Here’s my brief, one-sentence review for those who don’t want to read my ramblings on: not enough animal attacks.
Will Smith is a soldier who takes his son on an interstellar space voyage which crash lands on earth. However, earth has been abandoned for an indeterminate number of years and has grown wild. However, the son must locate the beacon in the tail end of the ship, despite knowing that there are unknown monsters out in the jungle. So basically its the first episode of Lost.
Seriously though, the premise is kept pretty simple, but the wrappings involving the sci-fi, futuristic set-up are interesting enough. The neatest aspect is the idea of “ghosting’, or showing no fear to blind yourself from aliens who sense fear pheromones.
The best part of the movie is when the kid has to get through the jungle with highly evolved animals hunting him. The problem is, like I stated before, there is simply not enough of this. There are two, maybe 3 encounters with deadly animals in the whole movie. And though these encounters were really good, especially the fight in the giant eagle’s nest, I still wanted more. I felt they had a real opportunity here to show a super evolved ecosystem and the interplay between different animals. They could have shown how predators became more fierce, so other animals became more evolved to counter-act that (we get a glimpse of this with the intricate bird’s next) and so on. But it was disappointingly wasted.
Otherwise the movie is pretty enjoyable, with some boring parts sprinkled throughout, such as when the boy has a vision of his sister on the boat. And Jaden Smith just doesn’t have the acting chops of his father. There’s a scene where he is screaming about not being a coward which is very, very weak, both with the writing and acting.
So I guess I have to say that overall its a decent watch. The visuals are strong, but they could have done more with the wild earth setting. The kid’s character arc is decent even though you see the resolution coming a mile away.