LIH EDITORIAL: AFTER EARTH a balanced review

2 Jun

Different from many sites that can only see this film from one vantage point, we’re going to attempt to see reviews of this film by more than one perspective.  These are the list of topics that will likely help this movie unto 2013’s hall of shame.   Though not in this order, we’ll grudgingly process these hot topics for you:

  • M. Night Shyamalan
  • Will Smith
  • Jaden Smith
  • Nepotism

Also we will admit we have not seen this movie ourselves and are depending on the horrible reviews from the likes of “Rotten Tomatoes”, “Deadline”, “Entertainment weekly” and  Before discussing the movie here’s an official film synopsis from the Cinablend website [1]:

A crash landing leaves teenager Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help, facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash. Father and son must learn to work together and trust one another if they want any chance of returning home.


Despite the bad reviews, it probably isn’t fair to predict a career climax for Jaden Smith.  If it is not apparent yet, child acting isn’t really acting school for professional actors.  Some consider the practice only slightly better than extra work yet sites like the late Roger Ebert still tried to remind audiences of the younger Smith’s last two box office successes.

(“The Karate Kid,” “The Pursuit of Happyness”) [2]

I wont belabor the point yet for every

Christian Bale, Drew Barrymore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie Portman” [3]

(actors who were in contention for or won academy awards as adults) the practice frequently doesn’t prove competitive.  Most, who are not exceptionally talented or trained, fail to score in later film work where weaknesses in professionalism can be witnessed better than supporting vehicles.  If Jaden doesn’t choose to get an education like Jodie Foster or Brooke Shields he may choose to continue to allow his parents to steer him toward finer film waters in the future. The decision to pursue child acting may be too complicated to leave to children alone. Consequently few children ever choose this route without the acceptance or pursuit of these opportunities by the parents of these young artists.


For anyone disappointed by the early retirement of Will Smith or his graduation to producer (assuming a directing bid was his ambition), After Earth won’t satisfy.  Many bad reviews claimed the movie was a “vanity project” meaning a studio venture undertaken to please a formerly successful star actor.  SERGIO of’ s Shadow and Act film criticism wing reminded us of another way for Hollywood “A” listers to spoil their children.

Hollywood stars used to buy their children expensive sports cars as gifts. Now they give them $130 million vanity projects to star in. And after seeing the film, I wish Jaden had asked for a Porsche instead too.” [4]

That aside, referring to the opening week box office, “Entertainment weekly” informed us that this gamble on the former “Fresh Princes” part cost him dearly.

But his latest effort, After Earth, landed with a major thud on opening weekend, grossing just $27 million (distributor Sony told outlets it was expecting $35 million before the weekend) and opening in third place with a tepid “B” CinemaScore. [5]

Both Slate and claimed “After Earth” had an unusual scientology genesis or sub text.  Making this reviewer wonder what’s going on in Smith’s workshop.  A former rap music star, some might feel Smith is proving African American “A” listers have as much trouble maturing into post forty roles as Caucasian actresses.  Other than (re) claiming the sequels of his former film franchises, Smith gives us little reason to believe these rumors are false.   The highest earning rap industry graduate, regardless of one film misstep, I think Smith still has it in him to produce another blockbuster.  However I’m not talking about the Barack Obama biopic he’s been pining after in so many interviews.


Thanks to EW writer Grady Smith’s Will Smith career box office synopsis we know like Will smith, most of SHYAMALAN’s best box office victories actually result from the foreign markets.  Box office Mojo reports on what was supposed to be his last career destroying performance, “The Last Air Bender” actually made $40,325,019[6].  In terms of lifetime gross, that’s his third lifetime highest.  At the time I don’t think anyone thought that movie had a chance of looking good in any international cinema showcase.  So the critics’ predictions may be just as wrong regarding him as any other participant on this film.

Before making predictions, let’s not forget the competition.  Sure there was a lot of hype surrounding his early career.  And maybe he hasn’t succeeded as the next Alfred Hitchcock, yet let’s not forget it’s supposed to be the Asian century. Of any director in the world with Asian ancestory, he has to be one of the most experienced CGI directors of any director except John Woo. So if this is the new gold standard for CGI directorial training, (“Man of Steel” director, Zack Snyder has at least two CGI bombs under his belt) we only have more things to hope for from Shyamalan in the near future.

Still the second largest film capital in the world, one never knows when Bollywood might come a  calling?


We’re not one to make light of nepotism, yet with so many reviews and blog comment sections made mention of the topic.  With so many Bridges, Douglass’, Barrymore’s, and Cassidy’s in Hollywood, I hardly think Will Smith’s support of his son is indicative of a novel or egregious trend.  Still we can only hope this film will become a cautionary episode in another wise frequently unfavorable trend.

Articles This Week:

Monday-Toss-Up by Ozzie

Tuesday-Discussion on Monday’s article

Wednesday-1st. article on Starsucker series-Television Viewing and Psychosocial Health-By Open Book

Thursday-Discussion on Wednesday’s article

Friday-Open discussion on Monday & Wednesday article.


