Fanboy Flick Pick: The Big Twist Is That After Earth Doesn't Suck

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm


To break up the one-man show and not put the entire weight of such a massive movie on Jaden, we get plenty of cutbacks to Will, as well as flashbacks to the time Kitai couldn't save his sister, Senshi (Zoe Kravitz) who still appears in visions to him. Kitai is supposed to be a boy at that awkward, whiny age, and this will put a lot of people off - is it the character who's like that, or is it Jaden himself? Just ask Hayden Christensen how that can be. Bear in mind that Shyamalan has never been a laugh riot, but there is humor derived from Cypher being a hardass man of few words (Smith plays him closer to Ali than Agent J). Other moments, though, are on-the-nose earnest with the music to match, and you have to just go with it if this tale is going to work for you.

While I'm not yet entirely convinced that Jaden's stardom is inevitable or fully deserved, perhaps his is the character who should have been named Cypher, as I suspect many younger viewers will project their own personalities onto him. For me, as mentioned earlier, the joy I got from watching this movie is akin to the joy I had as a child going to forests or vast rural landscapes and imagining myself battling aliens across the universe on another world. There's no particular story reason the other world here had to be Earth, as the film's message is less "don't pollute" than "don't be afraid of things" (Just like there's no particular reason the book Moby Dick is invoked, except for the unwritten sci-fi rule that the only book anyone ever reads in the future is Moby Dick). The scenes in outer space are stunning on the big screen, and the production design is unlike anything you've ever seen from this director, who traditionally has preferred minimalism.

I can already sense that the knives are sharpened for this film, which is unfortunate - haters of the director and star (and of nepotism in general) can certainly find things to nitpick, but that's a bit like going to a lush holiday resort and then complaining that the only free beer they have is Coors Light. You can do it, but you miss the bigger picture. If you're looking for original sci-fi that's thought out, dark in places, great to look at and sufficiently action-packed, do you really want to bitch about who's in it?

Stupid question. Of course many people do. Hell, I remember thinking Schwarzenegger's bad acting would ruin Total Recall. How'd that work out, again?

(Cue inevitable comment saying he ruined it. There's gotta be at least one.)

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