Shyamalan’s ‘After Earth’ with a Transformative Post-Climate Crisis Message

On a Saturday evening, I decided to revisit M. Night Shyamalan’s aesthetically pleasing visual experience. Putting aside the beauty and attention to detail every shot achieves in enhancing its narrative (discussed further on my analysis of the film), I want to instead focus on some of the important underlying themes and overall message After Earth tries to convey to the audience, especially during a time where the climate crisis is getting worse combined with climate deniers refusing to accept science.

From the first opening sequences of the film, Jaden Smith’s character, Kitai Raige, narrates the Earth’s changes due to the threat of human activity accompanied by shots of pollution in the air and unusual natural disasters:

I’ve heard stories of Earth. A paradise. Until we destroyed it.

Warning. This planet has been declared unfit for human habitation, placed under class-one quarantine by the interplanetary Authority. Under penalty law, do not attempt to land. Repeat, do not attempt to land.

This is a class 1 quarantined planet. Everything on this planet has evolved to kill humans.

Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.

 

More coming soon.

 

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