Thrill and suspense lifts up what is an otherwise lifeless movie...
'After Earth' is pretty much a lifeless movie, with a dull and predictable storyline, no sense of humour and drama, pointless flashbacks, and many more to name. But what lifts up the movie is the suspense and feeling of danger in an unknown world, or at least, a drastically changed world. This feeling makes the movie not as boring as it would have been.
In a game, this would have been considered as a survival genre. The thrill and suspense seems deliberate to put audiences at the edge of their seats. And the aggressive and dangerous animals is quite a fresh touch, instead of the stereotypical aliens. The pace of the movie is slow, but perhaps that is to add the suspense, so it is justifiable. The director successfully instilled the suspense to audiences with a dangerously changed world, and some decent directing.
There have been criticisms about the actors, but I am not going to be harsh. They did their best, and for that I give credit. Granted, the roles they played do not fit. Will Smith would do a hundred times better in a comedy genre, and maybe so is Jaden. At least, Will Smith is not the serious type and his character did not fit in well here, but he gave it his best, and so did the other casts, and it turned out okay, so no complaints there.
The story is so dull and predictable, you can already know how it ends after only 10 minutes (the introduction of 'ghosting' and Ursa). I don't recall laughing any time in the movie, and though one expects that with this serious tone, the drama would be great, it isn't. Flashback scenes perhaps are intended for the drama, but it was pointless. There was no proper connection regarding the flashbacks and the present time. It's just nonsense. Action sequences are mediocre, but the soundtrack is decent.
Good: Deliberate thrill and suspense, Decent soundtrack
Bad: No humour, No drama, Dull and predictable plot, Pointless flashbacks