Metascore
33

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 41
  2. Negative: 20 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Jun 7, 2013
    40
    Despite the Smith family’s association with Scientology, which unmistakably informs this tale’s belief system (“Fear is a Choice”), as well as its shaky attempts at mythic patterning, it is in no way the laughable shambles that John Travolta’s infamous "Battlefield Earth" was.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Jun 7, 2013
    20
    He's done it again. M Night Shyamalan has done it again. Again. Done it. Again. He has given us another film for which the only appropriate expression is stammering, gibbering wonder that anyone can keep making such uncompromisingly terrible movies with such stamina and dedication.
  3. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Jun 7, 2013
    60
    Jaden Smith takes centre stage in a futuristic rites of passager that plays like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone. Although "Oblivion" narrowly remains this summer’s better ruined-Earth actioner.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Jun 5, 2013
    88
    After Earth is ultimately too thin of a story to support all of its grandiose embellishments, but so what? It's better to try to pack every moment with beauty and feeling than to shrug and smirk. The film takes the characters and their feelings seriously, and lets its actors give strong, simple performances.
  5. 30
    Were Shyamalan and Smith deliberately invoking the terror — now omnipresent in urban African-American communities — of lethal asthma attacks in children? I’m not sure how I feel about something so real and so wrenching in the context of a Grade D (unfit for human habitation) sci-fi picture like After Earth.
  6. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Jun 3, 2013
    40
    Prepare to cringe and snicker whenever the characters are talking, but gasp when Shyamalan just shows amazing stuff.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    May 31, 2013
    40
    In his defense, the kid is saddled with a task that even a more experienced actor might have trouble pulling off: He must carry an entire action movie on his slender shoulders, given little more to act opposite than a succession of green-screen predators. Even with his charismatic dad in his earpiece calling the shots, Jaden can’t turn himself into a movie star by sheer force of Will.
  8. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    May 31, 2013
    25
    The sad truth about After Earth is that not only is it difficult to find things it does well, but there are numerous examples of outright incompetence dotting the landscape.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 31, 2013
    42
    It’s impossible to take this movie seriously, certainly not as seriously as it takes itself.
  10. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    May 31, 2013
    35
    A disastrous father-son endeavor about a calamitous father-son expedition, After Earth doesn't play to the strengths of any of its major participants.
  11. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    May 30, 2013
    63
    That there are no surprises (jumps, yes, surprises, no) should surprise no one – Will Smith movies must uplift the human spirit and reaffirm our best instincts while reassuring us that our ticket money has been well invested.
  12. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    May 30, 2013
    20
    The script has no nuance, none. And when Shyamalan moves into the director's chair, the script problems are magnified. Everything is spelled out, underlined in red.
  13. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    May 30, 2013
    50
    Though it's meant to be pulse-pounding, After Earth is a lethargic slog.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    May 30, 2013
    25
    You can’t blame Will Smith for wanting to give his son a leg up in the business. Maybe one day Jaden will have his father’s career — and his ability to carry a movie. For now, it’s a little premature to ask him to bear the weight of this soggy, waterlogged “Earth” on his skinny shoulders.
  15. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    May 30, 2013
    30
    For the most part it is an uninteresting slog alleviated only by the occasional unintended laugh and moments of visual beauty. Mr. Shyamalan generally torpedoes his movies with overweening self-seriousness.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 30, 2013
    25
    The young Smith has energy, but not the acting chops. And he's no miracle worker. The burden of carrying this dull, lifeless movie is just too much. And it's hell on an audience. It's not a good sign when you sit there thinking – Make. It. Stop.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    May 30, 2013
    38
    The art of storytelling is both of distinct narrative interest and personal issue in the latest payload of calcified nonsense from one of modern cinema's oddest would-be auteurs.
  18. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    May 30, 2013
    40
    What undoes the film is its rather rancid parent-child sentimentality (a Shyamalan staple, admittedly) and a charisma-free performance from the younger Smith that suggests the apple has fallen very far from the tree.
  19. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    May 30, 2013
    58
    The movie takes off from a concept as basic as a videogame, and it sticks to that concept, without surprise.
  20. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    May 30, 2013
    42
    The plot is simplicity itself, and Jaden's quirk-free character and bland performance don't add anything. It's actually a little sad that M. Night Shyamalan has descended to this sort of vanity-project work-for-hire, but at least he didn't insist on some absurd twist ending.
  21. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 30, 2013
    25
    Surprise — this bad dream is for real.
  22. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    May 30, 2013
    33
    Fans of either Smith will be sorely disappointed. The elder never before appeared this listless on screen, and the younger misplaced his unforced rapport with the camera that made the Karate Kid reboot so impressive. Only Shyamalan delivers what moviegoers expect from him, and that's a shame.
  23. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    May 30, 2013
    63
    In truth, despite more corn than Mel Gibson grows on his farm in "Signs" (another Shyamalan effort), After Earth is worth a look.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    May 30, 2013
