One of Hollywood’s most gifted, and yet at times maddeningly inconsistent directors. M. Night Shyamalan’s is back with another movie, and you what?
It looks pretty damn good.
I know there are a great many people who have tired of Shyamalan’s cinematic vision after films like Lady in the Water (2006) and The Happening (2008) fail to deliver on the promise of The Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000) – and yes for this sic-fi geek Signs (2002) which has one of the most terrifying alien sightings in any movie I have ever seen – but I think they fail to realise that the man has the goods.
He knows what makes a good story and while sometimes the execution may falter a little, or yes a lot, there’s never any doubt that he knows how to spin a tale.
His most recent effort, Devil (2010, about a group of people trapped in the lift one of whom may be Satan, and who begin dying one by one in the tradition of all the best claustrophobic murder mysteries underlined that in spades.
And I am willing to bet my entire collection of in-the-box Star Wars figurines – you know, if I, um, actually owned any – that After Earth will do much the same.
The sci-fi epic, which is set to bow in theatres on June 7, 2013 (USA), and which stars father-and-son acting team Will, and Jaden Smith (no sign of Willow), is set far into the future when mankind has abandoned Earth after a series of catastrophic events.
With humanity’s remnant safely ensconced on Nova Prime, and Earth designated a Quarantine 1 planet, there is no real need, or desire to go there.
But General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), who is a member of the most influential family on Nova Prime – the Raiges were the ones responsible for developing the technology taken from a down alien spaceship in 1908 in Siberia (see the clip immediately below) that allowed humanity to flee Earth – and his son Kitai, who aren’t exactly close, are forced to navigate it’s now wild and foreign landscape after a crash landing on the planet.
While his father lays dying in the cockpit, Kitai must journey across a world which is completely unknown and at times hostile to retrieve their rescue beacon and bring the rescue cavalry running.
Fearful though he is, he is emboldened by his father’s parting words that “fear is not real, it is a product of the thoughts that we create.”
It’s a fair bet that somewhere in that amazing journey, which is beautifully realised if the trailer is anything to go by, he will grow as a young man and get in touch with not only his dad (assuming he lives but then hey what kind of screenwriter is going to let Will Smith die?) but also his terran heritage.
It promises to be an epic, suspenseful story, and I believe, yes I believe dear readers, a well told story that I think will renew faith in M Night Shyamalan’s ability to tell a gripping, engaging story.
I never really lost the faith and cannot wait till After Earth finds it’s way to my local cinema.
* In the meantime, here’s the trailer …