After Earth convinced me of two things. First, M. Night Shyamalan has absolutely no business directing a high budget science fiction film. His bland approach at dialogue delivery and his pitiful directing style as of late has absolutely worn out its welcome. Yes, he's made a couple decent movies but after his dreadful Last Airbender movie, I'm shocked and astounded that anyone let him near a production this size. Secondly, Will Smith needs to stop pushing his son's acting career. The kid cannot act and belongs nowhere near a role that requires any form of emotion. His performance in this movie is a dry, uninspired one that is further testament to Shyamalan's lack of control over the stars of his films. Jaden was good as a cute little kid in The Pursuit of Happyness. In After Earth he lacks the charisma needed to carry a film of this size.
In the past, movies about stranded men versus the evils of nature worked very well. But in this instance, it's just a direct spin on almost every science fiction film we've ever seen. Honestly, I struggled to get through After Earth. It's not that its an absolutely horrendous movie. It's just got that M. Night Shyamalan feel that never delivers something as grand as the initial idea. This could have been a much better movie under the control of a more focused director. After Earth starts out slow, trudges along, and finally ends with an absolutely predictable ending that closely resembles a story about a little Hobbit and his safely guarded ring. Trust me. I'm not spoiling anything. You'll know it when you see it.
As I've said before, I'm an admitted sci-fi addict. The premise of a great science based action movie gets me hyped and motivated to get to the theater. In the case of After Earth I was more than let down. There's a reason this wasn't advertised as a Shyamalan movie. It's like almost everything else he's made. It promises one thing and delivers another. In the case of After Earth, it's a boring, predictable mess that should have been turned over to a more capable director with a pedigree in summer blockbusters.
-review by Chris George