If you ignore the noise around the film that wants you to believe that it is irredeemable crap, if you wipe off the trolling that most films of Shyamalan made between 2004 and 2014 attracted, and more importantly, if you realise that most people thrashing the movie haven't actually seen it, there is a 70% chance that you will like it overall and a 90% chance that you will love a few parts in it.
Shayamalan has a way of going about things. And what is commendable is that he hasn't sacrificed that way despite his films being panned by viewers all around.
A neutral mind is the key. Whatever expectations you have from the film will most likely not be delivered to you. What you can do (as I recently read in a nicely done critical analysis of the film) is see the film instead as what the filmmaker wants you to see it as, and when compared to that you might realise that After Earth works quite well.
It has flaws (Jaden Smith is not a naturally talented actor. And so, he may have to wait a few years to pull off a movie that has him in almost all scenes. Also, how am I to believe that a 'cutlass' is the weapon we use to fight aliens in the year 3041! Where the fuck are those big-ass guns?)
But they are not of the type that will make you feel that you have wasted an hour and forty minutes of your life.
Also, what would help is to understand that this is not an out and out sci-fi action flick, just as Unbreakable is not an out and out superhero movie.
In many scenes, I found the cinematography was breath-taking and meticulously done, adding immensely to the mood.
Yes, a better child actor would've helped. And maybe a stronger story-line.
But I will still say, I liked it.
All thanks to Dag Sødtholt's excellent article on the film detailing its strengths and weak points that, as with most of his articles, avoids 'hype'.
Catch trailer here: