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May 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

If Will Smith had hoped to spend some quality time making a movie with his son Jaden, he should have picked a different screenplay rather than sticking with the one that he himself proposed, most critics suggest. Indeed, Joe Morgenstern begins his review in the Wall Street Journal by asking, “Is After Earth the worst movie ever made?” He later writes: “I’ve never seen a movie that moves so slowly, or takes itself so seriously, which is why it doesn’t seem like a movie at all, but a sermon whose central subject is fear: ‘Danger is real,’ the father tells the son, ‘but fear is a choice.’ So a right question might be why After Earth was made.” Rafer Guzmán in Newsday describes it as “grindingly slow” and Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News as “interminable,” and Claudia Puig in USA Today as “a lethargic slog. … a pricey vanity project.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times amplifies that assessment: “Once upon a time, Hollywood parents gave their children sports cars as gifts. These days, apparently nothing less than a big-screen vanity project will do for Junior,” she writes. Peter Howell in the Toronto Star argues that “the only value in watching it is to see an expensive disaster slowly unfold.” But Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer is willing to cut director M. Night Shyamalan and cast some slack. “the takes are long and unhurried,” he acknowledges, “and if the words are sometimes ponderous, hey, it’s nice to not feel rushed for a change.”