Razzie Movie Review: After Earth

Disclaimer: Those who get offended by foul language may want to sit this review out.

After Earth

Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

Produced by: Caleeb Pinkett, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, James Lassiter

Written by: Gary Whitta, M. Night Shyamalan (Story by Will Smith)

Genres: Science-Fiction, Action, Adventure

Starring: Jaden Smith, Will Smith

Other Actors: Sophie Okonedo, Zoe Kravitz

Razzie Nominations: Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Jaden Smith) Worst Supporting Actor (Will Smith) Worst Screen Combo (Jaden Smith and Will Smith) Worst Director (M. Night Shyamalan) Worst Screenplay (Gary Whitta, M. Night Shyamalan (Story by Will Smith))

Plot: It is the future, and, as you may have guessed from the title of the movie, human beings no longer live on planet Earth, having caused environmental cataclysms that rendered the planet uninhabitable for people. Attacked by aliens in their new home, Nova Prime, the humans are overwhelmed by the “Ursas”. Huge, blind monsters that find humans by smelling their fear. This is, improbably, the least stupid thing about this movie. Seriously? Couldn’t they just have nuked the motherfuckers into oblivion? I’m no science guy, but I’m pretty sure that nuclear missiles fear nobody.

Well, ALMOST nobody…

The human race is slaughtered like cattle until General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) develops the “ghosting” technique, which involves suppressing fear so that Ursas are blinded and easy to dispatch. Under the Fresh Prince’s leadership, the United Ranger Corps defeat the aliens and, years later, Cypher’s son Kitai (Jaden Smith) is training to become a Ranger himself.

When he fails to graduate from Ranger High, due to his highly emotional behavior, Cypher decides to bring his son with him on his last tour of duty before retirement, because a war zone is obviously the best place for a highly emotional teenager to be. This stupidity is compounded upon when we discover that there’s a live Ursa being taken to their destination for some reason that I was too uninterested and bored to look for. Which begs the question: In what fucked-up parallel universe is it a good idea to bring your idiotic, irrational teenage son to a dangerous planet, accompanied by a creature who’s sole purpose is to kill humans who display any emotion?

Anyways, long story short, the ship approaches an asteroid field, and the brilliant general decides to go straight through it instead of turning back. The ship crashes on the now-abandoned planet Earth, everybody except the Raiges are killed, the Ursa escapes, Cypher is crippled, and Kitai has to get to a mountain to shoot a distress flare. Seriously. My six year old cousin could write a better plot outline than this.

My main problem with this story isn’t the boneheaded plot-line, the bland special effects, the horrendous dialogue, or even the beyond-awful acting from the two leads (More on that later). My main beef is with the message that this movie is trying to get across to the audience: “Danger is real, but fear is a choice.” Cypher Raige explains, in a long-winded, boring bout of dialogue, that he believes that while danger is everywhere, “fear is an illusion created by the mind”.

No, it’s not, you fucking idiot.

What we refer to as “fear” is a perfectly normal emotion that warns us when something is uncomfortable or dangerous. One of the reasons that humans haven’t gone extinct is because we’ve had fear in the back of our minds, wondering if attempting to fly was such a good idea. When I go to El Salvador (FYI, I have Canadian and Salvadoran citizenship), I don’t just dismiss my reluctance to enter the slums in San Salvador as an illusion created by my asshole brain, blocking me from living life to the fullest. I listen to my fear, because I’d rather not get murdered for drug money by some 17-year old gang-banger with facial tattoos.

It is VERY easy to figure out who you may want to avoid in El Salvador.

Acting: You gotta give the Pinkett-Smith family props. They try so hard to try to convince moviegoers that the kids in that family (Especially Jaden Smith) are the most multi-talented little  bastards around. Problem is, they’re the only ones buying it. Setting aside Jaden’s (And his sister, Willow) halfhearted stabs at music careers, acting seems to be what they’re trying to jump into. Jaden appeared with his dad in 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness, and appeared subsequently in The Day the Earth Stood Still and the Karate Kid remake. Was After Earth finally going to be the performance where Jaden established himself among Hollywood’s elite at the age of 14?

No. Of course not. Make no bones about it, Jaden Smith’s acting gave me nightmares. And not in a “Holy shit, I’m gonna be dreaming about Hannibal Lecter dismembering me for the next thirty years” sense. The first thing I did after finishing this movie was go upstairs and start praying to any deity who exists and/or who gave a shit and pray that this kid never touches the Star Wars franchise. I’m not even religious! I just hope for his sake that his star fades quietly so he doesn’t open himself up to any more embarrassments,  but it’s unlikely, considering the pressure his family seems to be putting on him.

Speaking of his dad, I hoped that his performance would be better than advertised, because I’ve always been a big Will Smith fan, but his performance just left me depressed and longing for the days of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He’s just so damn wooden in this movie. Actually, scratch that, he looks depressed. Uninterested. Like he’s aware of all the nepotism in this project and he’s ashamed of it. Of course, it could just be that he knows that the movie was a piece of shit, but I like to think that he knows he made a mistake and can learn from it.

Although I could be wrong.

What Razzie Nominations Does It Deserve? 

  • Worst Screenplay: I dunno if it deserves to “win” this award, but the nomination makes sense, I guess.
  • Worst Director (Shyamalan): Did I seriously forget to lay into M. Night in my rants? Well the direction (Directing?) couldn’t have been less interesting in this movie, so yeah.
  • Worst Screen Combo (Smith and Smith): Actually, no, I don’t think so, but only because I don’t really think they were on-screen together enough to be considered a “combo”.
  • Worst Supporting Actor (Will Smith): He deserves the nod, for sure. Not the win, though.
  •  Worst Actor (Jaden Smith): Yep.
  • Worst Picture: Fo’ sho’. (Remind me to never say that again.)