    30
    Running, or stumbling, only 90 minutes, After Earth may lack the neck-swiveling awfulness of Shyamalan’s "The Last Airbender," but it quickly sinks in its logorrheic solemnity. The movie makes "Oblivion" seem as jolly a romp as "Spaceballs," and gives neither Shyamalan nor Smith much to smile about.
  25. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 30, 2013
    50
    There’s nothing more to this movie than the set-up. Even though Cypher is slowly bleeding to death, and Kitai is running out of oxygen capsules that allow him to breathe in the toxic air, there’s no sense of urgency, either. At least Shyamalan, sensing the thinness of the material, doesn’t stretch things out.
  26. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    May 30, 2013
    50
    M. Night Shyamalan has directed movies that are surprising, hokey, suspenseful, sentimental, clever, touching or cheesy. But until After Earth, he hadn’t made any that are dull from end to end.
  27. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 30, 2013
    40
    The jolts are of the jump-out-from-behind-the-door variety; you can see them coming from a long way off, too. Shyamalan seems to no longer have the confidence to let audiences figure things out or the patience to allow them to.
  28. 38
    An undemanding, childish adventure picture.
  29. Reviewed by: Laremy Legel
    May 30, 2013
    12
    After Earth stupefies us with nonsense, such little thought and logic went into this idea that it can’t even be considered a rough draft, this is a movie almost daring an audience to emotionally detach throughout. For shame!
  30. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    May 30, 2013
    40
    This would be a difficult film even for the charismatic Papa Smith to carry. That he spends nearly the entire movie in a chair doesn't help matters.
  31. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    May 30, 2013
    63
    Won't change your world, but it's attractive and Smith the Elder, lowering his voice to subterranean James Earl Jones levels, delivers a shrewd minimalist performance. His son may get there yet.
  32. Reviewed by: Gabe Toro
    May 30, 2013
    50
    The film progresses to the point where it feels less like father and son, and more like a young boy listening to an inspirational audiobook.
  33. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    May 30, 2013
    30
    Jaden is fine at running, jumping, fearful trembling, and affecting steely resolution. He doesn't yet have his father's charisma; perhaps to help him out, dad opted not to bring that charisma to the set.
  34. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    May 30, 2013
    25
    Quite simply, this is one of the worst films of 2013.
  35. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    May 30, 2013
    30
    Shyamalan is clearly a director-for-hire here, his disinterest palpable from first frame to last. Nowhere in evidence is the gifted "Sixth Sense" director who once brought intricately crafted setpieces and cinematic sleight-of-hand to even the least of his own movies.
  36. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    May 30, 2013
    25
    Jaden is not ready for his solo spotlight, and the film is the same action over and over. Another bad movie from Shyamalan.
  37. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 29, 2013
    0
    Summer 2013 has its first bomb, and sadly, it’s landed right on Will Smith.
  38. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 29, 2013
    25
    Basically, this is Smith and his real-life son, Jaden (both affecting ridiculous mid-Atlantic accents) talking the audience to death for something like 90 minutes before the closing credits.
  39. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    May 29, 2013
    40
    The disappointingly generic film, which strands a father and son on Earth a thousand years after a planet-wide evacuation, will leave genre audiences pining for the more Terra-centric conceits of "Oblivion," not to mention countless other future-set films that find novelty in making familiar surroundings threatening.
  40. Reviewed by: IgnatiyVishnevetsky
    May 29, 2013
    58
    Shyamalan’s sensibility may not be enough to turn After Earth into a great (or even very good) film, but it does yield interesting — and at times strikingly realized — results.
  41. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    May 29, 2013
    40
    The film is repetitive and not as suspenseful at it tries to be. Often gorgeous, sometimes fascinating, it is ultimately unwieldy and unsurprising. It fails as a Smith-family project. Jaden Smith, who was fine in "The Karate Kid," is flat here.
User Score
4.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 491 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 146
  2. Negative: 79 out of 146
  1. May 31, 2013
    1
    more and more it seems as if sixth sense was an anomaly
    and jaden smith couldn't act his way out of a paper bag
    this was disappointing but
    more and more it seems as if sixth sense was an anomaly
    and jaden smith couldn't act his way out of a paper bag
    this was disappointing but not unexpected
    Full Review »
  2. May 31, 2013
    0
    M Night is a very ambitious director, he only had one ambition, that is to become the worst director of all time. So he started from top toM Night is a very ambitious director, he only had one ambition, that is to become the worst director of all time. So he started from top to bottom, From Sixth sense to Last airbender, From good to worst. He has improved a lot for the past 10 years, he has mastered how to make a worse movie! So this is another which emphasizes that he is the worst director of 21st century! Full Review »
  3. Oct 4, 2013
    3
    The combination of Hollywood nepotism and a quickly fading directorial star provides the backbone for the futuristic sci-fi lack-of-adventureThe combination of Hollywood nepotism and a quickly fading directorial star provides the backbone for the futuristic sci-fi lack-of-adventure yarn "After Earth."In just his second picture since 2008, Will Smith teams with fellow Philadelphian M. Night Shyamalan, who is working from a story written by Smith, and a script by Gary Whitta "The Book of Eli" (2010). The once-revered auteur has long since fallen from grace, to the extent that his name was notably absent from any of the film's advertising. However, "After Earth" has problems that go far deeper than Shyamalan's bland tone and lethargic pacing. The movie is rarely fascinating, incredibly pedestrian, and curiously unimaginative.

