After Earth, Before The Backlash



After Earth

M. Night Shyamalan, a man whose name already has a ridiculous ending (and, indeed, beginning-and-middle) has made a career out of films with ridiculous endings.

The public fell out of love with M. Night pretty swiftly after his universally adored early effort, “The Sixth Sense.” Sure, with ten years of hindsight under our belts, that movie didn’t make any god damned sense whatsoever, but we all enjoyed it at the time, and some corners of the nerdiverse think “Unbreakable” was actually an excellent take on the comic book movie.

But then came “Signs,” in which Mel “Are you a Jew?” Gibson and Joaquin “No, but I am fucking mental” Phoenix battled an alien race so advanced that they had mastered interstellar travel by locking them in cupboards and sprinkling them with tap water.

At one point, Joaquin takes on the alien invaders with a baseball bat, a weapon that’s fairly outdated by human standards,  but in the face of super-advanced alien beings should really be the equivalent of bringing your gynaecologist to an Uzi fight.

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That film, despite being an early indicator that Mel Gibson was keen on upsetting as many people as possible, was a masterpiece compared to “The Village” (shocking twist: the ending really was as stupid as people said) and “The Lady In The Water,” a film nobody knows anything about because the target audience for stories about water-nymphs and twig monsters bothering a janitor is smaller than the number of people who can correctly spell “Shyamalan.”

Then there was “The Happening,” in which Mark Wahlberg talked to the trees, but they don’t listen to him. Probably because he’s kind of a dick. Still, terrible movie.

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After “The Last Airbender” got the kind of rage-fucking from the geek community that’s normally reserved for characters named “Binks”, everyone assumed that the fat lady was singing for Shyamalan. Probably a fat lady who turned out to be a man in drag who was really the ghost of a tree, or something, but still, nobody was ever going to give him any responsibility again, right?!

Assuming you’re new to rhetorical questions, the answer is that M. Night is directing Will Smith’s new movie, “After Earth,” due in cinemas this summer.

Aside from having a title that sounds far too close to “afterbirth” for comfort, the movie sees Big Willie playing Colonel Cypher Raige, which actually manages to be a more laughable moniker than “Big Willie.” I’d actually probably take a character more seriously if he was named Big Willie Cockhard, because it’s somehow less ridiculous than the eight-year-old’s-idea-of-badass name we’ve ended up with.

Arriving on the long-abandoned wilderness planet called Earth, Colonel Cypher Raige must bond with his son (played by Jaden Smith) and fight CGI monsters and all that jazz.

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The tagline’s awful, too. “Danger is real. Fear is a choice.”  I’m not expecting a degree in neuroscience from anyone who writes movie taglines for a living, but a basic understanding of fear would be beneficial before you start spouting off on the subject. As a good rule of thumb, the people who say “I’ve decided not to be afraid” are the ones who are a) afraid and b) about to make a large number of poor decisions, normally resulting in the rest of us having to clean what’s left of them up with a mop.

All of this is, of course, immaterial. Laughable character names, hackneyed plotting and awful taglines are just the preamble to what we’re all waiting for: the poorly thought out ending twist that marks all Shyamalan movies.

So, without further ado, here are our favourite ideas so far:

1. There are actually some humans left and the movie ends with a gladiatorial showdown between Jaden Smith and a native warrior, played by Ralph Macchio.

2. After causing trouble on the derelict earth, Will Smith is sent to live with his auntie and uncle in Bel Air.

3. The alien creatures on earth destroy the human mother ship using Jeff Goldblum’s apple mac.

4. Jaden Smith is recounting the entire movie to an overly-credulous Chazz Palminteri.

5. “Rosebud.”

6. The entire story takes place in distant pre-history. This has the added bonus twist ending of seeing Shyamalan sued by the Battlestar Galactica people.

7. Will Smith is a ghost/robot/ghost of a robot: Cypher Raige is in fact dead, and has had himself made into a computer program or similar so that he can guide his son, Obi Wan style.

8. Holy shit, WordPress actually understands what “Obi Wan” means without questioning the spelling. This isn’t related to the movie, but is more surprising and impressive than the last few “twist” movies released.

9. All of the above – especially the WordPress thing.

10. In the most ambitious, shocking deceit in movie history, this film actually turns out not to suck.

…Nah, that last one would just be silly…



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