“After earth” is highly cheesy

Even in its opening moments, “After Earth” is filled with cheesy and cliché Sci-Fi tropes of years past. Earth is ruined by pollution, forcing humans to relocate to a conveniently close and inhabitable planet. While on this planet they must fight for survival against a race of malevolent race aliens that are only mentioned once and have no significance to the main plotline. These aliens make use of an extremely generic and primitive beast called an Ursa, which is technically blind but can smell human fear. That’s right, the main antagonist, if you can call it an antagonist, can smell the pheromones secreted by humans when they fear for their lives. This absolute stinker of a back-story sets up the rest of “After Earth”, which hardly improves.

The main plot of the film is centered on Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith), son of military leader Cypher Raige (Will Smith), and their adventure while stranded on the long abandoned Earth. Things are complicated even further as Cypher is crippled and cannot walk, as well as an Ursa being transported by the ship being set loose. The basic premise is interesting enough and brings some tension, but stutters in its multiple attempts at character development. For example a laughably bad attempt is Kitai’s interactions with a giant eagle halfway through the film. The un-dynamic duo begins their interactions with the eagle attempting to kill Kitai and after a series of ridiculously cheesy events develop a friendship. This was meant to show Kitai allowing him to make friends, but just serves as almost laughably bad scapegoat for Kitai surviving a near death encounter. Finally, the film’s ending is extremely predictable in an unexpected turn of events from the master of bad plot twists, M. Night. Shyamalan.

The acting in “After Earth” follows a path very similar to the plot’s, one of little variety or interest. To describe the range of emotion in the film, one might say that Will Smith has one emotion, and Jaden has the other. This doesn’t exactly hurt Will Smith’s character, which is meant to play a cold and collected father, but makes him seem quite two dimensional. Jaden has a character that is meant to go through a life changing journey by himself in the forests of Earth, yet he is introduced as a whiny wreck, and ends the movie as a whiny wreck. Around his father, Cypher, Jaden’s character strives to gain recognition for his actions, but never really accomplishes anything. Despite being the main protagonist, he is less likeable than occasional soldiers, who can at least play the army grunt stereotype well.

If there is one saving grace in “After Earth”, it’s the CGI, which openly flaunts its over 130 million dollar budget. Though the environments of After Earth never stray from large forests and dark caves, highlights such as an active volcano and a trip to Niagara Falls add nice flair. It is a slight let down that “After Earth” seemed to entirely avoid ancient human structures, aside from the ruins of a miscellaneous dam.

“After Earth” is for all intents and purposes, a flop. Though the beautiful CGI of Earth goes to some lengths to redeem the film, it doesn’t come close to doing enough. “After Earth” has done something that is almost unheard of in modern film, it has become a movie so bad and cheesy, that it’s worth seeing just to experience the horribleness it brings.