Sunday, 23 June 2013

262, After Earth

Its fair to say that Will & Jaden Smith have both had their string of successes - Will for me has too many to mention and Jaden shone in Karate Kid.  Together, Pursuit of Happiness was a stand out tear jerker so to have them both back together in 'After Earth' left me wondering if they were still able to pull it off.

Well, luckily - the relationship between them in the movie is close to written off anyway which helps, minimising the element of gushing parent to perfect child - Will is the military commander, barely home enough to raise his own offspring and Jaden - determined to prove to everyone he is every bit his fathers son - with little acknowledgement back in return.

The movie is set way in the future - a Millennium after the human race was forced to leave Earth due to finally exhausting the planet for all its worth.  On an exploratory mission that goes bad - Will & Jaden find themselves crash landed on an abandoned alien world - as the only two survivors and with Cypher (Will) injured - it falls to Kitai (Jaden) to trek across a dangerous and unknown territory to the rest of the wreckage to collect the homing beacon that will bring the rescue ships in to pick them both up.  That world - Earth.  But now, everything has evolved to kill humans (even the cute monkeys!) so good luck with that!

As for Jaden - he is still young so can be excused for what I'm about to say but as for daddy Will - he's done far better work.  The acting comes across a little wooden which is sad as they both have the potential to be far more captivating than they come across and I'm not sure if that's due to the characters being far too over involved than they needed to be for a movie that only lasts 90 minutes.  A high point though, its old school timescale make for a snappy beginning and a fast paced story with little room for a slow in the action.

The special effects are pretty impressive and the CGI used for the wild animals tracking Kitai are smooth as silk with the story is well thought out and believable.  Jaden pulled off stroppy teenager to a tee, something even more believable if you saw him on the UK Graham Norton show where he came across more as 'brat boy' than 'saviour' however even Will let the adoring parent side slip out which made for awful viewing but they more than made up for it with the induced 90's Rap featuring Jazzy Jeff and Carlton from the Fresh Prince - best TV viewing ever!

As for the rest of the movie cast - there is no one else to really talk about.  The bulk takes place between father and son with Dad talking Son through the dangers he will face and being his eyes and ears back at the wreckage.  The tag line for this movie - "Danger is Real, Fear is a choice" (or something like that) sits well throughout the film resulting in a coming of age for young Kitai who even after a few rows with Cypher - manages to come good in the end.

This will not go down in my mind as the greatest movie Will has ever made but with so many success stories under his belt already - he's allowed one or two flops a decade - and on the flip side - this still makes Wild Wild West look awful!