Are you a huge fan of sci-fi adventure epics? Do you insist on seeing every movie Will Smith makes? Are you one of the last remaining M. Night Shyamalan fans? Well, then we have some bad news, because After Earth appears to be a train wreck of epic proportions. But if you just love reading snarky movie reviews, then the news is good indeed. Here's what people are saying:
- "Is After Earth the worst movie ever made?" asks Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. Heck, "it doesn't seem like a movie at all, but a sermon." Will Smith's character endlessly pontificates at his son, uttering his "almost literally unspeakable dialogue" very .... very .... slowly … for … some … reason. "I've never seen a movie that moves so slowly, or takes itself so seriously."
- By the end "you’re actively cheering for a teenage kid to get eaten by a tiger," writes Laremy Legel at Film.com. "I didn't plan to feel this way … but you did this to me, After Earth," by making your characters so horrifically unlikeable—one's a jerk, the other's a "nincompoop." The story, meanwhile, "stupefies us with nonsense, such little thought and logic went into this idea that it can’t even be considered a rough draft."
- Lou Lumenick at the New York Post gives it one star, and it's only getting that much "because Smith's longtime enablers at Sony apparently encouraged him to whittle this humorless sci-fi epic down from a much longer movie." Even now, the movie is likely to put you to sleep. After this (and his last decade of duds), "director M. Night Shyamalan would be lucky to get a gig directing traffic."
- But Dana Stevens at Slate cuts the film a tiny amount of slack. "Once you accept the elemental simplicity of After Earth’s plot ... you can stop resenting the movie for all the things it’s not (a rollicking summer actioner, a typical Shyamalan twist-based narrative)," she writes. And "there's a compelling creepiness to this quasi-mythical quest tale." But Jaden Smith simply isn't ready to "carry an entire action movie on his slender shoulders."