One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.
This is a terrific father and son film, a thrilling coming-of-age movie as well as a story of survival. General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) returns home from a lengthy tour of duty to learn his son, Kitai (Jaden Smith), has not been promoted to Cadet. There is a tangible tension between the two but Mom comes to the rescue and later, privately, reminds Cypher that Kitai needs a father, not a commander. Soon afterward the General invites his son on a mission to spend quality time with him, but an asteroid storm forces the ship to crash land on their former planet, Earth. Earth has been changed and various animals have developed and Kitai finds himself on a mission to find the beacon they need, which is located in the tail of the space craft that crashed before they did in the remainder of the ship. With his father badly hurt, Kitai must make the journey alone, and face several perils, in order to find the beacon and bring hope to his father as well as himself that they will survive.
There are a few fantasy violent moments in this film, including a few scenes of characters which have been impaled from a distance, but these are not gratuitous and are fleeting with very little blood. Due to the coming-of-age theme, which we think older children might relate to we are pleased to award the movie our Dove Seal for ages twelve plus. This film includes danger and peril but also the story of a father saluting his son for his advancement toward manhood. This is a good one!