As someone who freely admits to being fearful of roaming cattle on my jogs through the hills of California, After Earth taps into a certain primal fear of mine. The majority of the film tracks, young Jaden Smith through a series of encounters, escapes and near-death experiences with environmental predators. This is essentially a campfire tale, albeit one dressed up with a $135 million budget and given a snazzy sci-fi retrofit.
3 1/2 Stars
Will Smith is a such a likable actor and audiences have become so accustomed to seeing him portray cocky winners, that experience the continual hardships that await him in The Pursuit of Happyness is emotionally exhausting. Christopher Gardner is a medical supply salesman in San Francisco during the early 1980s. Saddled with outdated equipment and mounting bills, Chris lives sale-to-sale depending on his hard work ethic to make ends meet. His wife decides that she has had enough and packs her meager belongings, though it is never clearly stated, it seems that an addiction or mental instability may have been a deeper issue than finances. However this leaves Chris the sole provider for himself and his six-year-old son, who attends daycare in Chinatown and seems frighteningly adjusted for the trauma he endures.
M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith have recently posted a few behind the scenes photos of their new collaboration, After Earth, on both Twitter and Facebook. The film also stars Smith’s son Jaden. The jungle location looks beautiful, but kind of strange for a post-apocalyptic film. The movie is kind of a reverse Lost in Space in which a family crash lands on Earth 1,000 years after humans have abandoned the planet. Apparently this is no WALL·E version of Earth though, wonder if the reason for humanity fleeing plays into the plot at all.
After Will’s character is captured, it’s up to son (played by his real life son Jaden) to rescue him. Sounds intriguing and could be fun, but if this has one of those Shyamalan twists at the end it’s a guaranteed dud. Luckily he didn’t write this, Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) are on the hook there. Is anyone still into this guy as a director after The Last Airbender or The Happening? Take a look at the pics below and let us know what you think.
It should come as no great surprise that Sony pictures is moving forward with a sequel to the smash hit Karate Kid. The 2010 reboot grossed a staggering $359 million dollars worldwide on a budget of $40 million. Zak Penn (Last Action Hero, The Incredible Hulk) has been brought in to take a crack at the script originally hatched by Kung Fu Panda screenwriters Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff. At this point in development no plot details have been leaked and there has been no official announcement that stars Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith will return. However since Karate Kid was an unexpected phenomenon, I’m sure both actors can clear their schedules for another go around. After being pleasantly surprised at the quality of the rebooted franchise I’ll be one of the first in line for this follow-up.
At first the ‘Karate Kid’ seems nothing more than a polished version of its original. Beat for beat it follows the same formulaic storyline that made the first a great kids film. But movies from the 80′s have originality in their defects. It was a time when Hollywood was dreaming bigger than the special effects and the filmmaking process itself could deliver. In today’s Hollywood anything is possible – and it always looks crisp and somewhat soulless. Fortunately Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan make the ‘Karate Kid’ work. Continue reading