Somehow, after a run of increasingly bad efforts capped off by the infuriating The Happening and the appallingly awful The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan is still allowed to make movies. How he’s not been thrown in Director Jail remains a mystery, and not only does he remain at large, free to crap out whatever turd of a twist ending he’s come up with and call it a plot, he’s still convincing major stars to put their names on his pieces of sh-t.
Although maybe not their faces, because Will Smith stars in Shyamalan’s latest, After Earth, and he seems to be going to some lengths to be unrecognizable. The first trailer has just come out and in it Smith affects some kind of weird, super-modulated accent so that he barely sounds like himself and there’s something wrong with his face. I don’t mean wrong like he’s been f*cking with it, but wrong like his face has been drawn on with bad CGI. Smith and his son, Jaden, both look like the victims of cheap computer airbrushing—it would be funny if the twist turned out to be that the Smiths were never even in the movie but were Photoshopped in by Shyamalan.
After Earth is yet another post-apocalyptic/dystopian future movie in which the trees at the end of The Happening won and man has abandoned Earth, which is now totally inhospitable to humans. The people-free environment on Earth is disturbed when the Family Smith crash-lands and has to survive amid the horrors of oddly forced acting and cheap CGI. It’s hard to register anything beyond whatever is happening to Will Smith’s face and wondering why he’s talking like that. They both look intensely uncomfortable in every frame they appear in, Will Smith especially. It’s like he’s trying not to move too much in the hopes that we won’t notice that it is actually him appearing in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest example of “I’m a genius, you just don’t get it” filmmaking.
Too late. We can all see you.