    Shyamalan wastes no time commencing his narrative gimmick by announcing the rules of the story. It has been a thousand years since Earth self-destructed, ravaged by natural disasters and a deteriorating environmental infrastructure. The surviving humans evacuated the planet, settling on a new home known as Nova Prime. For 13-year-old Kitai (Jaden Smith), who is training to become a ranger like his often absent father, General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), he worries that he will let his dad down if he doesn't follow in his footsteps.

    The elder Raige decides to bring him along on his last mission before he intends to retire. En route, a meteor shower damages the spacecraft, causing it to crash-land on the now-uninhabitable Earth. With the rest of the crew dead and Cypher badly injured, it is up to Kitai to travel 100 kilometers across the harsh and wild landscape to find the tail of the ship and retrieve the beacon that will send help their way. If he doesn't succeed, father and son will perish.

    The special effects are adequate, but are noticeably fake compared to other effects-driven films like "Star Trek into Darkness" (2013) or "Oblivion" (2013). The film tries to tackle, on the most superficial level, the rites of passage. But with such a bland story and weak performances, the underlying meaning in the film only leads to indifference.

    Jaden Smith, who was decent in "The Karate Kid" (2012), completely falls flat in his performance for this role. The complete lack of emotional range stifles any of the hopelessly unimaginative screenplay's contrived father/son drama. The elder Smith may have a story credit here, but "After Earth" is not only an obvious attempt to keep his son relevant, but it is also a by-the-numbers survival story that never manages to surprise or excite despite an endless array of possibilities.

    "After Earth" feature's excessive CGI effects that rarely impresses, an A-list actor sitting on the sidelines, symbolism as obvious as the narrative is predictable, and is relentlessly uneventful. On a positive note for Mr. Smith, it's not nearly as bad as the completely forgettable "Wild Wild West" (1999).
    Full Review »