Taking place a thousand years in the future when humanity have relocated to another world, “After Earth” follows young “Kitai” played by Jaden Smith who wants to be a “Ranger” just like his father. Kitai‘s father, “Cypher” played by Will Smith is seen as a hero to many, but to Kitai he is the father that he does not really know. Cypher is always away fighting on the field and rarely is home to spend time with his family. Encouraged by his wife Sophie Okonedo‘s character “Faia”, father and son take upon a journey of bonding on Cypher‘s final mission before retirement. Unfortunately, original plans go astray when an asteroid shower hits their ship and forces their shuttle to crash-land on the nearest available planet they can find, Earth. Together, father and son must learn to get along and work with one another in order to be saved.
I actually really liked After Earth as a film. It some parts it actually moved me to tears. If you’re expecting a high-impact action film, then you will be disappointed because it’s not. Instead, After Earth is a dramatic story of survival, relationships, inner growth, character development and facing your fears. It could also be described as a “coming of age” story as Kitai is potentially forced to grow up, taking responsibility for his life and for the life of his father.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jaden Smith‘s portrayal of “Kitai” being young, mischievous, and longing to be loved, appreciated and respected by his father. What starts off as an odd and awkward relationship between Kitai and Cypherturns into something strong and spiritual when Will Smith‘s “Cypher” stops being a commanding officer and starts being a dad.
I also enjoyed the set design and costuming in the film. Kitai‘s outfit in particular is actually quite amazing. I can only imagine how detailed the concept designs for this film would be and am saddened that there is no art or movie book for me to see these details.
The only part of the film that I was sceptical about was the line, “Everything has evolved to kill humans.” because technically if humanity has indeed left the planet for more than a thousand years, then how can creatures on such a planet evolve to kill what no longer lives there? Besides that, I actually honestly have no complaints with this film. Both on-screen chemistry between actors cannot be denied, understandably we are all aware that both actors are actually related in life, but under no circumstance does this undermined their talents. Jaden Smith in particular is a great actor regardless of who he is staring opposite, especially if it’s his father.
If you enjoy science fiction films that make you think and are more than just action and watching things explode, then After Earth is definitely a film which you should consider. And if you have always longed to be loved, appreciated and respected by your family for who you are, then this film is definitely one that you can relate to. After Earth is flawed, but is still definitely one of the better movies I have seen this year and I say this with no shame. I loved it.