M. Night Shyamalan returns to theaters this summer with the big-screen sci-fi tale After Earth. Although the film looks stunning, there’s still a big question about this film’s quality. Will Smith has a great on-screen presence, but it looks like After Earth will mainly follow his son, Jaden Smith, instead. As for Shyamalan, well… he’s M. Night Shyamalan. Still, one of the film’s writers is throwing out some pretty ballsy comparisons to earlier films. We’ll see if those claims pan out when the movie opens later this month.
In an interview with SciFiNow, screenwriter Gary Whitta gave audiences a taste of what After Earth can offer them. Whitta compared the upcoming film to two very iconic movies. Whitta says:
Every single thing on this planet will kill you, so Jaden [Smith] has a pretty interesting journey in this movie just trying to stay alive. If you took Jurassic Park and then dumped King Kong into the middle of it, that’s kind of what you have in this environment.
The father/son relationship is at the center of After Earth. Although the film is set in the future, long after humanity has abandoned our homeworld, After Earth is really about Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son Kitai (Jaden). Whitta continues:
The movie has to work on a human emotional level first, you cannot rely on the trappings of the science fiction premise or the concept gimmick; it has to stand on its own. They had that, and it was only subsequently that Will decided to set it 1,000 years in the future, so the budget went up a little bit, but it remained a story about a father and a son.”
After cataclysmic events, humanity has left Earth behind for another planet called Nova Prime. A thousand years later, a military recruit named Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his father, army General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), crash on Earth after a terrible collision with an asteroid. Abandoned and isolated in uncharted terrain, Kitai and Cypher must work together to survive the new Earth, which is now inhabited by dangerous plant and animal life that has evolved to kill all humans.
Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) and Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) co-wrote the screenplay for After Earth, while M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender, Unbreakable) co-wrote and directed the upcoming sci-fi film. Will Smith and his wife and producing partner, Jada Pinkett Smith, served as producers.
After Earth will hit theaters everywhere on May 31st, in IMAX.