What in the hell is wrong with a world that allows M. Night Shyamalan to keep writing and directing movies? Is there nothing else out there? Are there no better screenplays floating around in Los Angeles’ Starbucks and indie hipster eco-friendly coffee collectives? Shyamalan might have brought in the money before we discovered his one and only narrative move, but lately he is not even a consistent box office draw. The Last Airbender’s lifetime gross is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 130 million dollars; the movie cost 150 million to produce. The Happening limped into the black drawing 64 million on a 48 million budget. And against all reason, it cost 75 million dollars to make Lady in the Water yet the movie only returned 42 million. How do you spend 75 million dollars on the Lady in the Water.
I know, I know, he didn’t spend the money personally. But since the Hollywood institution is so shameless in the way it relates ROI as a measure of a movie’s success, I thought I’d throw it in their face for once. Anyway, here’s the craptastic Earth Day themed trailer for After Earth.
“In 2071 we were forced to leave our world.”
You’ve got to be joking. How in the name of Lucifer’s beard do you expect to sell an audience on a planetary evacuation within the next 60 years? We can’t go to the moon with our technology as it is right now. A mere eleven seconds into this trailer and After Earth is already asking me to accept near-impossible innovations in heavy lift rockets, potentially FTL-travel, ecological engineering, human augmentation, terra forming, and probably two dozen other quantum leaps in human science. Forgive me for throwing out the bullshit flag.
Oh and while we’re tossing reality to the wind, let’s blow Will Smith out of a pressurized aircraft while it’s in flight and have him survive through the miracle of handwavium. I’ve met toddlers who wouldn’t up-check that scene.
“We are the first humans to set foot on this planet in over 1000 years…” but despite being removed from a terrestrial atmosphere, gravity, and air pressure, we require nothing but t-shirts and shorts to survive here. Hey, M. Night, I’ve got this great book I want you to read. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s called War of the Worlds.
“Everything has evolved to kill humans?”
This is me putting my face into my palm.
Somebody tell me there’s a hidden camera above my desk. There is so much wrong with that statement I don’t even know where to begin. Nature might be a bitch but she isn’t vindictive. Climate change might kill off animals but it doesn’t give them the ability to react to the things which produce climate change. Moreover, even if everything on the Earth was capable of evolving to kill humans over the course of a a millennium (not likely outside of X-Men) such a change would result in an exclusively and impossibly carnivorous biosphere. There is simply no way everything could be a human killer without all life wiping itself out or nature finding a herbivore/carnivore homeostasis.
“Danger is real, but fear is a choice?”
Dear Mr. Shyamalan, fear is a neuro-chemical reaction to external stimulus, which in turn prompts a fight-flight reaction in mammalian life. Your attempt at profundities is laughable.
Also, I’m sure there’s a good reason why a civilization which has mastered interplanetary travel only equips their ships with spears and space lances. One would think a conventional pistol or a phaser might be a bit more apropos for a movie set in the thirty-first century. And maybe it’s just me but are we really going with two black guys fighting animals in the jungle with primitive weapons for this story? Really? Okay. I’m sure that’s going to play really well. I can’t imagine a scenario where somebody might read into that and find a troubling subtext.
If this trailer was supposed to be After Earth’s big television debut, then I really have to question its effectiveness. The trailer might not overtly talk down to me as a viewer, but it certainly presumes heavily upon the audience’s willingness to indulge its bat shit crazy concepts. Being that this was my first exposure to After Earth I can’t say the trailer has done anything but make me want to eviscerate this movie when it comes to theatres.