The Gist: Cypher Rage is a legendary general who hasn't had a chance to see his family for many years. He promises his frustrated wife to retire after one last trip and she suggests he bring their son Kitai along. Cypher doesn't really know his son, so a trip would help forward their bonding. Unfortunately, an asteroid storm damages their spaceship and they crash land on Earth, which humanity abandoned a millennium ago after a series of cataclysmic events made it all but unlivable. Cypher is gravely injured in the crash and Kitai, the only other survivor, will have to undertake a perilous mission to retrieve a beacon that will allow them to message back home for help.
After Earth is not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's a half-baked attempt at making a good sci-fi movie at best. Directed by one-time acclaimed M. Night Shyamalan, this is unlikely to improve his standing.
Will Smith, a consumed leading man with good acting instincts, performs his usual shtick, but his son Jaden's performance is quite paltry.
Part of me feels bad for the kid, since he's still so young, but on the other hand, either he pushed his dad to get him the part or his father wrongly assumed he was ready for prime time. Either way, it was a bad decision that probably set him back years in the industry. He still has the name recognition and the funds to do almost anything he wants, but peer recognition will be harder to achieve.
The Bottom Line: I was rather disappointed by this movie because the basic idea isn't terrible and a better screenplay would have helped a lot. Casting decisions obviously didn't improve the situation, so ultimately while the visual effects might be pretty good, a movie can hardly ride into the sunset relying exclusively on those.