Why you shouldn’t buy After Earth on Blu Ray
Who decided this barely sci-fi, almost Will Smithless, Scientology propaganda should be made into a film? What happened to the back story that is more exciting than the film? Why is Will Smith’s son (for we shall not speak his name) always frowning?
These are the questions you will ask yourself if you go out and buy After Earth on Blu Ray (or any other format for that matter). So don’t do it. Don’t even pirate it; it’s a waste of megabytes.
If you’ve seen After Earth at the cinema and you enjoyed it then of course this article is not for you. You should go out and buy After Earth. And then you should stab yourself with a pointy stick as punishment for having a terrible taste in films.
The Plot (I suppose that is what you could call it)
A military father and his teenage son crash land on Earth one thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity to abandon Earth for a new home planet. It is down to the son to save them by trekking across the hostile terrain guided by the voice of his injured father. He encounters multiple creatures that have evolved or been engineered to kill humans on his way to recover and activate a rescue-beacon.
Sounds ok doesn’t it? But if you take away the fact that the “cataclysmic events” aren’t explained then all you’ve got is Will Smith’s son going from point A to point B with a rain stick sword (WHY ARE THERE NO GUNS?!) to use a beacon. The plot, written by Smith, won’t be winning any Oscars.
Scientology Propaganda? Surely that’s far-fetched?
The references to scientology are rife in After Earth – there are certainly far too many for it to be deemed a coincidence. To understand the references let’s look at an example I pinched from the Next Movie blog:
“Scientologists use a process called “auditing” — which was created by Hubbard in his bestselling tome “Dianaetics” — to re-experience traumatic events from their past in order to lessen the burden caused by those memories. A trained auditor guides the patient through these memories, giving them orders that help them understand and overcome their emotional barriers in order to “clear” their mind.”
Sound familiar? Will Smith, the trained auditor, guiding his son across hostile terrain, asking him to clear his mind of any thoughts of fear (because Aliens smell fear, don’t you know) – come on Willy!
You’d think, given the basic premise of Scientology, Will Smith and Tom cruise would be able to knock together a decent sci-fi between them, but alas it isn’t to be.
What would have been better?
I watched After Earth, despite reading the negative reviews, because I figured its Will Smith, its a Sci-Fi, it can’t be that bad can it? But it was. I think this shall forever be known as Wild, Wild West syndrome – the stubbornness that forces you to watch a Will Smith film against your will.
If the film had more of Will Smith and less of his son (still nameless), at least 10 minutes of the film explaining why the Earth is so baron (rather than 10 seconds) and had some remnant of a plot twist it might have been ok.
Instead what you get is a plot starved of any mysticism, devoted to references to Scientology, which leaves the audience feeling deflated and disappointed. What’s more, if I’m paying to see Will Smith, I’m paying to see his charisma and screen presence. If you need someone to play Cypher Raige, a fearless soldier, devoid of emotion, then you might as well cast Jean Claude Van Damme.
Save your money and go and pick up Oblivion out of the bargain bin. At least Will Smith’s scientology buddy Tom Cruise knows how to make a half-decent sci-fi.