From NBC Science: 'After Earth' offers up dark future for humanity
The Earth is a pretty bleak place for humans in the new science fiction movie, "After Earth."
Set 1,000 years in the future, "After Earth"
depicts a future in which humanity is forced to abandon Earth in search
of a new home. The remnants of the human race travel to and resettle on
Nova Prime — a fictional planet located light-years away from Earth.
the film makers do take plenty of liberties with the science of the
movie, the plot is more possible than ever before, Gary Whitta, one of
the film's screenwriters, says.
"There are increasingly alarming reports in the news where we're
getting closer and closer to this tipping point," Whitta told Space.com.
"It seems more and more real. … Apocalyptic fantasies like this that
would have seemed very, very extreme and unbelievable even 20 years ago
are starting to seem worryingly plausible now."
In "After Earth,"
the Earth starts to transform itself into a place where humanity can no
longer live. The planet basically becomes toxic to mankind, Whitta said.
The Earth protects itself by removing humanity from the equation, Whitta added.
screenwriter's solution for the issues humanity faces on Earth in the
film hinge upon becoming a two planet species by traveling to Nova
Prime. It's possible that in the in the distant future, that science
fiction could become a reality, Whitta added.
"I certainly think that in the long term there's going to have to be some sort of colonial future for humanity," Whitta said.
before the beginning of the movie — which focuses on Will Smith and
Jaden Smith as a father and son who crash-landed back on Earth —
humanity built "generation ships" that delivered the descendants of the original space-traveling earthlings to Nova Prime.
set a little bit in the future so that we are at a point in our
technological evolution where we can leave, we don't have to stay here
and die and so we construct these arks and we go off into space to try
someplace else to live," Whitta said.
While Will Smith — who stars
in the movie with his son Jaden Smith — developed the general idea for
the film, Whitta was called in to help him bring it to life. The
screenwriter added a science fiction element to the movie that was
missing from Smith's basic idea.
Although it might seem like a
depressing fantasy, Whitta thinks that people are drawn to these kinds
of apocalyptic movies for a reason.
"It's just kind of a strangely
masochistic part of human nature where we seem to enjoy fantasizing
about our own destruction," Whitta said.
"After Earth" is set for release in the United States on May 31.