There's a lot to like about the new science fiction film After Earth, directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Will and Jaden Smith. From the wonderfully organic feel of the far future world to the hazardous asteroid storm that damages their ship far from a safe planet, to the smart fabrics and tech the film should be a home run for us sci-fi fans.
But it's not.
In fact, the storyline ends up quite predictable, the juxtaposition of tech allowing interplanetary travel but unable to perform basic emergency medical care baffling, and the acting quality? It's some of the most lackluster acting I've seen in years. Even Will Smith, as legendary warrior Cypher, is so unengaged on screen it felt like they filmed a dress rehearsal rather than the cast actually performing for the camera.
The story is set a thousand years in the future where Earth has been destroyed by pollution (where have we seen that story before?) and mankind has colonized other planets. Turns out, however, that we aren't alone, and aliens called Skrel have bred vicious creatures called Ursas that have one purpose: to track down and slaughter humans. The Ursa can't see, however, they've been bred to sense fear. But that's a weakness: "ghosting" warriors who have completely control over their emotions are invisible to the Ursa and offer a way for the fearsome creatures to be destroyed.