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After Earth is an entertaining movie, but Jaden Smith, rather than Will, is the star

Jaden-SmithAfter Earth was rather panned by the critics in both the US and the UK, though first day audiences rated it “satisfactory.”  I saw a trailer and went to see the movie on the strength of it.  The critics were too harsh, in that I found it to be quite entertaining.  It had two main virtues: none of it was boring and none of it was silly.  The basic plot is that when they crash onto an Earth long abandoned to hostile life-forms, the ranger commander’s 14 year-old son has to undertake a hazardous trek to locate and activate a distress beacon that will bring rescue for himself and his injured father.

No scene goes on too long, and the excitement is kept ratcheted up as young Jaden encounters and escapes the various dangers en route, with his injured dad  following his progress on a com-link.  I thought the special effects and CGI quite plausible, and didn’t detect any fake scenery.  It was easy to suspend disbelief and get absorbed by the story.  After Earth isn’t really an actor’s movie, but there were none of the rather wooden performances that tend to feature in action movies.  Jaden is actually quite a good actor and is on camera most of the time, with his movie and real-life father Will Smith in a mostly sedentary supporting role.  I rated it quite good and well worth seeing, but this might be because I’m a science fiction fan and write some of it myself.

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