Karin Pouw, the church’s director of public affairs, made the claim in a statement released to TheImproper.
“The film and its story line contain themes common to many of the world’s philosophies, not unique to Scientology,” she wrote in the statement.
Pouw was reacting to TheImproper’s story, as well as others, noting that the movie’s themes, reflected in dialog, were clearly aligned with many of the church’s precepts.
She blamed a “handful of self-promoters” for creating “the myth” that “After Earth” is about Scientology.
Pouw didn’t dispute the similarities, but she countered: “‘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.”
All, she said, are stories about “protagonists overcoming fears and opponents.”
“Scientology is not alone in addressing unwanted emotions such as fear, and this topic is hardly unique to any one religion when you consider overcoming fear has been a universal theme in stories for thousands of years as well central to countless film plots,” she explained.
“Using this same logic would seemingly make “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” a ‘Scientology-themed movie.'” The picture, for example, includes the dialogue, “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” she noted.
She also call TheImproper’s report that church founder L. Ron Hubbard was overtly racist “gratuitous” with “no basis in fact.”
“His record in support of equality of all races and human rights is unblemished,” she said.
But Hubbard’s views on race, as cited by TheImproper, come directly from his own writings. So, there’s no much room for misinterpretation there.
Smith’s science-fiction movie, which also stars son Jaden Smith, has been widely panned by critics and less than half the people who saw it say they would recommend the film to a friend, according to website rottentomatoes, which tracks movie reviews.