Essential references:








12 Responses to “LIH EDITORIAL: AFTER EARTH a balanced review”

  1. Open Book June 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM #

    After Earth looked like Pursuit of Happiness. Now granted Will Smith has had nothing but successful films but I would like to see him in something other than a Sci-Fi film next.

    • Open Book June 3, 2013 at 5:24 PM #

      CR- How many unsuccessful films has Will Smith had besides After Earth?

    • littlebells June 3, 2013 at 7:22 PM #


      Is there a genre he hasn’t done that you would like to see him in specifically. I’d like to see him in a scary/thriller/creepy-eque style film.

      • Open Book June 5, 2013 at 10:53 AM #

        Hi LB- There u are. Hahaha! I miss u. Hope u and Slider are well.

        U said: “Is there a genre he hasn’t done that you would like to see him in specifically.”

        I would like to see Will Smith in a Historical Thriller where he plays a bad guy. Something like “Devil in a White City.” where its based on a actual event.

        • littlebells June 5, 2013 at 6:17 PM #

          “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!” Is there a role in that book he could easily play? I really hope Leo gets this film made. After Calvin Candie, I can see him playing Holmes. I would love to see Will in that film. Hmmm…how do you think he would/could fit in with that time period?

          Slider is great: sleeping!!! He’s great too when awake. 🙂

          • Open Book June 6, 2013 at 2:53 PM #

            Hi LB & Slider!

            I don’t think there is a part for Will in that movie given the time period. Leo is really perfect for DWC. However, I was just using it as an example. Now I could see Will as the detective who catches Leo maybe but that’s really stretching it in terms of believability. What do u think?

    • Comic Relief June 4, 2013 at 8:45 AM #

      If this movie goes down as the bomb (it appears to be), I doubt he will have another choice.

  2. littlebells June 3, 2013 at 7:21 PM #


    I really enjoyed this editorial. One of my favorite Will films is I AM LEGEND.

    I will admit that I have been turned off to his son’s career because of how it appears: he’s Will Smith’s son. Thats not to say he isn’t talented, but it kinda makes you go, “hmmmm” when mom or dad or both mom and dad have been producers on his latest few films.

    I really admire actors who are from acting royalty, but go by a different name (or not) and try to get into the business on their own merit and not that of their mom or dad: Eva Amurri (Susan Sarandon), Lily Collins (Phil Collins), Chris Pine (Robert Pine), Liv tyler (Steven Tyler), Rashida Jones (Quincy Jones), Alexander Skarsgard (William Skarsgard),
    and Max Irons (Jeremy Irons). I’m sure their parents helped a bit, and granted they are adults and not child actors, but you don’t see them star opposite their parents or have their parents produce their films.

    I don’t think I explained myself as well as I wanted, but hopefully you get the gist of it.

    Nepotism can have it’s advantages, but it should only go so far.

    • Comic Relief June 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM #


      You bring up some really good points. Yet I think the reason people hate nepotism is they suspect people have earned opportunity without working.

      Since I have not seen the movie,

      • I did not have to tolerate Jaden’s inability to conceive of believable emotional transitions to move his character from one scene to another.

      • Since Jaden probably did not have to audition for the role he may not have considered that it was his responsibility to make his choices appear to be choices.

      • Since Will’s participation was also guaranteed he may not have recognized that his ability to provoke probable understanding in his son needed to also appear to be authentic.

      Artistically, I think nepotism robs all of us of the quality we’re hungry for. Referring to OB’s statement about Will choosing a dramatic vehicle, I believe Will may have to remind us why he’s the success he’s obviously been.

      • Donella June 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM #

        I believe Robert Downey Jr, Ben Stiller, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Jeff Bridges, Beau Bridges, Michael Douglas, Cameron Douglas, Kyle Eastwood, Peter Fonda, John Huston, Nicholas Cage, Colin Hanks, Scott Caan, Jake Busey, Josh Brolin, Josh Ritter, Sophia Coppola, Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Gwenyth Paltrow, Rumor Willis, Scott Caan, Jake Busey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jamie Lee Curtis, Carrie Fisher, Emma Roberts, Liv Tyler, and Liza Minnelli would totally agree with your assessment of nepotism, its unfairness, and how it provides unearned privileges as a lucrative gift that keeps giving going all the way back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Am I right, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr from Iron Man 3? I really hope Jaden Smith takes a quiet moment to reflect over this list and chooses additional mentors who can explain to him how best not to trade in on the family name and connections in the entertainment industry. Best of luck to you, Jaden!!!

  3. Comic Relief June 4, 2013 at 8:47 AM #

    My last statement refers to OB’s first comment.

  4. parisienne June 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

    I think kids should be allowed to be kids and get into the industry when they are of sound mind and body to do so. They are giving up moments of their lives that they will never get back.

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