I think the New York Times got it right when it said in its review of After Earth that not too long ago, Hollywood stars used to buy their children expensive sports cars as gifts. Now they give them $130 million vanity projects to star in. And after seeing the film, I wish Jaden had asked for a Porsche instead too.
And not only that, but it’s also a devious Scientology indoctrination scheme as well. And I’m not the only one saying that. Even Marc Headley, who was, for 15 years, a high ranking member of the cult…I mean church . . . and who was written a book exposing what goes on behind the scenes there, says that AE “contains language, concepts and imagery plucked directly from the L. Ron Hubbard playbook.”
In other words, AE is basically Will Smith’s Battlefield Earth. And I don’t want to bash Jaden Smith who is just awful in the role, though it’s SO tempting too. He’s only 14, I’m sure he gets enough grief as is anyway.
And yes I can already hear what a bunch of you are going to say-that we should support the film because we rarely get films about black fathers and sons. And it’s sci-fi to boot. So that I say “so what.” It still sucks. I would rather see a film about a gangster teaching his son about the game, if it was a really well made film.
But the expectation was that AE would come in second this weekend, after Fast and Furious 6. But in a surprise it got clipped by Now You See Me, which got just as bad reviews as AE did. Were audiences more in the mood for a phony film about magicians pulling off large scale heists than Will and Jaden? Who knows? However the overseas numbers for AE should make up somewhat for whatever shortcomings the film will make domestically.
However, the one genuine surprise this week is that a Bollywood film, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deew, actually cracked the top ten. It's happened before and reminds us that there are whole other film industries (Bollywood, Latino films) that are attracting large audiences that we regularly overlook with our gaze on Hollywood films all the time.