A new movie set for release in June shows Earth 1,000 years into the future. Will and Jaden Smith star in a movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Credit: Columbia Pictures
Humans aren't the luckiest creatures in "After Earth," a new science fiction movie that hit theaters around the United States today (May 31).
Actor Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith star as two future humans that crash-land on Earth 1,000 years after humans abandoned the planet for greener pastures. Jaden's character Kitai is forced to fight and run his way across the now alien Earth to save the life of his injured father who remains on the ship.
"After Earth" presents an incredibly bleak future for humans as a space-traveling species. Here are five strange aspects of humanity's future on and off our home planet as presented by the minds behind "After Earth." [See Photos from "After Earth"]
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Humans don't live on Earth anymore
In the movie, humans have deserted Earth to live on the planet Nova Prime, a world seemingly within our galaxy but outside of the solar system.
People have created advanced, manta ray-shaped spaceships that are able to traverse interstellar distances. When Kitai and his dad Cypher crash-landed on Earth, they were heading to a different planet, far from Nova Prime and Earth. The propulsion system used in the movie is not explained, but it's definitely far beyond anything we have at our disposal today.
We can't breathe on Earth
At a certain point in the history presented by "After Earth," humans were forced to leave the planet because it basically kicked us out. The Earth began remaking itself into a hostile place for humans to live while still leaving all other oxygen-breathing animals unscathed.
As Kitai runs to find help on the now pristine surface of Earth, he has to take doses of an inhaler that allows him to breathe the air on the forbidden planet. At one point a parasite poisons the young man, and a group of angry baboon-like mammals chase him through a jungle.
Although humans have been off Earth for 1,000 years, it still doesn't seem to like us very much.
A computer is your doctor
As Cypher sits on the ship, coaching his son through the dangers before him on Earth, he is also trying his best to heal his broken legs.
The decorated general in a United Nations space peacekeeping group performs a bypass on himself, without anesthesia, at the urging of a computer program designed to diagnose and possibly heal an injured person on a long-duration mission. Technology aside, whether any future humans will have the stomach to perform surgery on themselves is an open question.
Aliens exist, and they're mean
When humans got to Nova Prime, they also make first contact with a group of aliens that already inhabit the planet. The advanced life forms were hostile and created monsters that smell human fear to seek and destroy all people on their planet.
Ursas (the monsters) are blind, but they can smell and track the pheromones the human body expels when frightened. Whether such an ability could ever be developed in real-life remains to be seen.
The spaceship that crash-landed on Earth was also carrying an Ursa along with its other human cargo. The monster miraculously survives the accident, can breathe the air on Earth and is prowling the crash site looking for human prey. Kitai needs to overcome his fear to hopefully survive and defeat the alien horror.
We wear suits that sense danger
Our clothes are much cooler in the future.
While running around Earth, Kitai's suit changes depending on his environment. When it senses that danger is approaching, his clothing turns black and armor-like. When it's cold, the suit turns blue and tan, but it doesn't seem to provide any added warmth. Still, it's a useful invention most current humans wouldn't turn down.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the new human planet Alpha Prime. It is actually called Nova Prime.