Posts Tagged ‘ Will Smith ’

After Earth

After-Earth-2013-Forest-ViewThousands of years in the future, man no longer lives on earth. They live on foreign planets. Full of terrible creatures and inhospitable conditions. The reason for this? Pollution of course. Destruction of the natural resources resulted in a planet barren and uninhabitable. However, Earth is a fighting planet, and through the course of thousands of years, it has regrown and rebirthed. Earth remembers what killed it for centuries- Man. So now, everything has regrown and evolved to do one thing.

Kill Humans.

So the humans live on other worlds, relying on the Rangers to protect them against fearsome beasts. The greatest of these beasts is the Ursa. A creature who cannot see, but hunts through sensing fear in its prey. They are deadly, as one look at them and instant your heart would jump into your mouth. Kitai’s father, has been the only one to “Ghost” or to be completely without fear in the face of certain death, and has killed many- protecting the remaining mankind. Kitai desires, and longs to be a Ranger like his father, but events of the past and decisions of the present have kept him from realizing this goal.

When his father invites him on a spaceship ride to accompany him on a mission, he accepts. But something goes terribly wrong, a space storm hits their ship, and they must crash land, then survive, on one planet.

That Planet, is earth.

Things I Liked

Cypher, Katai’s father, is man respected in the world, but not by his son. When he comes back from a trip, we see the divide between him and his family. His wife offers some excellent advice, when he voices his displeasure at being so distant from his son. “Katai doesn’t need a commanding officer, he needs a father.“. The next day, we see Cypher put that advice into action. He not only intentionally pursues and builds a better relationship with his son throughout this film, but also listens to and supports his wife in a sensitive way. Cypher is humanity’s best and most reliable solider, but he also has a heart who loves his family. That’s a real man.

Katai deals with many emotional wounds of the past, mainly the fact his sister was brutally mauled and killed by an Ursa when his father was away. He witnessed it at a very young age, but lived because she kept him sealed in a special case of glass. He feels guilt, anger, and confusion because of this event. He lashes out at his father, but Cypher always is there to firmly challenge him on what he thought. Never does Cypher tell him whether he was right or wrong. He treats his son like a man, and makes him figure it out for himself. To get past his fear, and to live decisively.

In the end this results in an incredibly display of father and son love and commitment to the other. It is the largest theme of this movie, and is portrayed in an excellent manner.

A solider, who just lost a leg, stands himself up to salute Cypher to show respect.

Things I Didn’t Like

There are a lot of graphic images of humans being killed, or have been killed by the Ursa. This includes men being impaled through the chest, mauled and thrown, and crushed. After the ship crashes, we are shown many dead bodies strewn throughout the wreckage. Later we see the other survivors, who left the ship, dead- impaled on trees. We see a pile of dead monkey bodies, limbs, and other appendages strewn across a clearing after a predator has done its work.

Cypher sustains some serious wounds in the crash, and he has to do some bloody work on himself to survive. This was more gruesome than the actual battles shown with the Ursa, as the blood flows freely on screen.

Kitai also has to face many dangerous things on earth. He is bitten by a leech and has to inject himself with serum to survive. He fights with a straight Sythe, which he uses to cut animals who would attack him. W In a dream he sees his sister with a bloody and beaten up face, who then warns Katai to wake up. The image is short, but creepy nonetheless.

Closing Thoughts

Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed. ~Cypher~

While advertised to be a survival action flick, After Earth delivers a surprisingly rich and message driven plot. One often lost in Science fiction movies. The movie shows a type of “Rite of Passage” for Kitai. He must deal with and face his past guilt. His indecision, his anger toward his father, and his pride in his abilities. Through the journey of recovering a rescue beacon, he learns being a Ranger is more than just following orders and Having skills. It is a matter of Character.

