After Earth

4.81 h 40 min2013X-RayHDRUHDPG-13
Far in the future, a young boy and his estranged father navigates an abandoned planet on which their space ship crashed.
M Night Shyamalan
Jaden SmithWill SmithZoë Isabella Kravitz
Science FictionAdventureAction
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Sophie OkonedoGlenn MorshowerKristofer HivjuSacha DhawanChris GeereDiego KlattenhoffDavid DenmanLincoln LewisJaden MartinSincere BobbMonika JollyPhilippe BadreauChris GonzalezDemetrice JacksonOlia Voronkova
Jada Pinkett SmithWill Smith
Columbia Pictures
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Violencefoul language
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4.4 out of 5 stars

9078 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

ManfredReviewed in the United States on November 24, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Keeps you on the edge of your seat
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I like this movie. Father and son are great actors.
Thomas M.Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Surprisingly great movie!
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This is definitely worth watching.
FabulinusReviewed in the United States on October 22, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Let me explain why this movie deserves 4 stars...
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This movie has been out long enough and there are enough online reviews that will give those who haven't yet seen it a basic synopsis, so I won't rehash the plot. What I want to do is explain, in my humble opinion, why I believe this movie deserves at least 4 stars. Also, I think some may be missing the point of the movie...

First, is the overriding message of the movie which has nothing to do with space travel, creatures which have evolved to kill humans or trying to prove something to one's dad (lol). The overriding message of this movie is understanding one's fear and through that understanding learning how to control it which is an excellent message for anyone... especially adolescence. I think because of who's in it (name recognition) the movie catered to a specific demographic (adolescent boys or young men) who are usually in a 'fearless' stage of their lives and who don't understand the spiritual concept of fear. Though I wished the scripting/dialog for Will Smith's character had done a bit more to explain what fear is, it at least did a good enough job that the average young person and adult could understand and resonate with it IF they were paying attention. The concept of controlling one's fear in the beginning of the movie dragged a bit and seemed cliché and shallow, but towards the middle and the end it really popped. While watching this movie I found myself reflecting on my own fears, thinking about how I choose to explain fear to my child and feeling a deep communion with the two main characters of this movie. For a futuristic, drama laden, action adventure movie to have that kind of impact on me makes me sit up and take notice!

Second, the father/son dynamic is very good here. Perhaps that's because Will and Jaden Smith are actually father and son and have a healthy relationship? I don't know, but it came through in spades. Their chemistry was poignant and there were times when I could envision the two of them sitting at the dinner table interacting with each other similarly to how they portrayed their relationship on film. I enjoyed that because I don't often see the same chemistry in other father/son dynamics on the big screen or on TV. That aspect of the movie worked for me.

Third, when was the last time you saw an African American father and son have any kind of positive, normal, familial dynamics at the movies? Can't think of it, huh? That's because it practically doesn't exist (lol)! Usually, most African American family portrayals at the movies or on television are full of exaggerated buffoonery or they are so stereotypically negative and base that most viewers would think that Black Americans have no normal, positive, familial dynamics... especially fathers and sons. This film shows a convincing and real contrast to what is usually thrown up in the average American's face about Black American families and that should only be viewed as a good thing!

This movie moved me for the above reasons. Yes, I do think the acting was a bit off (lol) and the beginning of the movie could have been a bit fuller, but overall I think the cast and crew of "After Earth" did a mighty fine job of putting together a thoughtful, action packed and well-grounded movie that, if reflected on, should not only keep the audience on the edge of their seats but make them think about the concept of fear being the wrong kind of motivator in theirs and possibly their children's lives.

M.Night Shyamalan, who helped direct and produce this movie along with Will and Jada Smith, is one of my favorite directors and storytellers. If you notice... again, if you're paying attention, all of his movies have one overriding concept in them: understanding your fears and learning how to control them.

Ya gotta think, people... don't let it go over your heads! There's a good message here.

Well done... 4 stars!!
9 people found this helpful
Cardigan TateReviewed in the United States on September 28, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Not a great film, but a good one
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I'd heard so much negativity surrounding 'After Earth', but I was very interested myself, but didn't have the circumstances to go see the film in theaters. I read the novelization and the prequel novel, 'After Earth: A Perfect Beast', instead. (Forgive the preface, but I wanted to at least give some insight on my potential bias.)

