Will Smith's After Earth trailer: can M. Night Shyamalan improve?

willafterAfter Earth is the new feature film from director M. Night Shyamalan, best known for the science fiction/fantasy works Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense. While these hits are fondly remembered and re-watched by many, myself included, every film he has directed since appears to mark a point on a steadily declining curve, both in quality and watchability: The Lady in the Water was poor, The Happening bad, The Last Airbender appalling. Will After Earth be an improvement? The first trailer offers some hope.

After Earth (previously called 1000 A.E.) stars Will Smith (General Cypher Raige) and his real life son Jaden Smith (Kitai Raige), playing a father and son stranded on a future Earth. Earth was abandoned due to unspecified cataclysmic events 1,000 years earlier. With his father critically injured, Kitai must make a dangerous journey through a landscape transformed beyond recognition to signal for help. If he can survive evolved animal species and an alien life-form that escaped during their ship's crash landing, they can both return to humanity's new home, Nova Prime.

The trailer gives us plenty to look at on this new, abandoned Earth, both familiar creatures and highly unusual ones. At times it looks a bit like Avatar, at other times like a David Attenborough nature documentary on speed. Will Smith can be an impressive actor with a great on-screen presence - but only if the script and the director are good enough. Perhaps M. Night Shyamalan can break out of his directorial funk and halt his downward spiral?

Watch the trailer below and let us know if you think there's a chance.

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