After Earth: Can Will Smith help M. Night Shyamalan?

     Saw this trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's "After Earth."  I must say it looks fairly impressive.  Then again, when I first saw the Last Airbender trailer, it looked good at first- but it turned out to be an absolutely atrocious film.  He hasn't made a really good film since "Signs." 
     For me at least, I'll give it a chance.  Will Smith tends to be great in pretty much everything.  So what I'm wondering is, can the Smiths help redeem movies for Shyamalan?  This has the added benefit of Shyamalan not being the writer.  It is mainly written by Stephen Gaghan, who wrote Traffic and Syriana.  Which could be a very good thing for him- having anoter writer to level things out.  Hopefully this does well enough to regain the respect of moviegoers towards Shyamalan.

     Overall this looks like a father and son bonding movie combined with a coming of age film (in a new and hostile environment). Intriguing if nothing else. I'm going to take a chance on this, even if it's just for the visual effects' eye candy. I'm hoping it'll be at least a decent movie.

     Plot synopsis:
One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind's new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai's craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.

     Well, I know the first thing many people are going to wonder is, aside from the fact their last names are Raige, what's the twist?  Shyamalan seems to always need one.  Just from the trailer- I would guess one of two things-

     1) Will Smith is a "non-person"?  It looks like he's ripped out of the ship when it's being torn open and crashing so maybe he dies in the beginning and continues through the rest of the film in a non-physical manner.  Maybe he's Jaden's future self, being imagined as a guide of sorts.  Or, on a FAR OUT THERE guess, perhaps a time travelling future self, guiding him through events he knows about before being sucked out of the ship.  Hell, Will Smith might play both Cypher and an aged Kitai.  If they set the film in multiple times.
     Perhaps he could be a hologram or synthetic human.  I don't know.  It's fairly difficult to judge by just the trailer here.  While it says there were 2 survivors, that could also be a ruse for storytelling purposes, as it looks fairly bad when he's thrown down that hall, then the ship is pulled apart during the fall to Earth.  So maybe he does survive and is just injured pretty badly and Jaden's character has to make it to Will and then go from there.  I mean it does show a LOT of Jaden scenes by himself, and then Will in a small control center type area communicating with him.

     2)  This Earth may be in the long reaches of the past, as opposed to a possible distant future.  Many old Scifi stories have used this notion and it works all right.  I don't think it would matter much as to when the story takes place.  The reason I mention this is because I believe I caught glimpses of a couple of dinosaur type animals.  In particular a sabre-toothed tiger.
     This might end up being an Earth seeding film- one where man leaves then returns to re-seed and repopulate the Earth.  Not necessarily through the typical human reproductive means.

     I'm sure I'll have more to say as more is released.

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