Some time back when I first saw After Earth when it premiered on one of my pay channels, I had a very hard time getting past the first 20 minutes. And I bailed on it. But I had a chance to watch the movie again (there was NOTHING else on TV) and I watched it again and had an interesting epiphany.
Despite his floundering career and string of entertainment disappointments, M. Night Shyamalan, I think, approached the making of After Earth like he did The Last Airbender. If you look at the movie like it was aimed at children, at a youthful audience, it suddenly makes more sense and feels like less the painful failure than I first perceived it to be. And if he didn’t, OMG, WTH?
But if I recall, the marketing felt like it was aimed at the adults of the world and thus, it seemed to fall short of any box office survival, making $61M domestically and $245M worldwide. (Overseas tickets cost more…)
After Earth stars Will Smith as Cypher Raige and Jaden Smith as his son, Kitai Raige.
The story goes that Cypher has this ability to be completely fearless and thus, able to defeat a certain alien beast that senses and locates people only by the fear they exude. His son… not so much.
Cypher, in an attempt to bond with his son, decides to take him along on a simple transit through space, but the trip gets sidelined and ends up crashing on what was once Earth. And all kinds of things have evolved that are simply not friendly. Not to mention that the cargo of the ship also had one of those aliens. (Why we bring our kid along on a ship with one of those death-dealing alien monsters? Meh? Who knows?)
During the crash landing, Cypher is hurt and has to talk Kitai through a journey to find an emergency beacon that came down a few days travel away, in the tail section of the ship. (Everyone else is splattered and dead)
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