After Earth

First slide

Grueling sci-fi adventure set 1,000 years after humans have been forced to evacuate an environmentally despoiled Earth. While on an intergalactic military mission, a general (Will Smith) and his teen son - played by Smith's real-life son Jaden - become the sole survivors of a crash landing on the Blue Planet. With Dad temporarily disabled as a result, the lad must brave a hostile array of predators in order to reach the other part of their wrecked spacecraft - and the signal beam that represents their only hope of rescue. While the filial relationship at the heart of director and co-writer M. Night Shyamalan's plodding coming-of-age drama is ultimately characterized by self-sacrificing love, the code by which the father lives - and which he strives to instill in his offspring - seems to have more in common with Zen Buddhism than with the values promoted in Scripture. The script's glib portrayal of the bonds uniting veterans will also strike at least some viewers as either jingoistic or exploitative.

Watch out for: Much action violence, some of it bloody, gory medical images, a stifled crude term, a few mildly crass expressions.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13, parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013