“After Earth,” the new Will Smith movie, is a bust. At least critically. Almost every critic and movie blogger hated, including yours truly. The movie is being cited for being dull, slow, and humorless. But it’s also being cited for referring to the text of Scientology, Dianetics.
The tag line of the film is “Fear is a choice.” It’s emblazoned on shoulder bags that were given away at the premiere the other night. Now both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have called out Smith– who invented the story– for repurposing gobbledygook of Scientology in the “After Earth” monologues. They’re right of course.
Smith denies being involved in Scientology. But he’s been closely associated with Tom Cruise. He funds a private school in Calabasas, California that teaches Scientology curriculum. And his whole “I can save the world” gestalt–humorless, un-ironic, savior stuff– coincides with his statements from a few years ago that Scientology had as much validity as the Bible.
“After Earth” is such a bore that it’s unlikely anyone will join Scientology after getting through it. Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal actually wonders in his piece today if it’s the worst movie ever made? (Worse than “Cable Guy,” or “Gigli” or “Glitter”? Hmmm….Maybe it’s Scientology training osmosis or subliminal communication. Because most people will be sleeping through this interminable film.