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After Earth: Movie Review

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“Danger is real. Fear is a choice.” That’s the mantra of After Earth, the new M. Night Shyamalan-directed film starring Will Smith and his son, Jaden. This father-son story set in a CGI-created world attempts to examine the frailty of fear and the power of one’s choice.

After Earth carries with it a decidedly humanistic look at overcoming fear, concluding that we can save our own skins through our sheer will to survive. The power is within us, so says this movie. After Earth strongly warns that we will destroy our planet beyond repair, which may alienate some viewers.


Kitai and his father, Cypher, find themselves stranded on Earth after their ship crash lands on the uninhabitable planet. It’s been 1,000 years since mankind escaped the apocalypse. Injured, Cypher sends Kitai on an almost impossible mission to signal for help. Facing incredible beasts and unforgiving elements, Kitai must rely on his father’s direction and his own fortitude to survive.


At the end of the credits, audiences will see that M. Night Shyamalan’s new sci-fi flick, After Earth, is the brainchild of actor Will Smith. Shyamalan heard the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s idea and just had to direct it. The Oscar-nominated director of The Sixth Sense and Signs also co-wrote the screenplay with Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli).

Good exposition sets up this sci-fi story well. The 100-minute movie is jam packed, fast moving and has a few, scary surprises. Shyamalan makes you jump. While the story itself isn’t bad, somewhere along the way, After Earth falls short. The film’s willpower message distracts from an engaging look at a troubled father/son relationship. And the forced accents Jaden and Will’s characters use don’t help.

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some disturbing images, After Earth is not suitable for young audiences. Parents should take into consideration some of the scary alien scenes the film has to offer, including one where an alien’s talon pierces a young woman through the chest.

The father/son message focusing on obedience and trust is well developed and the CGI is incredible, but these pluses are overshadowed by the film's weaknesses.


After Earth is shorter than most action/adventure movies, which helps. But, is it worth the 100 minutes you will spend watching it? Not sure the answer is yes on this one.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's