Critics have a field day with 'After Earth'

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The day a new M. Night Shyamalan movie hits theaters might as well be labeled Critics’ Christmas. Ever since 2004′s The Village — and, even worse, 2006′s Lady in the Water — each successive film from the Academy Award-nominated writer/director has given writers a golden opportunity to one-up each other with jabs at Shyamalan’s oeuvre.

And even though it’s more of a Smith-Smith joint than a Shyamalan picture — notice the absence of the director’s name from all of the movie’s promotional material – After Earth has been no exception. So far, the film has earned a paltry score of 32 on Metacritic and a horrendous 12 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes (EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave it a C+), which makes it just slightly more popular than recent misfires like The Host and The Big Wedding. Below, we’ve compiled the 10 best insults critics have lobbed at After Earth since its release:

10. “Summer 2013 has its first bomb, and sadly, it’s landed right on Will Smith.” — Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

9. “It’s impossible to take this movie seriously, certainly not as seriously as it takes itself.” — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

8. “Even with his charismatic dad in his earpiece calling the shots, Jaden can’t turn himself into a movie star by sheer force of Will.” — Dana Stevens, Slate

7.  “As for the plot, I guess recycling remains in vogue centuries from now.” — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

6. “Not since John Travolta kicked the tires on Battlefield Earth and pronounced it good to go has there been a big-name sci-fi flameout quite as disastrous as Will Smith’s After Earth.” — Kurt Loder, Reason.com

5. “The director of The Sixth Sense used to be known for his surprise endings, but the only twist that could explain this mind-numbing nonsense is if we awakened to discover we’d been imprisoned in pods and subjected to a sequel called After Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Shyamalan.” — Joe Williams, St. Louis Post Dispatch

4. “Actually, in Critics Academy we are taught never to end a review with a sarcastic quote from the film under consideration; the tactic is just too easy and cheesy. Yet here the temptation proves irresistible. So here’s one more. After some mini-castastrophe, Kitai mutters, ‘That sucked.’ Radios his dad: ‘Correct, Cadet.’” — Richard Corliss, Time

3. “After Earth has a hint of the skin-crawling fright of Shyamalan films past [... but] not enough to explain why the director’s films keep getting worse. It must be body snatchers, ones from a planet that has no clue how to make a movie.” — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

2. “Eleven years and several progressively more dreadful movies after Signs, director M. Night Shyamalan would be lucky to get a gig directing traffic.” Lou Lumenick, New York Post

1. “I fear Jaden might face online wrath for his performance here, especially thanks to the numb-tongued Kiwi accent he’s forced to adopt. He’s not bad, especially, but he is a kid asked to do the extraordinary: compel us as he pretends to do ridiculous bullsh–. As Will Smith coldly instructs him to feel, to root in this moment now, to master his own creation, I felt the purest horror I ever have at a Shyamalan film: What if this is what Jaden Smith’s life is actually like?” — Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

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Read more:
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Box office preview: ‘After Earth’ ready to race ‘Fast & Furious 6′ for the top spot
Movie review: ‘After Earth’

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