After Earth is both terrifying and exhilarating. This summer movie opens on May 31st, featuring Will Smith and Jaden Smith who are father and son both in real life and in this sci-fi movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan. We were invited to an advanced screening of After Earth and this was a perfect opportunity for a date night with my oldest son.
One thousand years after humans escape Earth, Cypher Raige (Will Smith) is the greatest leader in the history of Nova Prime and the Commander General of the United Ranger Corps that was created with the single mission to preserve humanity.
Everyone respects Cypher, but one young 13 year old boy named Kitai (Jaden Smith) desires to graduate from training and become a Ranger just like his father. He is an angry child who blames his father for being away on an extended tour of duty instead of protecting his sister, Senshi Raige. Desperately seeking his father’s approval, he eagerly takes an unexpected opportunity with his dad.
When their spacecraft crashes on Earth, Cypher and Kitai are the only survivors. An injured Cypher must depend upon Kitai to brave the elements in a dangerous world and battle enemies in his pursuit to find the emergency signal beacon.
Although Kitai’s journey must be taken alone, his father carefully watches him through a remote camera on his backpack and communicates through a device on his forearm. Kitai must rely on his training and his father’s cutlass, which is their main defense weapon against alien enemies.
Inner strength in the face of insurmountable fear and danger is a theme throughout the movie as we watch a young teenager’s struggle to listen to his father.
After Earth is a dramatic sci-fi movie with some action adventure sequences sure to get your heart racing.
Within the first minutes of the movie you are transported directly into the action and then taken back in time to show the events leading up to the adventure. Filled with suspense and foreboding throughout the movie, there are a few places of cleverly placed dry humor, as only Will Smith can do.
The setting takes place almost entirely in nature with breathtaking moments of beauty that almost erase the horror of what the forest contains.
After Earth is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some disturbing images. There were two instances of explicit language along with a few brief scenes of torn limbs and bloody bodies. While I am grateful for a movie without sexual references, there is still quite a bit of suspense that can be overwhelming to younger children or those sensitive to disturbing images.
Will Smith’s performance brought out the emotional part of preparing a child to face the dangers of the world alone and the topic of fear started a lengthy discussion with my son on our drive home from the movie.
“Fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” – Cypher Raige
Our family received media passes to attend the advanced screening of After Earth.