Overall Score: 2.5/10

Life Cycles of the Rich and Famous

So, if this article is to be believed, it appears that Bieber fever is finally dying down. This can be seen as a direct result of three reasons: 1) Justin Bieber’s brushes with the law  and his all-around stupidity and bitchiness.  2) His scary fans growing up past the age of 13…

Now that we’ve matured, we can focus on more mature, sophisticated artists..like Nickelback!

… and 3) the inevitable expiry date of any tween sensation.  Don`t act like you don`t know what I`m talking about. Since the dawn of the modern era (My definition of the modern era: 1996-present) not a single teen-pop sensation not named Justin Timberlake has burst on the scene, gathered a following of mentally deranged/teenage fans to praise them repeatedly, and then sputtered out rather quickly. It`s inevitable. I`m just surprised it`s taken three years so far with Bieber.

Justin, think of it this way… Taio Cruz would kill for your luck.

Now, while not all pop stars are the same (No matter how much it may seem that way) a lot of them  seem to follow a weirdly specific pattern ( A “Circle of Life”, if you will) in their careers. And what kind of internet  citizen would I be if I didn’t write said pattern up for the rest of the internet to see? I present to you all the Tween-Pop Circle of Life (Patent Pending).

(Remember, not EVERYONE follows this pattern. This is just stars that fit into each specific category. Also, don`t bother saying “Why isn’t  (Insert miscellaneous celebrity here) on this chart, you fraud?!” I make the list, I choose the hacks. Also, I don`t know who is or give two shits about Cody Simpson enough to look up his career.)

1. Anonymity

Unless you were born into a celebrity family (Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith), chances are that a pop singer isn`t going to be recognized as a talent/escorted onstage with a shotgun until later. Lady Gaga was born Stefani Germanotta to a lower-middle class family in Manhattan and was in a bar band for the early part of her career.  Bieber was raised in Stratford, Ontario in a single parent household by his born-again Christian mom. Rihanna grew up in Barbados to a crack addict father. Katy Perry was a Christian Pop singer.

2. Discovery

Then comes the discovery. Obviously, to get noticed as a pop star, you have to get someone to notice you. Occassionally, this is done through hard work and toil (As were the cases for Katy Perry and Rihanna.). More often than not, it’s just plain, stupid luck.

Out of thousands of videos of teenagers singing pop songs on Youtube, talent scout Scooter Braun was impressed enough by Bieber to invite him to try out for him in Atlanta. God only knows if there was an even more talented teenager out there who either a) wasn’t as photogenic as Bieber or b) Braun just didn’t get a chance to view because he was stuck on Boy Wonder.  Britney Spears was groomed to be a star ever since she auditioned for the reboot of  House of Mouse before joining the girl group Innosense (Who eventually became her opening act).

3. Explosion

After one or two albums, the “musicians” will generally achieve a sudden and unprecedented hit album.  Justin Bieber had one with his My World while Katy Perry ditched the gospel schtick with her album One of the Boys. Around this time, they will start developing a massive fanbase. There is a very good chance that some of them will be insane.

And some will just be sex offenders.

4. Bring on the raunchy!

After an unset amount of time, the pop star (or, more likely, their songwriter) will start getting a little more “adult oriented”. This has been clearly demonstrated so far in Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, every single post-Christian Katy Perry album, and that Justin Bieber song where he sings about fondue or something.

Pictured: The ultimate aphrodisiac.

Around this time, some may try their hand at acting. It will end very, very poorly.

5. Legal Troubles

Most all of us have committed at least one crime or another. Some of you may have had a speeding ticket or something. Others may have smoked a little pot, while I am a repeat offender of the heinous crime that is jaywalking.

Oh, the humanity!

I`m going to pick on Bieber on this one, as his struggles with the law are the most publicized, currently.

Some time between steps 3 and 4, the celebrity will experience a boost to their ego, which is directly linked to the fact that they are now millionaires and can do whatever the hell they want. Buying a shitload of cars is one thing they may do. Endangering those around you with said cars , showing up two hours late to concerts, and spitting on neighbours  who complain about endangering those around them. Apparently, the next step is having a ex-NFL player follow them home and try to talk to them about their reckless driving, before squealing like a bitch, escaping, and refusing to leave your house.

Keyshawn Johnson 2006-10-15.jpg

“Damn. Shoulda just stomped his ass.”

6. The Decline (My Favourite Part)

(Actually, this part may come during or even before part 5. I realize this puts holes in my “pattern theory, but if I cared about consistency, I wouldn’t be writing on the internet. )

Eventually, the fans start to have their infatuation with these superstars shaken. Whether it be because of a (further) deterioration of musical and artistic abilities or the discovery that the superstar really is kind of a shitty human being, the ticket and album sales will drop to bargain levels. (If 400 dollars to see some dick lip-synch at Rexall Place is considered a “bargain”.) How do pop singers respond to this rejection? Well sometimes, they set aside their ego and decide that maybe their time has run its course and it might be time to engage in productive activities like getting a college degree that they missed out on or raising their kids right.

More often, they just go insane.

This is about the only time when I will pay attention to a teenybopper’s career.


After soul-searching, another flop album, or a lengthy stage in rehab, the entertainer will finally call it quits and leave the music industry. These former titans of the tyrannical music business will be reduced back to their original selves, except with boatloads more money. And babies out of wedlock.

And a cocaine habit.

A few more years down the road, the singer may experience feelings of nostalgia for the good ol` days, when you could beat people up, post horrible Anne Frank jokes on Twitter and molest minors without having to actually pay for the consequences. Like KISS, these singers will attempt a comeback tour. Unlike KISS no one will give a fuck, since their fans have moved on to dubstep. Isn’t the circle of life wonderful?