Thursday, June 13, 2013

"After Earth": the concept seems a little bit artificial

While I get the point about courage, I didn’t see a whole lot of point to M. Nigh Shyamalan’s “After Earth”, which is largely a two-person set piece between father (Cypher, played by Will Smith)  and son. Kitai (Jaden Smith), said to be 14.  
Now 14 years is old enough to be hero, and Katai does that, finally finding the beacon, in the face of some bizarre monster out of Toilken.  Earlier, he has fended off wild animals of various kinds, programmed to kill humans a thousand years after man was evacuated because of some environmental abuse.  The big cats are not as redeemable as Richard Parker.  But one of the ravens is a character.
Cypher sits on his space ship with two broken thighs (demonstrated in computer graphics, as well as the self-surgery), directing his son on how to survive medically.  Yes, there are some interesting flashbacks with other characters. 
Some earlier scenes show life on Nova Belle or whatever the other planet was—looking like Utah, with space launch pads built into the cliffs. The place looked moderately interesting.  But this film reminds me of “Oblivion” and has similar problems:  an artificial plot in a symbolic world, and we want to know how it got to be this way.
The official site (Columbia and Overbrook) is here. I saw it on a large screen (though not Imax) in a Regal complex. 

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