Home Celebrity Will Smith Movie “After Earth” Being Called out By Critics for Scientology...

“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.


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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
13 replies to this post
  1. More proof there should be a yearly rotation of critics…lay them off yearly. The movie had me asking for more but it wad no were close to being the worse. C’mon cable guy…really?

  2. Agreed Charter. I don’t get why critics are being so harsh this movie delivers what it advertises; an entertaining survival story. It’s a bit uneven in places, but I felt for the characters and was able to suspend disbelief and enjoy myself. I think critics are maybe more interested in throwing director M. Night under the bus, because it’s M. Night.

  3. Cable Guy is a ridiculously good movie. You are insane for putting it in the same sentence as Gigli and Glitter. I never, ever put comments on articles, but was just so taken aback by this I didn’t know what to do. Do you really review movies for a living? Have you even seen Cable Guy?

  4. Worst movie ever made? Worse than Leonard Part 6 (Bill Cosby movie)? NO WAY!!! Just try to watch Leonard Part 6 if you can find it. Cosby did a great job of burying that movie. I bet that he bought the rights and destroyed it. In saying all of that, I am sure that After Earth is pretty bad, but not the worst. I have no interest in Will Smith’s kid. He is not a good actor. He should become a dentist or flamenco dancer.

  5. I diagree with the the above reference. I saw the movie last night and it was quite enjoyable. Though there were some flaws in the movie, I thought young Jaden did a great job in carrying the movie and should not be compared to the likes of his father who himself is also a great actor. Let the public do the judging as the critics are too jaded at times.

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