I may be 1 of 5 movie reviewers who actually liked this movie. Unlike most of the population, I really like M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. I loved Signs. I loved The Village. I loved The Happening. I loved Lady in the Water. If that makes me lose credibility as a reviewer………………then sue me. I’m just here to share my opinion and hopefully strike up some respectful conversation. While M. Night didn’t actually write this one, it still has the same feel as his other movies. They are all actually emotional dramas that happen to have a sci-fi or horror element to them. Rather than sci-fi or horror films that contain emotional drama.
I think one of the problems people have with this movie (as with the others) is that it is more about teaching a lesson and character development, than it is about action and explosions and CGI. It is NOT a non-stop ride of fight sequences, monsters, chase scenes, and violence. While it does have enough of that, there is a lot of it that focuses on the relationship between a father and son. A father and son with differences. A father and son with problems. Yet they are a father and son who are both willing to risk their own lives to save the other. It is an emotional movie that takes a look at the psychological effects a chaotic experience can have on two completely different people and how it can either bring you closer together or tear you apart.
Now I’m not saying it doesn’t have a lot of action. There is plenty. A ship crashes. Animals attack. Aliens attack. There is a bit of flying, or stylistic falling really. It is kind of like the Hunger Games but in a space suit with aliens. It is entertaining and stressful, but in a calm manner if you get what I mean. The audience has a lot of time to rest and relax. Although…….I can count about five points in the film when the whole audience jumped out of their seats about three feet.
That is another thing. I know I am not the only person who liked this movie, because of the audience I watched it with. The theater was pretty packed and mostly with teenage boys, who are pretty critical when it comes to science fiction movies. They were all sitting in the front, while the parents sat in the back. According to the noises this audience had throughout the movie, this was the greatest movie they had ever seen. They laughed at every funny moment, they jumped at the scary moments, they sighed with relief every time Jaden Smith wasn’t killed. And………………..they clapped when the movie was over. They clapped. Rarely does this happen when I go to the movies. I don’t even think my theater clapped after Star Trek, and that was an awesome movie. When we came out of the theater, the teenage boys were enthusiastically discussing their favorite part and how they reacted when it happened. My Mom (who loathes science fiction movies) absolutely loved it and declared her undying love for the Smiths again. My Dad (who hates anything that doesn’t have blood and guts and heads chopped off) also liked it and even cried a bit at the end.
So am I crazy for loving this movie? I guess not. The music was great. Another terrific score by James Newton Howard. Will Smith and Jaden Smith are great actors in my opinion. I have been impressed by little Will since he was a kidlet in Pursuit of Happyness. Despite the reviews, I think he will have a great career and prove his worth in the future. It helps that his Dad is untouchable. Will Smith could star in the worst movie of all time and still make bank in his next film. The Smith factor. It’s real. And Jaden has it. He is a mini-me of his father and every time he cries or looks scared, I want to give him a hug and tell him it will be ok. I think he is precious. Maybe that makes me a bit bias, but I don’t care.
My advice to you is to check out this film and form an opinion of your own. How many times have you listened to the critics and then watched the film and loved it? Or hated what they loved? I always go with the opposite of what critics say. It usually works. This is not a terrible film. It just isn’t for everyone. Teenage boys seem to like it. Parents seem to like it. Even the couple on a date next to me seemed to like it. So there you go.