After Earth

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
After Earth Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Exciting sci-fi action and warm father-son bonding.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 27 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Kitai's journey teaches him that only by facing your fears can you realize your full potential. His father teaches that although danger may be real, fear is just a state of mind. A cautionary tale about taking care of our planet (destroyed by years of pollution and war) is mitigated by the eye-catching new planet of 1,000 years in the future. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adults and children model virtues worth aspiring to. Although Cypher is distant and stern with his son, his love radiates clearly. And in the end, he's able to demonstrate his love and open his heart and mind to what his son has to give. Kitai is brave and loving and overcomes his fears. Mother Faia is an exemplar of loving support, and sister Senshi is brave and caring, saving her brother's life more than once.


Constant peril. Some gross scenes with blood, as when Cypher must operate on his own leg. Kitai sees some crushed baby eagles that he wasn't able to save. Human victims of the alien monster are shown impaled on tree branches. Most of the violence depicted on screen appears in shadow or silhouette, and blood is mostly after the fact. A few moments when something scary pops out unexpectedly. The backstory involves a boy witnessing his sister being killed by an animal.


Flashback kisses and affection between husband and wife.


Cypher says "damn" once, there's one "oh God" (as an exclamation), and there's one reference to something that "sucks."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cypher almost takes pain killers that would make him drowsy (entirely understandable given his severely broken legs and little hope of rescue) but decides against it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that After Earth -- which stars Will Smith and his son Jaden and was directed by M. Night Shyamalan -- is a scary monster movie with a few dead bodies and some blood. The alien monster is grotesque, overpowering, and able to trick humans into feeling fear, and viewers see a few of his human victims impaled on tree branches. No main characters die, but a majestic eagle who saves a boy's life sacrifices its own to do so, and viewers see animal carcasses. Punctuating the exciting and violent sci-fi action are laughs and scenes of strong family warmth and bonding, strong role models, and positive life lessons learned.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byS.V. January 6, 2020

Really intense, and edgy for a PG-13 film.

For the first time ever, I finally decided to watch it now but some years later. It's actually a good movie, yet too disturbing, gory, scary moments and da... Continue reading
Parent of a 9-year-old Written bycathycritter August 17, 2018

Exciting and good vibes about doing your best and bonding with Dad

I really enjoyed this movie and so did my 10-year old son. It had good action and a scary alien (but not really that scary), and a storyline about a kid who is... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe July 16, 2013


The thought of a man and his son getting stuck on a quarantined planet that filled with dangerous animals and lethal perils is very, very sick!!!! I don't... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byVincent's Picks June 1, 2020

lol this movie is a joke.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha this movie is sooooooo bad!! its a joke! don't waste your time! one d word, a use of sucks. no... Continue reading

What's the story?

A thousand years in the future, Kitai (Jaden Smith) and his father, Cypher (Will Smith), are the only survivors when their spaceship crash lands on uninhabited Earth. Cypher is left unable to walk, and so he must use remote technology to guide Kitai on his journey to find the distress beacon that can save their lives. Once communications are cut off, Kitai must make his way alone through dangerous territory. Throughout their ordeal, both father and son are strengthened by warm family memories of mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) and sister Senshi (Zoe Kravitz). Even though physically absent, their strong bonds clearly help keep Kitai going until he's finally able to face his fears and defeat the alien monster tracking him along the way.

Is it any good?

AFTER EARTH presents a future with a lot of cool technology and eye candy. And director M. Night Shyamalan deftly weaves excellent special effects action and excitement with the development of the father-son relationship. As Cypher, Will Smith convincingly portrays the stern, strict military man, often away from home on long tours of duty and unable to show much emotion to others. Jaden Smith, as Katai, has a few weak points in his performance (why was he asked to use that accent in the first place?), but he capably carries the bulk of the action. Predictably, the father and son are ultimately able to bond and demonstrate their emotions to one another, but watching them get there in front of the sci-fi action backdrop sure is a lot of fun.

There's a lot to admire here, especially the strong family bonds and positive role modeling of all the main characters, even though the Will Smith formula feels familiar. The heartbreaking deaths of some animals and the super-scary alien monster add emotional depth and thrills, but the action is punctuated with genuine laughs and family warmth, which takes the edge off. Overall, this is a solid sci-fi action movie with strong positive messages about family that teens and possibly older tweens can enjoy with their parents.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies set in the future. What makes them so appealing? Which are your favorites?

  • Was the violence and blood shown in After Earth necessary to tell the story? What other ways filmmakers can create excitement=?

  • How does Kitai overcome his fear? Is there something you're afraid of that keeps you from realizing your potential? Teens: Have your parents given you words of wisdom that you rely on in tough times?

  • Compare Earth today, with all its majestic beauty and dangers, to the planet that the Raige family lives on. The future world looks pretty sweet and has lots of cool tech. Is there anything on today's Earth worth trying to save?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

Themes & Topics

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