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I never intended to watch this, honestly! But on the Malaysian Airlines flight, the on-board entertainment offerings were so poor, there was little choice. I swear, it wasn’t really intentional! Still did it, and see what I got… no, it wasn’t that bad, actually. Not as bad as the critics’ community led one to believe. It was terrible and pointless, no doubt, but I have seen one or two worse films this year alone.

Pointless “After Earth” is to an incredibly high degree, actually. If there  is a message, the message is “appreciate nature, even though it can sometimes kill you”? Or is it rather “obey your elders, and call them ‘Sir’, even if the Queen clearly has not awarded them a knighthood (there being no Queen anymore, I think)”? Or “take care of your kids, and if you’re in a position to give them movie parts, do that to show them the limits of their skills and turn them into humble citizens”?

Independent of plot and message, there is stuff: A spacecraft that crashes, a  boy who has to do some hiking, a monster that is free and angry. The most impressive scene was early on, when Space Ranger’s family life is  shown, and man has there ever been anything as depressing as having a father shouting “Where are we looking when talking to each other??” while you’re already a depressed kid? Action sequences are more or less absent, the production design bounces between shots of rather pretty landscapes and some remote virtual communication screens that stop working when it counts (mercifully cutting short lectures on such profound findings such as “danger is real, fear is a choice”). The acting of the two Smiths is absent in one case (the elder) and a bit embarrassing to watch in the other, which made me wonder why the script writers (had there been any) did not make the boy break his legs, allowing him to fool around with the high-tech equipment on board and sending his father on the stroll to whatever he’s looking for. I’d rather see Will Smith fight angry monkeys than his son…

Anyway, the interesting question remains: what is that Shyamalan has in his safe that ensures producers handing over large amounts of money to make films that are really not good. Not good at all. And not successful either. This is the strangest thing…

One Comment

  1. I don’t really plan on seeing this unless I find myself in a similar situation to yours. Speaking of which, isn’t it a bit odd that they showed a film about a ship crashing on your flight?

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