What is most sweet about this learning process, is his dad guides him through the entire process. Even though Kitai is at odds with him, and Cypher shows barely any love for his son, in the end, they work as a team which each learns from the other. They sacrifice for the other and work towards the common goal- working out disagreements and distrust. It was great to see a semi-accurate development of a father son bond, with respect going both ways by the completion of the journey.

This movie is also devoid of innapropriate sexual content, foul language, and over the top ridiculous special effects. It tells a uplifting story of boy and father versus the wild. I will say, the battles of boy vs beasty are quite intense, and there are some graphic images of dead animals, and people killed by the Ursa. This is what earned the film the PG-13 rating, and you should be aware of that if you check this one out.

To put it simply, After earth is everything it should be, and hardly anything it shouldn’t. Strong positive messages about the importance of family over careers, concepts of fear- how misplaced it is, and the growth of a boy into a man is something not only to applaud, but also to support and reflect upon.

Men in Black

Men in Black posterNYPD officer James Edwards was just doing his job, chasing down a criminal through the streets of New York when something strange happened — the perp blinked two sets of eyelids.  The rest of the police department doesn’t believe James, but somebody does — a mysterious man in in a black.

The man in black is known only as Agent K, and after some convincing, he recruits James to be part of the Men in Black — a secret agency that monitors, screens, and covers up alien activity on the planet earth.  James becomes Agent J, dons his own black suit, and partners with K to find out what threat is sending scores of formerly happy aliens running back home.

The answer?  A bug, a violent, parasitic alien who feeds on other life forms, and wants to obtain the Galaxy to help his race win a war with the Arquillians.  As if that weren’t trouble enough, the Arquillians regretfully announce that to keep the bug from obtaining the Galaxy, they will destroy earth if the bug isn’t stopped before their deadline, which is just hours away.

Can K and J work together to stop the bug, deliver the Galaxy, and save the earth before the whole planet and every man, woman and extra-terrestrial on it are blasted into oblivion?

The Good

Honestly, the movie is more a fun ride than anything else.  It is absolutely hilarious from beginning to end, with fun characters, just enough of an arc to make the story feel worthwhile, and a bittersweet ending that tugs at your heartstrings.  There’s not much thematic substance to the story.

There are a few messages.  J learns to take the world just a little more seriously, and that everything is not a game.  The two agents learn to cope with each others’ vastly different viewpoints and are willing to lay down their lives for each other and for the people of earth.

Mostly, though, it’s just to make you laugh — lighten your spirit.  And it will.  It’s loads of fun.

The Bad

Unfortunately, it’s not as clean as I could wish.  The main problem is language, of which there is a whole lot throughout the film.  It’s on the mild side as bad words go, but there is an awful lot of it.

A morgue worker in an extremely short skirt, Laurel, is romantically attracted to Agent J, an attraction which he returns.  While nothing really ever happens between them, they flirt a few times and in one scene she tries to tell him that she’s being held hostage, and he thinks that she is propositioning him.

There are also a lot of scary/disturbing elements, especially the villain — the “bug.”  Disturbing enough in his natural giant cockroach state, he’s more bothersome still after killing a farmer and using the man’s empty skin as a disguise.   It’s not shown in gory detail, but the result is still pretty disgusting.  Aliens’ heads are shot off and grown back, one character is eaten alive by the bug, and two alien characters are murdered.  There’s a lot of that sort of violence — nothing really downright graphic, but some stuff that’s just plain gross.

The Art

The highlight of the film is definitely the acting.  Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are a riot together, and they completely make the film worthwhile.  Minor characters are also well-acted, but the heart of the story is the two agents and their hilarious relationship.

The visual effects are decent, especially for the time the film was made.  Danny Elfman’s score is memorable and fitting, the plot, while complex, is well-paced and engaging.

If you don’t mind the swearing and the alien weirdness, this is a delightful film to laugh away a couple hours with.  If you have a problem with language in films, this is definitely one to skip.  Hopefully, this review will help you decide whether or not this classic is a movie you care about seeing.