After Earth, After Will Smith, After Awhile…

I haven’t yet seen “After Earth” and, based on the painfully bad reviews it’s been getting I can’t see myself spending $10 to witness a train wreck. I have a personal policy when it comes to movies, and that policy is that unless it’s supposed to be the absolute bomb of a flick? I’m waiting for it on Netflix. I’ve got too much to do to be wasting money I don’t have and half my day sitting in a dark room with some popcorn with some strangers wishing I were somewhere else with some better popcorn and participating in an enjoyable experience with people I actually care about.

That being said, I really was sorry to see the movie did so poorly at the box office. Science fiction is still a genre dominated overwhelmingly by whites both on screen and in the written word, so as a non-white person who absolutely loves sci fi, I was looking forward to this flick with Will Smith and son carrying the leading roles in a film where Smith apparently called a lot of shots, not the least of which was getting his son cast beside him as a co-star. The nepotism thing made me a bit uncomfortable, I confess, but then again what’s the use of all that accumulated power in Hollywood if you can’t use some of it to help your own kid get a break? Surely Smith ain’t the first Lord of the Box Office to get away with that one.

What sent up a few more early flags for me was that the previews didn’t look all that hot, and these days well-shot previews can make a lemon look like a brick of gold. And when a flick featuring someone like Will Smith, who has owned the summer blockbuster for any number of summers now, is in a flick where the previews are weak, then…I mean damn….

But I prefer to believe that all is far from lost. After all, Idris Elba, another great African American actor, had a starring role in “Pacific Rim,” which has been a huge success (although it might be argued that this as more of a monster movie than actual science fiction). He also starred in “Prometheus which, although not a blockbuster, was still, I thought, really great sci fi and really engaging.

So why do I care whether there are blacks in space, right? Why does it matter whether we have a stronger presence in science fiction? First of, all, why not? Secondly, sci fi deals largely with the future and, well, I’d just like to think that when the future arrives, we’ll kinda be there…

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