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After Earth

After Earth is a 2013 American post-apocalyptic action film directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who co-wrote it with Gary Whitta. The film was loosely based on an original story idea by Will Smith about a father-and-son trip in the wilderness before it was eventually reworked into a sci-fi setting, taking place 1,000 years in the future where humans evacuated Earth to another planet due to a massive environmental catastrophe. It is the second film after The Pursuit of Happyness that stars real-life father and son Will and Jaden Smith; Will Smith also produced via his company Overbrook Entertainment, and the distribution was by Columbia Pictures. The film was co-produced by John Rusk, who was also the first assistant director on this film as well as on many of Shyamalan's other films.[4] The film follows father and son, Cypher and Kitai Raige, who find themselves crash-landing on the abandoned Earth. When Cypher gets injured from the crash, Kitai must travel across the wild environment in search of a backup beacon to fire a distress signal, while having to defend himself from the highly evolved animals, as well as an extraterrestrial creature that detects its prey by smelling fear.

After Earth

Kitai confronts many of the hazards his father warned about, including attacks from baboon-like monkeys, a venomous leech, a thermal shift, and the damaging of two of his capsules. After a story from Cypher about how he conceived "ghosting" to kill the Ursas, Kitai reaches a cliffside waterfall and Cypher learns about the broken capsules. Knowing that the only way to make it with the two capsules would be to skydive, Cypher orders Kitai to abort the mission, but Kitai, believing that Cypher still sees him as a disappointment, goes against the order after a monologue of him blaming Cypher's absence at home for Senshi's death. Kitai is captured by a large condor and his communicator is damaged. In the bird's nest, Kitai tries and fails to defend her chicks against big cats before escaping to a river, where he drifts on a raft. After a sleep where he dreams of Senshi, he wakes up to a thermal shift that nearly freezes him to death. Kitai is rescued when the bird, who had lost her brood when the cats attacked, sacrifices herself for him because Kitai tried to protect her chicks.

Will Smith conceived this story when he was watching the television show called I Shouldn't Be Alive with his brother-in-law Caleeb Pinkett.[5] It was originally not a science fiction story but about a father and son crashing their car in the mountains or some remote region, with the son having to go out and get rescue for his father. Smith then decided to change the setting to 1000 years in the future, which imposed a higher production budget. The film was also intended to be the first in a trilogy.[6] Smith had his production company Overbrook contact Gary Whitta (who was then known for his script for The Book of Eli) with a simple log line for a film: a father and son crash landed on Earth 1000 years after it had been abandoned by humankind. Impressed with his idea and excited about the opportunity to work with him, Whitta fleshed out Smith's idea and pitched it to him, subsequently becoming the first employee on the project.

In December 2011, Columbia Pictures, a subsidiary of Sony, signed up both Will and Jaden Smith to co-star in the film with Shyamalan directing. Shyamalan, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Gary Whitta, also additionally co-produced the film with James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, made the announcement and said, "Night is an outstanding filmmaker who has a tremendous vision for this science-fiction adventure story and we couldn't be more excited to be working again with Jaden after our experiences on The Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid," and added "We're thrilled to have the two of them together on this project." Shyamalan also added, "The chance to make a scary, science-fiction film starring Jaden and Will is my dream project."[10] Will Smith's decision to take on the starring adult male role required him to step aside in producing and starring in the Hurricane Katrina drama The American Can, and offered the lead role to Denzel Washington instead. The shooting of the movie was also pushed back from September 2011 to January 2012.[11]

"After Earth" is a lovely surprise. This film from producer-costar Will Smith and director M. Night Shyamalan, about a father and son marooned on a hostile future earth, is a moral tale disguised as a sci-fi blockbuster. It's no classic, but it's a special movie: spectacular and wise.

