Will Smith’s “After Earth” Review. Fear of A Black Planet?

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Saw the movie “Last Earth” this past Father’s Day and it was a blast! The flick had everything I like in a matinée sci-fi blockbuster: mind-blowing SFX, a mind expanding storyline, fast-paced action, great acting and a hunky leading man, in this case Will Smith.

On the surface the story appears to be about a young man desperately trying to live up to what he feels are the expectation of a heroic father and falling miserably short in his own eyes.

The big picture centers on the complexities of human nature and family bonding. A  father tries to instill in his son everything’s he’s learned about surviving and thriving in an often times dangerous, hostile environment.  It was no mistake that the message was particularly aimed towards black boys. The tagline of the movie ” Danger is real, fear is a choice” couldn’t be more poignant.  “Last Earth” exemplifies the time when a boy ingests everything taught to him by his father and the breakaway moment when he decides to come out from under his protective wing, to fly on his own. To be his own man.

It is the timeless coming of age story that never gets old, and the real life father/son duo of Will and Jaden Smith only added to the narrative of a rite of passage that all boys of any nationality or race should go through, but often times miss out on.



Imagine my confusion then, when finally reading reviews on ” Last Earth”  that called it a flop almost before the movie hit the theatres. Critics have the power to make or break a film because people will totally bypass seeing one based on negative reviews;

NY Daily News: “Summer 2013 has its first bomb, and sadly, it’s landed right on Will Smith.”

The Mirror: “The speaking clock has more emotional range than Will’s son Jaden Smith, with the trite scenes of him bonding with his father simply throw-your-hands-in-the-air bad.”

The Village Voice: “I fear Jaden might face online wrath for his performance here, especially thanks to the numb-tongued Kiwi accent he’s forced to adopt. He’s not bad, especially, but he is a kid asked to do the extraordinary: compel us as he pretends to do ridiculous bullsh–.”

DailyMirror on Twitter:  “As Will Smith coldly instructs him to feel, to root in this moment now, to master his own creation, I felt the purest horror I ever have at a Shyamalan film: What if this is what Jaden Smith’s life is actually like?”

These comments left me wondering “What movie did they see?!”  There were even cries of nepotism and that senior Smith used his tremendous star power in creating the role of his son in the movie Kitai Raige, for Jaden. Ummm…duh!  There’s a long list of movie star parents who starred opposite their children in movies to help push their carreer’s along. That’s what parent’s do when trying to create a legacy. It’s obvious that Will Smith wanted the role to be a gift to his son and that it was meant to help propel the boy into the stardom that he now enjoys. And why the heck shouldn’t he?  There’s room at the top of the multi-billion dollar movie industry for more than one black male and female superstar, isn’t there?

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Will and Jaden Smith

I would say to those critics that Jaden Smith was the best part of the movie and that his performance held my attention until the very end. And I was clapping at the end (which I rarely do lol!) along with others in my Manhattan theatre audience!

So, I want everyone within the site of this blog to go check out “Last Earth” and if you loved it like I did, spread the word and  make this movie the summer blockbuster that its supposed to be!

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Amy Conton is a freelance writer and graphic designer living in New York, USA.

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