After Earth: A New Day in Sci Fi?

Even though it’s still nearly a year from release, buzz is brewing about the new M. Night Shyamalan-directed, Will Smith-produced sci fi project, After Earth. The film is about a father and son who crash land on Earth a thousand years after humans have abandoned it. After the narrative fiasco called Prometheus, we desperately, desperately need new hope for American (big budget) sci fi film. After Earth actually has an interesting, novel premise — and the way that it’s come together in terms of talent, chances are (!) it won’t be the usual delusional, cliché- and stereotype-ridden Hollywood fodder. The fact that black characters will be central to a story that’s not about racism is not only unspeakably refreshing, but hopefully it’s a sign that maybe (just maybe) not everyone in Hollywood is paralyzed by an insatiable need to pander to obselete, nonsensical racial and sexual caricatures….and an exclusion of women of color as attractiveinteresting characters. (Did I mention Prometheus?) Then again, Will Smith is producing — thank heavens for high-end DIY.

In addition to starring Will Smith and young Jaden Smith, the lovely and talented Sophie Okonedo (left, Dirty Pretty ThingsHotel RwandaSkin) and equally lovely and talented Zoe Kravitz (right, Mad Max: Fury RoadX-Men: First ClassYelling to the Sun) are now also starring. This should be interesting.

One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.

Last but not least, prolific screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana, NYPD Blue ) was  brought on board to whip the script into shape.

Good signs all around.

Check out the video teaser


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