Film review: After Earth - Will and Jaden Smith star in yet another silly movie from M Night Shyamalan


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The Independent Culture

The strange and terrible career of M Night Shyamalan continues to thrive, despite his being responsible for some of the silliest movies of the century (Lady in the Water, The Village, The Last Airbender).

This latest is another solemn-toned sci-fi epic, set a thousand years after humanity has abandoned its first home. Will Smith plays a "legendary general" who crashlands his spaceship on a disused planet aswarm with hostile life forms – Earth.

Critically injured, he must send the only surviving crew member out into the wilds to signal for help. That crewman happens to be his recalcitrant teenage son (Jaden Smith). Can the kid discover a filial bond with his stern-taskmaster dad and thus save them both?

The effects are second-hand stuff from Alien and Star Trek, spliced with Shyamalan's regular homilies on Personal Growth. "Fear is a choice," asserts Big Chief Smith. Well, actually it's an instinct, but let's not get into that or we'd be here all day – approximately as long as this movie seems to last.