For instance, in the movie "After Earth," in theaters beginning May 31, the planet essentially kicks out humanity by inducing a wave of tsunamis, earthquakes and other calamities. Then, 1,000 years later, a spaceship crashes onto Earth, leaving the characters played by Will and Jaden Smith to brave the now hostile planet. [See images from the movie "After Earth"]

Less than two years after its release, Will Smith described his 2013 blockbuster "After Earth" as his "most personal failure." It was a shocking statement coming from a man who's famous for putting a happy face on things, but it wasn't inaccurate. On every conceivable level, "After Earth" came up short, especially at the box office where this title failed to double its immense $130 million budget. Making significantly less than usual for a summertime Will Smith action vehicle, "After Earth" failed to spawn any kind of follow-up, instead inspiring a slew of negative reviews. No matter how you look at it, "After Earth" was a gigantic dud.

Throughout the 2000s, Will Smith was everywhere. Rare was the year in which he wouldn't have either a new blockbuster or adult drama showing up in movie theaters and drawing millions of moviegoers across the planet. After 2008's "Seven Pound," Will Smith took a breather from acting that lasted until May 2012. Four years isn't an eternity, but it is a while in between films, especially for actors that previously delivered new star vehicles on an annual basis. When he came back, Smith headlined "MIB3," a new entry in the popular "Men in Black" saga. While it was a box office hit, being the third installment of a long-established franchise made it difficult to ascertain Smith's star power after a prolonged hiatus.

In years past, a Will Smith action blockbuster would've been a guaranteed smash that rose above all other summer titles. However, in the summer of 2013, "After Earth" found itself getting toppled by an extreme amount of competition. Its May 31, 2013 release date ensured that the feature was opening just a week after "Fast & Furious 6" became one of the biggest Memorial Day openers in history. Plus, fellow May 2013 holdovers like "Iron Man 3" and "Star Trek Into Darkness" were still attracting moviegoers. Meanwhile, two weeks after "After Earth" was released, another grim sci-fi blockbuster, "Man of Steel," arrived on the scene. To add insult to injury, "After Earth" opened on the same day as "Now You See Me," a lower-budgeted thriller that did way better than expected at the box office.

However, take Shyamalan outside of thrillers, and his box office track record becomes considerably more mixed. "Lady in the Water," for instance, made $78 million worldwide on a $75 million budget. "The Last Airbender" was not necessarily a flop, but it failed to meet expectations after grossing $319.7 million on a $150 million budget. This cold streak continued with "After Earth." This particular film suggested that not even the presence of Will Smith could get audiences interested in Shyamalan working outside of his sweet spot as a filmmaker.

Audiences were enamored a bit more in this period with young-adult novel adaptations and grounded R-rated comedies, a preference that ended up harming "After Earth." It's not like "After Earth" would've done gangbusters business had it been released after "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" gave sci-fi a jolt of life at the box office. However, coming out in a particularly difficult era for original sci-fi films certainly didn't help matters. The summer of 2013 was an especially difficult moment for this genre thanks to titles like "Elysium" and "R.I.P.D." There were a lot of specific qualities that informed the box office failure of "After Earth." Yet, it was also hindered by the general box office blahs that plagued many sci-fi titles around the time of its release.

One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind's new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai's craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.

Best of all, After Earth sees Shyamalan on a more certain footing after critically mauled films like The Happening, Lady In The Water and The Last Airbender. Although far from perfect, After Earth is still an absorbing, subtly engaging sci-fi movie.

As a Hollywood potentate, Will Smith wears a deliberate mask of omnipotence (his one and a half-note performance here is a bit too stoic), letting his son account for brash youth. (Shots of Jaden freezing in the cold may remind contemporary viewers of those Moorehouse College graduates getting drenched in rain while President Obama, under a canopy, lectured them not to make excuses after spending four years doing undergraduate work.)

Now Cypher has returned to his family after an extended tour of duty. For his 13-year-old son, Kitai, tagging along with his famous father is the adventure of a lifetime - and a chance to salvage their relationship. But when an asteroid collides with their craft, they make a crash landing that leaves Cypher seriously - perhaps fatally - wounded. 041b061a72


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