A crash landing leaves teenager Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help, facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash. Father and son must learn to work together and trust one another if they want any chance of returning home.
In the future, an environmental cataclysm forces the human race to abandon Earth and settle on a new world, Nova Prime.
One thousand years later, the United Ranger Corps, a peacekeeping military commanded by General Cypher Raige, comes into conflict with alien creatures who intend to conquer Nova Prime. Their primary weapons are the Ursas: large, blind predatory multi-limbed creatures that hunt by sensing pheromones the human body secretes when scared (they literally smell fear). The Rangers struggle against the Ursas until the impassive Cypher learns how to completely suppress his fear, in effect becoming invisible to the Ursa—a technique called “ghosting.” After teaching this to the other Rangers, he leads the Ranger Corps to eventual victory.
Meanwhile, Cypher’s son Kitai blames himself for the death of his older sister Senshi at the hands of an Ursa attack some years ago when he was a young child. The father and son have an estranged relationship with Cypher being away on missions. Kitai, younger and smaller than most cadets, trains to become a staunch and respected Ranger like his father. Despite his physical capabilities, his application is rejected due to his emotional behavior, and he has to break the news to Cypher, who’s seemingly disappointed in him. Kitai’s mother Faia convinces her husband to connect more with their son, and Cypher decides to take Kitai on his last voyage before retirement.
During space flight, their ship is caught by an asteroid shower, forcing them to transport through a wormhole to safety and crash-land on the now-quarantined Earth. Inside the torn fuselage of the ship, only Kitai (strapped to a walled row of seats) and Cypher (with both legs broken) have survived. They find the main distress signal beacon is damaged. Cypher instructs Kitai to locate the tail section of the ship, which had broken off upon entry to the atmosphere, because there is another distress beacon inside it, which they can use to signal the Rangers for a rescue; if he fails, the pair will face certain death.
I love movies about Fathers and Sons and this movie is not only about father and son but about family and love. It is about over coming fear and believing in one another and respect of wife to husband and father to son.