Movie Review: After Earth

Will Smith, left, and Sophie Okonedo star in Columbia Pictures' "After Earth," also starring Jaden Smith.
Will Smith, left, and Sophie Okonedo star in Columbia Pictures' "After Earth," also starring Jaden Smith.

No-one likes to see a star fall from the heavens.

Will Smith tried so hard for his 14-year-old son Jaden, giving him the central role in a sci-fi adventure movie that is as predictable as it is dull.

What started out as a funny idea for a camping-trip-gone-wrong comedy ends up as a $130million hike through virgin territory, accompanied by CGI monsters, bad news baboons and tigerish predators.

One thousand years after humans evacuated this wasted planet, Chypher Raige (Smith Snr) crash lands his space craft after being caught in an asteroid storm.

Everyone is killed except himself, his son Kitai (Smith Jr) and a vicious man-eating hybrid that feeds off the scent of fear.

Chypher has two broken legs and assorted wounds which means he spends the rest of the movie bleeding in a chair while Kitai travels over 100 miles through designer jungle to find a homing beacon that fell off the ship.

That’s it – boy running, man telling him what to do with the help of futuristic communication devices.

Yawns on toast make for a bland repast.

No fun, no feelings.

Lectures on bravery in sombre tones from Chypher in a weird faux Southern accent, as Kitai does the physical, makes this a one boy show.

But Jaden is not ready to carry a film of this size and he’s not yet an actor.

M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village) was brought in to direct. It’s the first time he hasn’t made his own film from his own screenplay.

He tries his best but the plot is such a clunker there is little he can do.

Chypher tells Kitai, “Don’t get me wrong. Danger is real. Fear is a choice.”

In which case, on a Friday night, choose another movie.