I enjoyed the books (they're better than the movie, more detailed by far), and eagerly looked forward to seeing the movie. Here's the deal: this is a fairly short film, so not a lot of plot is involved. Most of the film is Will Smith and Jaden Smith in a man-vs.-nature situation in a post-apocalyptic Earth. What you see in the previews is more or less what you get, but it's not entirely that simple.

The biggest plus in this film is Will Smith's nuanced performance. For fathers, I think this film has a lot of heart. Its strongest point is the reconnecting of father and son through this crisis situation they're experiencing (crash-landing on Earth, etc.). There are actually very few people in this movie, to be honest. The plot is very centered on Cypher (Will Smith) and Kitai (Jaden Smith), but in itself, that is actually quite compelling.

Jaden Smith is actually pretty good at many places throughout this film, and falls flat in others. He's kind of the weak link, but the good thing is that Will Smith's experience is there to keep the film grounded and counterbalance him. Jaden is not horrible, but doesn't quite hit all the notes perfectly. Another factor is that the script doesn't always give us enough of a grasp of his perspective. I think they needed to add more to really draw us into how he feels, as it's key to understanding the character's motivations (a desire to please his father/self-blame over a past tragedy/trauma and anger resulting from same tragedy).

The only other major downside of the film is that it fails to really fill in the story enough to help the audience see that there is a much larger world here than what we saw in the film. I would have liked to have seen more of this world, how it's run, who the aliens were (the Skrel), why they sent the Ursa, and maybe why they didn't just send a thousand of them and wipe out humanity, for instance.

It's a good film, but maybe it won't appeal to what people were hoping for. There isn't a lot of humor, and not that much action, but there is some good (mostly subtle) emotion throughout, along with interesting themes--the beauty of planet Earth, overcoming one's fears, father connecting with son, coping with loss of a child, and coming-of-age as a young man.

I know it won't be a popular thing to say that I like it, and that more people should've checked it out, but...I like it. I certainly wasn't blown away, but I was pleased with the film and I would've liked to see where this story was going. I think it's better than people will give it credit for. It's not going in the same direction as a lot of the big blockbusters with massive destruction, explosions, sometimes excessive violence and language and objectification of women, etc.

It's also unique in having a cast that largely consists of people of color, but not prejudiced in that it shows this is a diverse world with not just one or two colors of people, and I like that in a movie. (Some good assists towards the beginning of the film from two very good actors whose names escape me...)

So...I say, check it out. It's at least worth a rental, but I own it, and am already trying to watch it again after the first viewing. After Earth is alright with me.
2 people found this helpful
Artex AtrayuReviewed in the United States on October 11, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
A good reason not to believe everything you read.
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I have taken this movie as a reminder that just because a film receives poor reviews is not a reason to avoid giving it a chance if the idea behind it interests you. This movie was so widely panned by critics that I had avoided it until one night I really had so few choices that I gave it a shot. I am glad that I did. I watched it with my wife and six children (all of whom are under ten)and everyone was silent and still through the entire thing. If you have kids you likely know how rare that is. Nobody was complaining that Will Smith threw around his weight in a fit of nepotism to film a vehicle for his son to have a starring roll in. Nobody was nit picking the facial expressions of an untried young actor. Nobody's jealousy spilled over into their ability to enjoy what turned out to be a great science fiction vision. And I think that is what it all boils down too. Americans have largely lost their ability to be happy for others who have better opportunities than themselves. I think jealousy and misguided contempt for what was viewed as nepotism on the part of Will Smith overshadowed many critic's ability to do their jobs. Being a critic isn't about being critical of who makes a film but of whether or not the film works as a piece of art. I don't like junkies and drunks but I can tell when one makes fine art. The Louvre is full of examples of this. And while I'm not putting this movie on par with Van Gogh, I certainly wouldn't listen to someone who said his paintings were trash because he had a problem with absinth and lechery.

