Everyone, quick. Bring out your film/short film/cinematic adventures regarding a life after some terrible calamity, right now. At this very second. I was cheery about the Tom Cruise/Joseph Kasinski/M83 kickpunch-threat Oblivion from the moment I heard the three were working together. Now we have the debut trailer from Will Smith/M. Night Shyamalan/scribe Gary Whitta and despite some excellent bread in that trio, that lunch meat in the middle has gone rotten over the past few films. It’s seriously like mold in your pantry. Well, how does After Earth hold up in an initial preview? I’ve got an embed on the trailer below.
In the far-flung future, General Cypher (Will) and his estranged son Kitai (Jaden) crash land on Earth, long after it has grown over humanity’s influence and is now a hazard to humans. Y’see, a thousand years have passed since some terrible, terrible thing forced mankind to the stars and now that Cypher is injured, his son must now traverse the wilderness and fight and survive and et cetera. Father Smith has spent the past few years in the background trying to push forth the careers of his budding children Jaden and Willow. Like Tom Cruise, I enjoy Will Smith on screen when he’s not cracking wise and playing to type. I’ve been a fan of writer Gary Whitta since his work in the American PC Gamer nearly fifteen years ago and while I wasn’t huge on The Book of Eli, I do enjoy what he’s bringing to the industry, especially in little blades of literature like Penny Arcade’s Automata.
M. Night Shyamalan, though. My god, what happened to him? This was the guy we cheered when he brought us the terrifyingly original Sixth Sense then wound up as the guy we laughed at when we saw his name in the trailer for elevator thriller Devil. This trailer is filled with much of the same cheap-y sci-fi madness that filled his overly-dramatic and quite messy The Last Airbender and it shocks me a bit that people are still willing to throw over $100 million per film to him to keep producing stuff.
Well, we’ll hold out hope and, maybe, get what we all want: another good Shyamalan film.