Film review: After Earth (6 out of 10)

Jaden Smith in After Earth
Jaden Smith in After Earth

Director M. Night Shyamalan has never really reached the dizzy heights of his first film The Sixth Sense and After Earth is no exception.

Even with Will Smith adding help and encouragement behind the scenes as well as in front, this is still only a half-decent sci-fi thriller.

However, what keeps its head above water are solid performances from the Smith father and son team.

Young Jaden in particular impressesive, especially as the bulk of the movie rests on his shoulders.

The problem with sci-fi films set way off in the future is that obviously a great deal of history has to be related to the audience before the actual story can begin.

I have to confess a lot of the back story flashed past me in those first few minutes. In fact, afterwards looking at the official website for the film there may have been a better plot in this precursor to the main action.

After centuries of abusing the planet with pollution etc, Earth has become an unpleasant place to live. So we all whisk off to another planet, only to face up against some unplesant aliens who take exception to us.

After years of war they develop some ugly monsters designed to sniff us out and wipe us off the planet.

However, thanks to a bunch of space rangers we sort them out too. Leading the way is General Cypher Raige (Will Smith).

He and his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) go on a training mission and crash on a hostile planet - Earth.

Will Raige father and son overcome all the odds and get rescued and even forge a close bond that is missing?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many surprises.

The action is good and the CGI animals are OK, plus the landscapes are pretty impressive.

Having a real-life father and son works a treat as the closeness is evident between the two by the end.

Overall, it’s a reasonable attempt at a thriller with an emotional element which will enhance Jaden Smith’s reputation.

Film details: After Earth (12A) 100mins

Director: M Night Shyamalan

Starring: Will and Jaden Smith

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley

Steve Payne