As far as the film itself goes I thought it worked on nearly every level. I would have liked to have seen the back story of human history and the history of the enemy alien race better fleshed out. It had a sort of cold start approach that could have brought people more into the story with greater emotional investment if this was better done, but that's really my only critical complaint. I think run time probably became an issue with this. It was well paced and the sequences 'in the present' were well done. Special effects were great and the technical vision was interesting. I think Sci Fi fans that are honest with themselves will see a lot of value in this movie.

One last comment, and this is more of a personal issue on my part than a criticism of the movie making. I am a huge science fiction fan (I have read, without exaggeration, over 50 sci fi books this year and it's October 10th. Most years I do around 75 or 80), but it rankles me a bit that so many films and science future stories use as a vehicle the idea that humans as a race and as a rule are inherently bad and it is a forgone conclusion that we are going to destroy the Earth and will one day have to abandon it or perish. I realize that this is often cautionary, and that it is an easy vehicle to use. That it plays on contemporary fears of environmental degradation. There are many possible futures and many good people working to find a way forward for us as a race. The die is not cast and it would be nice to see Hollywood make something that reflects that. I realize that fear sells, but I would pay for some hope. That said this flick was well worth the price of admission (or rental as the case may be).
3 people found this helpful
ReAgent 6Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
A really good movie if you ignore who made and who is in it.
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A really good movie if you ignore who made and who is in it.

I’m kicking myself for being talked out of seeing this in theaters. I had no idea what it was about and was nervous because it was an M Night Shyamalan movie. What’s that got to do with anything? Well, Shyamalan is best known for The Sixth Sense (1999) which gave us a bend on the surprise ending no one saw coming. It’s a formula he repeated in movies like Signs (2002) and Lady in the Water (2006). Movies, where everything fits together, at the end, and you get to see all the little points along the way add up to a big finish. In my opinion Unbreakable (2000) is a classic and gives us the realest depiction of a super-hero without using a comic-based format, but includes every motif and cliché. See, movies like The Village (2004) and The Happening (2008) left many with questions about his continued ability to deliver at his highest potential. After all, Devil (2010) was another won’t-tell-you-the-plot-until-you-see-it and the curious pay off wasn’t as revealing as it could have been. Let’s just say we didn’t see the Saw [a reference to the 2004 horror flick] in this movie.

Will Smith presents another problem for potential movie-goers as his star power and box-office draw was super-high then. And so you expect another blockbuster- another big movie and wow, his son Jaden Smith co-stars, well, really stars. (The Karate Kid 2010 wasn’t as good as the original, but was way better than any of its sequels so….) I’m saying expectations may have been too high and perhaps another mysterious movie with a surprise ending may not be the best formula to run with.

Proper Plots

Let’s cover what the movie is really about and get down for the set up. It’s far into the future and Earth has been lost to the self-inflicted wounds of environmental pollution. We flee to the stars and find ourselves in a war with aliens. Will Smith plays General Kitai Raige and during a space voyage, their transport is crippled and it’s up to not-yet-a-space-ranger Jaden (as Cypher Raige) to cross the dangerous landscape to reach help. Is Will Smith in the movie? Yes, and it’s not a goofy hologram or ghost, but the movie is the debut of a young action hero in the making. I can dig it. And I also see what the second problem is. You wanted Will Smith to be bounding over those rocks, facing peril and outlined against wondrous vistas. And maybe you wanted some kind of big message at the end or some sort of moral statement with all kinds of pretentious and righteous writer wit. No, you get the story of a father standing by and letting his son brave a new and hostile world. That’s true- for both the Raige and Smith families, for After Earth and Hollywood.

