After Earth (2013) – By Eric Lampaert
After Earth just annoyed me. It didn’t make any sense. I waited in the dark cinema for information, for a reason, why this film didn’t make sense, and then saw his name appear on the screen. M. Night Shyamalan. Director, which I do like, but is notorious for making films that irritate people. His name wasn’t even mentioned in the trailers; perhaps a good thing. Otherwise I would’ve gone in with pre-conceived ideas. “What’s the twist? Do they also see ghosts?” (This is funny if you’ve seen After Earth & The Sixth Sense. If you haven’t, it is funny, so shut up and read on)
Please bare in mind, my ambivalence towards this film might be my problem. It’s not you; it’s me. But maybe, just maybe, it’s the film. I always go in the cinema wanting to enjoy the film. And I am all up for suspending reality, as long as the World you have created makes sense. Unfortunately, the only believable thing in After Earth was that Will Smith plays the father of a teenage boy that looks a lot like him! It’s uncanny. You really believe that they’re related. I think that is down to great casting. Well done.
But everything else was laughable. The father and son duo crash land on Earth a thousand years after humanity had to escape it due to environmental reasons. Kitai, the son, then embarks on a perilous journey to retrieve a beacon on the ship’s tail, which crash-landed miles away. So far so good. Now strap in to lick a few flakes off this movie’s eczema.
Flake one: The human race has the kind of technology to travel light years from their new home, the Nova Prime to planet Earth, but they can’t replace a veteran ranger’s crippled leg so he can stand up to salute his commanding officer. (Although, you learn that a hug from a father is worth more than a salute from a commanding officer. Beautiful and boring)
We have fake legs now! In 2013! But none in post-3013?! When the exodus happened, did humans just forget to bring all prosthetic limbs with them, and in turn overlook the very idea of plastic legs? Oh and they also forgot guns. All guns. Swords will become better than bazookas in the future. Screw you Americans gangs, and hurray for our British ones!
Flake 2: At the beginning of the film, it’s suggested that humans destroyed Earth with their resource-hungry ways, and now its atmosphere has no oxygen. Fine. Sure. Why not? But, and bare with me here because I’m no biology teacher, but that would kill all other animals and plants right? Because, and stop me if I’m wrong, plants gobble up carbon dioxide and shit out oxygen by doing some photosynthesis all inside them. Yeah? WRONG! In only one thousand years, plants have evolved to somehow not do that anymore. And same goes to the animals, which brings me nicely onto another crispy flake.
Flake 3: Cypher (Big Willy – No. Not because he’s black…. You’re terrible for thinking that…) tells his son that everything on Earth “has evolved to kill humans”, which I believe is a direct quote from Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species. That’s not exactly how evolution works, but sure, once humans disappear, plants and animals will take over, and a thousand years without the most evil and dangerous predator around (Homo Sapien) will most probably mean animals get bigger.
However, I doubt animals will develop sentience & gratitude like some sort of Disney bastard. I don’t want to tell you exactly what happens in case you go see it, but at some point, an animal will help the human as a way to say thanks, which will make you so angry you’ll probably get out of the seat, throw floor popcorn in someone’s face and be escorted off the premises by the teenage security guard! (Who you might stab!)
Flake 4: So there’s no oxygen, and at night, Kitai has to take shelter because the Earth freezes over apart from the odd heat spot… He finds shelter in a cave harboring Cro-Magnon style paintings of horses and deer, typical of European cave paintings. However, I am just speculating on location. Either way, are cave paintings really all that is left of human evidence? A thousand years is not enough to get rid of everything we created; Styrofoam cups, the Eiffel tower, Justin Bieber cyborgs? And how often do you walk around nowadays and stumble in a pre-historic Tate? The paintings were all that was left?! (By this point, I re-entered the cinema, chased closely by the teenage security guard. I see this, which made me so angry, I slapped him with a wet fish).
That’s just a few things that annoyed me. I could go on, but I haven’t got time. I’m going to stare at some G8 protesters for fun, because at least they are fighting to avoid After Earth form ever happening. Somehow. But would the planet be worse off run by massive baboons? Somehow I doubt that…
Written by Eric Lampaert