I could have been at a barbecue!
M. Night Shyamalan, Will Smith and Jaden Smith
May 31st, 2013
This film is the next step in Shyamalan’s continuing slide of box office disappointments and a large step backwards for its two premier actors. Will and Jaden play Cypher and Kitai Raige — so badly spoken in the movie I needed Wikipedia to spell them — ans are a father and son/general and cadet duo who are stranded on Earth 1000 years after humanity had abandoned it.
With Will Smith badly injured it is left to the inexperienced Jaden to travel 100 km to find the distress beacon that was lost in the crash. Over that distance are creatures that have all evolved in ways that make them a danger to poor Jaden.
In concept, this film has a lot going for it; a general and a war hero who hasn’t spent much time with his son is now stranded with him and is forced to send his son into peril to save them. Even the main antagonist, creatures called the Ursa — which hunt by the scent of fear pheromones was potentially interesting, and the humans having to fight by “ghosting” or suppressing fear had a lot going for it. However, the movie does not take advantage of these elements but instead collapses under two huge problems: bad acting and plot holes.
Going into this, I was not expecting a good performance from Jaden — I was not disappointed. He overacts and hams it up to the camera throughout the whole movie and this kid seriously needs some elocution lessons. In one scene he directly yells “I AM NOT A COWARD!” to the camera which I thought was him trying to convince the audience of this.
The biggest disappointment was the Fresh Prince himself. The character Will Smith plays is an old time jaded general who has lost a lot in his fights. The problem is that Will can’t pull off jaded convincingly. This role would’ve been one better suited to someone like Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis. Also as a father character, it’s not until the final ten minutes that you see any love between him and his son. While in the past Will Smith could make a bad movie enjoyable — Independence Day — he does not do it here. (Editors note: Independence Day is the greatest movie of all time by far)
The other problem is the numerous plot holes in this movie. The two most glaring are the Ursa and Will Smith’s wounds. To fight the Ursas both Jaden and Will (in flashback) use a badass morphing swordstaff. Why would anyone fight a creature that senses fear and is armed with giant claws and acid spit with a melee weapon and not a rifle? If they stated that the creature had bulletproof hide or something it would’ve been acceptable but they never do. It just makes the characters look stupid.
Secondly, Will’s wounds, two broken legs, have cut into the arteries in his upper thighs. I may not have the best medical knowledge but everything I have read seems to imply that it kills as fast as cutting the jugular. Yet despite this he survives over four days (not very clear on time frame) before he is given proper medical attention. Any real person would have bled out long before this.
In conclusion this movie is a big disappointment for me as a viewer. However, it is merely in the execution of the ideas. The creatures and the universe that this movie presents are fascinating and something I would love to see fan fictions written about. The best way to view this movie would be to get sloshed with a group of friends and make fun of all the little stupidities. My final words on this are a rating 4/10 and to wait for a rental if you have to see this film.