Saturday, June 08, 2013

After Earth

Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 7th June, 2013
Time : 103 minutes
Director : M Night Shyamalan; Writer :Will Smith; Music : Toshi and Sarin Sabri
Starring : Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoe Kravitz

While I would give this film full points for build-up and its central premise – a young boy has to travel a 100 kms in hostile territory (happens to be Earth) to save himself and his wounded father – the film just passes you by without making any sort of impact, with a cloud of predictability looming large over it.

Earth is now abandoned. Overrun with animals who feed on humans. And the Ursas, who detect their prey via fear. Will Smith is badly injured, his legs broken as their flight crashes on Earth during a routine training mission. The tail of the plane, some 100 kms away, contains an emergency beacon which is the only hope of survival for him and his son.

One of the things hanging unresolved between the father, Will Smith (a hero, Commander in Chief of the humans) and his young son, is the death of Zoe, Jaden’s sister, who dies protecting him against an Ursa. Jaden beats himself up for not doing more at that moment to protect her, Will Smith beats himself up for not having done more to be there.

The events that unfold , well, are as you would expect them to, with almost no surprises or twists. One of the reasons the film doesn’t really work is that Jaden is at that awkward in-between age. Not really old enough to be a hero, have a mind of his own and not young enough to make it really interesting, dependent on his father’s remotely driven advice.

Its well shot, lush green forests, nature at its pristine best. But lacks any sort of tension, compelling narrative to make it grow on you. And that’s a strange thing to be saying about a M Night Shyamalan film, even one that’s written by Will Smith.

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