I will start by saying that I had no expectations going into this movie. I actually rather dreaded it as I am tired of the post-apocolyptic Earth scenario. I find it dark and depressing and truthfully, I would rather watch a comedy instead. But alas, I love Will Smith from his early movie "Six Degrees of Separation," as well as "The Pursuit of Happyness" and even "Hancock." So I trudged into the empty theater of the first showing of opening day. The first scene was exactly what I anticipated. We started off with a look back at what happened to planet Earth 1,000 years ago. It wasn't pretty. But what happened after that was the beginning of a story of a father and a son and their relationship.
Will Smith and his son, Jaden, played the on-screen father-son duo Cypher and Kitai Raige. Cypher was a high ranking, well-respected military leader, but frequently absent father. Kitai, dealing with the guilt of his older sister's death by a human-killing alien, wanted nothing more than to make his father notice him and make him proud. Cypher had difficulties playing both the role of father and leader, at least with his son, and frequently erred on the side of military general. With the encouragement of Cypher's wife, Cypher and his son went on a routine space travel mission. With the emergency crash landing on hostile Earth, the two were the only survivors. Cypher was incapacitated which left his young son to do the work of a Ranger; to save them both.
Will Smith initially was an unlikable character as he had no fear. This ability to choose to have no fear enabled him to be a "ghost" to the human-killing aliens. With no fear, he also seemed to have no emotion. As Cypher got to know his son better through life and death situations, we saw him grow. Jaden Smith's character, Kitai, was that of an insecure and fearful child. His character also grew as he started to better relate to his father. Was this a predictable film? Sure. But it was also suspenseful and entertaining. The scenery and CGI was believable and the special effects were great. I particularly loved the mother bird scene doing what any mother would do. Hey, I'm a mom...I had to throw that in there!
I really did enjoy this movie,
although I think it's targeted toward the preteen and teen male population. With Father's Day right around the corner, this is a nice film for a father and son to go see. Or even the whole family! It's a "clean" movie with no bad language, but there is some violence. The violence isn't anything a 10 year old couldn't handle, though. I have to say that the marketing of this film threw me off. I hadn't anticipated this to be a kid's movie geared toward boys focusing upon a father and son relationship. I think a better title of the film would have been FEAR NOT!