It’s been a few merciful years since we have heard from once hot, now shot, M. Night Shyamalan. His last picture, The Last Airbender was a bust as entertainment or drama, and it did nothing to heal the image Shyamalan has shaped for himself of a too-proud, sometimes haughty, cinematic hackmeister. The man who once made Unbreakable, arguably one of my favorite on-screen superhero stories, has devolved into a writer/director so hackneyed and obvious that it’s hard to connect him to his previous work.
This one, at least, has the collaboration of screenwriters Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) and Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) and an intricate alternate history detailing mankind’s move from a demolished Earth to Nova Prime, another planet light years away. The central story has the air of The Outer Limits about it, with a father and son forced to survive the harsh reality of the abandoned blue planet after their ship crashes.
At Comic Con this week, Shyamalan unveiled some behind-the-scenes materials for After Earth, and now we have this viral video that sets up the world of the film.
In this clip, Russia discovers a downed alien spaceship that forms the base for the technology that both destroys the human world and gives them the push needed to advance to the stars. I’m just gonna take a roll of the Shyamalan dice now and guess that some way, some how, that ship is the same one that Will and his son crash-land in. If it isn’t, then Shyamalan is already headed down a path more interesting than the one I suspect him of traveling.
After Earth is headed to theaters next summer.