Quick Thoughts on Will Smith’s “After Earth”

Have you seen Will Smith’s new sci-fi flick, After Earth? The box office indicates that you probably haven’t as it came in 3rd this weekend with just under $30 million domestically. If you happen to read movie reviews online, you’ll know that there’s almost been what looks like a one-upmanship contest to see who can give a more scathing review of After Earth. One of the most striking reviews is the attempts to connect Will Smith to Scientology. I may be wrong, but from what I’ve heard of Will Smith on the subject of spirituality, these claims seem to be a bit far-fetched.

I had the chance to see the movie over the last couple of days and let me tell you… I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as the reviews would have you believe. In fact, there was a pretty good post about the movie from io9 that serves as an FAQ/review with spoilers. As I’ve gone back and read some of the reviews, there certainly seem to be some valid points. Although, I wouldn’t consider myself a film critic by any stretch of the imagination nor a film expert. While I’ve seen many movies, I don’t know what to look for the same way that someone who’s studied film would.

This may be a bit out of left field, but I wonder if the reaction to the movie has more to do with the philosophy it espouses than the “poor acting.” I remember Cloud Atlas wasn’t received with open arms, but there were some folks who did still give it positive reviews. There was certainly a philosophical bent to Cloud Atlas, though different from the one in After Earth.

The philosophy from After Earth reminded me a lot of what you might find if you read some of Byron Katie’s writings. In fact, the mini-monologue that Will’s character gives to Jaden’s character seemed like it might be something that Katie could have said herself!

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