After Earth: Plan 10 From Outer Space

by Ethan Alter May 31, 2013 6:01 am
<i>After Earth</i>: Plan 10 From Outer Space

In hindsight, one of the most hilariously blown calls in modern movie history is the 2002 Newsweek cover that proclaimed M. Night Shyamalan as "The Next Spielberg." (Small wonder that magazine no longer exists.) To be respectful of the dead for a moment, Newsweek did make that comparison after Shyamalan was coming off the commercial hot streak of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs. It would take the next batch of movies -- starting with The Village (although I'd argue that Signs is the real... um, signpost of his decline) and continuing through The Last Airbender -- for the director's actual cinematic forbearer to reveal himself. And Shyamalan's latest effort, After Earth, only further confirms what many have long suspected: far from being the next Spielberg, Shyamalan is actually the next Wood. As in Ed Wood, the pioneering Z-movie schlockmeister, who (if you believe the Tim Burton version) had an enthusiasm for filmmaking matched only by his ineptitude.

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