Is "After Earth" Influenced by Scientology?

All signs point to: Dianetics.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Will Smith has never publicly confirmed that he's a member of the Church of Scientology—in a recent Vulture interview, Smith himself said that he and son, Jaden, are "students of world religion," whatever that means—but it's hard to deny that his new film, After Earth, is chock full of Scientology-driven ideas.

The concepts have been noticed by a few film critics, specifically Manohla Dargis at the New York Times and Matt Patches of Both report in their reviews that the film is filled with references to the L. Ron Hubbard-founded religion and its foundational text, Dianetics. In her review, Dargis writes:


Similarly, Patches writes in his review:


In her review, Dana Stevens at Slate also mentioned the presence of Dianetics-inspired ideas in the film.

It's all a bit too much to ignore, especially when you consider this Reddit post that breaks down Scientology and how it relates to the film. In addition to pointing out that Smith and his family founded a private school that employs the use of "Study Tech"—something that is only taught at Scientology schools—it also notes that the basic principles of Scientology are all present in even just the trailers, and that symbols are evident even in the background of scenes (for example, a volcano seen in the film bears striking resemblance to the major symbol for Dianetics, and a uniform Will Smith is wearing in the film looks a lot like the uniform worn by the Church of Scientology's Sea Org members). 

This is all, of course, speculation, but as the Reddit post points out, it's not unimaginable that a big budget film would be produced to promote ideas of Scientology: "Because LRH himself tried and failed, and because Scientologists literally believe that science fiction stories, what they call "space opera", are repressed memories of events that occurred millions of years ago [...] I'm fairly confident that After Earth is a major motion picture made to exalt Scientology...Instead of Scientology's recent tactics of negatively attacking others, they are trying to positively bolster themselves."

Also worth mentioning: The film currently has a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It's unclear if there's any correlation, but if it is a film made to "bolster" and promote Scientology, it's not doing a very good job anyway. 

RELATED: 10 Kinda Nice Things Critics Have Actually Said About Will and Jaden Smith's "After Earth"

[via New York Times // Reddit]

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