Predictable plot but great action in After Earth

Photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5b/After_Earth_Poster.jpg

Fear. Central to the theme of After Earth, the movie is set on a faraway planet, home to human beings. Earth had been destroyed, by the very dangers we humans pose to the environment today, so much so that people have had to seek a new planet to live on. This sci-fi film features a young Cadet, Kitai (Jaden Smith) and his father, Cypher (Will Smith), a legendary commander, who are travelling through space with the other rangers (soldiers). Hit by a meteor storm, their ship crash lands on Earth with father and son being the only two survivors. Poor daddy is injured and Kitai is, for the first time, being put out in the field in search of a beacon that would save their lives. Kitai, who often lets fear control his mind, eventually learns to control his fear as he battles a monstrous alien, Ursa, and save his father.

Personally, sci-fi is not my cup of tea. The only reason why I caught this film was because I was interested in how a real-life father and son act as fictional father and son, onscreen. I expected the acting to be rather awkward; however, to my surprise and amusement, both were deeply immersed in their roles and were very expressive and natural. This, I enjoyed.

For hardcore sci-fi lovers, the plot would probably bore you. The storyline, I found, was rather mediocre. I don’t usually watch sci-fi films, and despite that, I still thought the story was very predictable. A super soldier dad gets his legs broken and timid little boy has to save him, overcome his fear and kill the big bad monster. The end. The story could have used a few more twists.

Perhaps action rather than plot is what sci-fi fans are looking for? If so, they will not be disappointed. I was thoroughly impressed with the action. There were pockets of suspense that I had to curl up in my seat, turn away and cover my eyes. Well, of course I still peeked. $7.50 to watch this film, why would I even miss a single moment?  These action set-pieces were extremely thrilling — and this is coming from someone who, like Kitai, fears most things.

What impressed me the most was the theme: “Danger is Real, Fear is a Choice”. Danger exists, but whether to fear or shun it is indeed a choice. Fear, and you shall never achieve. Overcome fear, and you will. This quote has inspired me to control my mind and my fear so that I can step up to whatever challenge I may encounter in the future.

Overall, I would give this movie, 3.5 out of 5. It is worth to catch it on the big screen for the action and suspense.

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