That’s my one-line review of the latest Will Smith and M Night Shyamalan movie After Earth. It had great special effects, and Jaden Smith (Will’s son) is engaging in his first major movie role, but overall, the movie was a bit of a bore: young man faces peril while  Dad is helpless but proud. Meh. It’s no Men in Black I or II.

We wouldn’t normally have chosen to see the movie in a theater, but our good friends gave us their premiere tickets, so we figured, why not? Let’s dating!

The event itself was fun, held at the Marketplace Cinemark near us, which meant we didn’t have to drive far and could park in the mall, always a plus here in Sao Paulo.

We arrived at the theater to find no lines and only a few people milling about…most unusual at the Cinemark in Marketplace. The ticket boxes were closed, as were the concession stands. Odd.

Tom went to ask a man how we were to use our passes. Just then, a flood of people rolled toward us, released by some unseen signal, and the man indicated that the line went down the stairs “over there.” I looked down the stairs and saw people streaming up from several floors down. Good Lord.

Tom told me to stay at the top and he went down, somewhere, and joined the queue. We filed in with the multitudes and were given a ticket to Salon 2, the second theater. Attached to our ticket was a coupon for a combination of pipoca and refrigerante (popcorn and soft drink). Around the corner, we saw a mountain pyramid of pre-poured Cokes on the counter, and an avalanche of popcorn bags. We each received one.

In Salon 2, we had our choice of seats. Though most of the folks were headed toward the top seats, I like to put my feet on the rungs of the partition in the front row, so I plunked down in the front, back enough not to strain our eyes, but with no one in front of us. Happy camper, I. Choosing seats within the theater doesn’t happen in Sao Paulo. Rather, you choose your seat from an available seating map when you purchase your ticket at the box office, as you do when you buy playhouse tickets online in the U.S.

The theater was packed, and I’m sure the other theaters in the complex were also filled with chatty premiere viewers. They were a great audience, gasping in all the right places and cooing at the “cuddly” eaglets. There was no applause after the movie, which seemed strange, since I think they do usually applaud. Maybe they’d been as bored as I had been. (My favorite part of the movie is the six or seven extras, the “doctors,” finding something to do with their patient. Stage direction: Do something, I don’t care what. Just look busy.)

After the movie, we each received a lovely parting gift: a space-age water bottle, which will come in handy once Earth ends.


I snark, but I did really enjoy the evening, which ended with dinner at a German restaurant in the mall at 11:30 at night! Not at all unusual for Sao Paulo!