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DVD REVIEW: After Earth
4:54pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in Entertainments
ONE thousand years after cataclysmic events that almost snuffed out mankind, Earth is a devastated wasteland overrun by alien killing machines called The Ursa, which track humans by scenting pheromones excreted by fear.
General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) from The Ranger Corps, harnesses a phenomenon called “ghosting”, which allows him to walk among the invaders undetected and slaughter them without mercy.
Cypher’s son Kitai (Jaden Smith) trains to become a member of The Ranger Corps but the youngster is passionate and reckless, and his application is ultimately rejected. So Cypher’s wife Faia (Sophie Okonedo) implores her husband to bond with his son during a final mission before retirement.
A freak asteroid storm badly damages their spaceship, which crashlands on Earth.
Cypher and his boy are the sole survivors but the General is critically injured so Kitai must retrieve a rescue beacon to alert HQ to their dire predicament.
After Earth is a rites-of-passage story which combines elements of I Am Legend and Independence Day with a deeply human story of a soldier struggling to connect with his grief-stricken child.
That central relationship is the glue which holds M Night Shyamalan’s film together, when other elements including overblown action sequences threaten to tear the picture apart.
A menagerie of computer-generated apes, big cats and birds of prey, which hunt Kitai on futuristic Earth, are shockingly unrealistic.
There are some lovely, tender moments in Shyamalan’s script, cowritten by Gary Whitta, but the blitzkrieg of digital effects overwhelms that fragile and sometimes heartbreaking humanity.
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