After Earth wasn’t exactly a hit with audiences or critics (read: It bombed), but the Church of Scientology went out of its way to let you know that the film has nothing to do with the controversial religion.
SomeMany critics have included a note in their otherwise negative reviews for After Earth pointing out how the film’s plot mirrors many Church of Scientology teachings. For Vulture, Matt Patches writes:
“Will Smith has delivered an incredibly mainstream platform for the Church’s ideology. After Earth’s subtext makes every beat feel like a nod to the lessons of [Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard.”
But the Church of Scientology doesn’t see it that way. In a statement released to NextMovie, a Scientology rep said that the perceived connections between After Earth and the controversial religion, founded by L. Ron Hubbard, are the result of “a handful of self-promoters” proclaiming “silly nonsense.”
“After Earth has as much to do with Scientology as ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Moby Dick,’ ‘King Arthur,’ ‘Homer’s The Odyssey’ or countless other stories about protagonists overcoming fears and opponents,” the statement reads.
The Church of Scientology pushes anyone curious about their teachings to visit the religion’s official website.
The connection is indeed a strange one since Smith, who received a story credit for the film, has said on multiple occasions that he doesn’t practice Scientology.
He has been linked to the religion in the past (primarily through his relationship with actor Tom Cruise) but he dismissed his specific interest in Scientology in a May interview.
He said that he is a “student of world religions” who “respects all religions.” In other interviews, Smith has identified himself as a Christian.
That awkward moment when you’re torn between your negative feelings about 2013’s worst film and your negative feelings about Scientology.
Did you see After Earth? Is the film a “love letter” to Scientology?