After the… Earth summary

Certainly it’s no spoiler to tell you -there is no big-surprise ending or twist and the movie flows and unfolds as expected. Yes, you can relax without worrying if M Night is going to ruin it in the last five minutes. If you have a family that might enjoy and sci-fi tale, this is a solid movie. If you expect…the expected movie from Will Smith + Shyamalan you will be, like many = disappointed. Me, I enjoyed it.
4 people found this helpful
W. RichmanReviewed in the United States on August 29, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Meh. It was a way to kill a couple of hours, but that's about all I can say for it.
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Everything in this movie felt SO VERY CONTRIVED! SPOILERS, if possible, ahead. Where to start? The pilots of their ship acted like it was their first time out. They were completely clueless. Everything almost immediately went to hell. Meteor storm. The ship broke apart and fell *thousands of feet through the atmosphere to the ground.* And was still at least somewhat intact and functional! And somehow, ONLY the "General" and his son survived, out of all the people in the ship. Having seen what happens to an airplane that crashes, I wouldn't have expected anything or anyone to be intact after that crash. But... They carried emergency oxygen liquid, but apparently only enough for a few people, and only capable of helping you breath in an atmosphere, that already had oxygen, apparently. In space, I guess you're just screwed if the ship springs a leak. The planet (Earth, predictably) was a giant rain forest, but it apparently wasn't producing enough oxygen for a couple of humans to breathe. Geese, sparrows, vultures, apes, lions, etc seemed to be fine, but humans? Nah. Advanced aliens who designed big mutant monsters to kill people, but made it *blind*, and dependent on *fear pheromones* to track people. I mean, even freaking *mosquitoes* can find us by our exhaled CO2 stream. Or... sound... or heat... or bio-electricity... or *something*? Wouldn't something like an engineered virus *cough*Covid*cough have been more efficient? And on a ship full of soldiers, no ranged weapons, like a gun or missile launcher or a flame thrower? Nope - just "nano swords" or whatever they were. *sigh* Not very practical. And drones? Sure - a dozen - but only for recon; nothing armed. And oh - a broken bone has severed an artery? Nano-clotting agents, anyone? Anyone? Nope. Just stick a tube between severed ends and hope it stays. Not even a tourniquet...? And if you have an interdicted world with beacons in orbit announcing the fact, wouldn't they also maybe... ping home and say, "Hey - there are intruders here!"? Apparently not. Acting was wooden as possible. There's stoic, and then there's having all the emotional affect of a 2x4. By the end, I really didn't care of either of them survived all that much. I just felt sorry for the bird and her chicks.
One person found this helpful
D. BrennanReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Meh acting by all involved but it looked pretty
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Another big-budget Hollywood project with a good cast, at least on paper. I like most of the movies that Will Smith has made but this role did not suit him well. Will Smith is best when he can display the breadth of his personality. He's funny, endearing and can be downright human when given the chance. Why in the world he took the role of an intentionally unemotional - or at least unfearful - space ranger who, due to his lack of fear, is awesome at killing alien enemies. You see, these aliens are blind but hunt based us by smelling pheromones released when we are afraid. They don't use any fancy technology to kill you - just tooth and claw - oh and BIG pincers!

Yes - this is where you say "why don't the humans just make a few million gallons of synthetic pheromones and then have fun watching the aliens run around in circles all day?" or perhaps "Why don't the humans just wear full body suits with re-breathers so no pheromones are released into the atmosphere?" or maybe "Why don't these humans, who have advanced spaceships and all sorts of other cool tech, just use drones to kill the aliens because they would be 100% invisible?".

All that before we get to the plot holes - who puts uber powerful distress beacons somewhere where the pilots can't get to them, and haven't these space rangers ever heard of explosive-projectile weapons?

And No, there are no reasonable responses to these questions EXCEPT to say that this was a way for Will Smith and his son to play a father and son duo in a big budget movie.

Jaden Smith gets most of the screen time and I'm sorry to say he wasn't ready for it. I loved him in Karate Kid and The Pursuit of Happyness but he didn't have the chops to pull this role off. He came across as whiny but not in a reasonable way. He just could not convey the range of emotion required from this role. His one flash of anger at his father came across as contrived and strained.

Despite the inappropriate role for Will Smith, the poor acting by Jaden Smith and conceptual holes big enough to drive a moon through, I still mostly liked this movie. It comes down to special effects, a great score, lush scenery and cool tech. I did not see this movie for insight into father-son bonds, or for any keen insights into humanity. I have art house films for that. When I told my own brain to shut up, sit back and relax, I found myself enjoying the movie. Call me a sucker and a lemming, eagerly following Hollywood over the cliff, but follow I did.
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