In addition to being derided by critics as one of the worst movies of the year, "After Earth" was also called out for how its plot mirrors many Church of Scientology teachings. "Will Smith has delivered an incredibly mainstream platform for the Church's ideology," wrote Matt Patches in a post for Vulture. "'After Earth's' subtext makes every beat feel like a nod to the lessons of [Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard."
Not according to the Church of Scientology. In a statement released to NextMovie, a Scientology spokesperson said that any connection made between the religion and Smith's "After Earth" (for which he received a story by credit) 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," reads the statement, before pushing those interested for more information to the Scientology website.
For his part, Smith doesn't officially practice Scientology -- he called himself a "student of world religions" who "respects all religions" in a May interview with New York Magazine -- but the star has supported the often controversial faith group, mostly through his relationship with Tom Cruise.
For more on how "After Earth" connects to Scientology, read the piece on Vulture.