windows with glass. That’s just bizarre. Sheets are all that’s needed which was stupid on a planet infested with man eating bugs! D’oh!

Will Smith was very subdued in this role as General Cypher Raige, whether by choice or direction I’m not sure. It blunted the drama of the story and also dulled that he actually cared.

His daughter Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) has died defending his son (from one of the huge bugs found, which is called an Ursa) by ordering the then eight year old boy into a bubble so the attacking bug couldn’t smell his fear.

Years later and the father blames his son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) for staying in the bubble. Apparently he should’ve grabbed a sword and killed the huge blood thirsty beast. (Gee I thought my father was hard on me for not doing my homework!)

So the mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) makes the father take his son along for his last mission before retirement. It won’t be an easy ride as there’s a Ursa on board – restrained in some sort of shell, which is also tied down.

Kitai has recently failed to become a ranger, a fact that doesn’t go down well with dad. Now it’s very predictable that a one in a million asteroid storm should hit the ship. They -warp?- out of the storm but the ship is badly damaged. They asked the computer to choose a planet. But they do crash and father and son are the sole survivors… or are they?

Now this is our Earth, which is now quarantined. It’s overrun by killing creatures. (Which look a bit like the animals used on Primeval! Also the Ursa look like a future predator). I didn’t understand why the computer chose a quarantined planet? It’s off limits. They asked the computer for a suitable planet – so one slapped with a quarantine rule full of vicious creatures would not be suitable!

That would like asking David Cameron who needs to visit the ‘little politicians room’ to gate crash a Labour Party meeting as they’ve got the only toilet in range. It’s going to cause trouble and so is not the best solution.

So have we humans not evolved decent AI? It was operating on battery power as they forgot to plug in? Google was down? And if the asteroid storms are that bad why have the ships not been upgraded to withstand them? All the bridge crew knew about these storms.

Now the tail and cockpit sections have split apart and have landed miles from each other. When they discovered the beacon they had to call for help was broken – (through a solid steel case I will add!) Cypher was flat in tone as he said to his son, “You have to get the other beacon from the tail section or we die.”

Great news! Not! Leading the boy via talking, as both of his legs are broken. They communicated via a weird armband with a projecting LCD screen. Now the forearm isn’t the safest place for a projection system to be placed. Also the screen being the size of an I-pad was just odd, it was too big.

The journey was a cue for more hardships. Kitai threw a rock at a monkey, not a good idea when there’s a whole pack of them nearby. He had to jump in a river to escape them, and got bitten by a some form of poisonous leech.

Dad had to direct how to administer the antidote and it was done like he was instructing him how to build a table. I wanted to shout ‘Hey dad, it’s your son, hello! Don’t you care?’

The gritty nature made this seem like ‘Eastenders – The Next Generation’. I was half expecting Kitai to find the abandoned Queen Vic, over run by jungle vines and weep on the bar and moan about his life.

Now surely it can‘t get any worse for our beleaguered mini hero? Well it can, the Earth freezes every night even in the climate zones and it wasn’t explained how this could be unless the planet has shifted orbit? Plus if very hot during the day and then freezing later, that would mean desert terrains dominating the globe. But then how do all the animals survive?

Katar must reach certain geo-thermal zones each night or risk freezing. Now the cockpit is ruined but the computer can still map the entire terrain and show pictures of approaching threats for Katar and even tell the Dad how his legs are broken and whether a bypass might work or not. That’s some computer! Even the lights stayed on.

A giant bird saved Katar when he fell asleep after being bitten by the sea bug and administered the antidote. The bird pulled him to safety and built a nest over him so he didn’t freeze at night but it died the next day due to cold exposure. Could this be any more miserable?

I don’t watch EastEnders because of the constant doom and gloom. This really wasn’t my thing at all.

The ending was good though (I won’t spoil it) but for me it didn’t justify the journey to get there. 5/10 from me.

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from VISO Trailers

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About Erzi Paris

Erzi Paris lives in London and loves writing, going to the theatre and watching films. Always abreast of celebrity news, his biggest hope is to be a reporter. He likes keep-fit too. His favourite authors are Michael Crichton, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Rosalind Miles.
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