Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: Film.
Chinese film (2019; original title Liulang Diqiu). China Film Group Corporation and Netflix presents an Alibaba Pictures, Base FX, Beijing Culture, Beijing Dengfeng International Culture Communications Company and Beijing Jingxi Culture & Tourism Company production in association with Beijing Guoying Zongheng Film, Chao Feng Pictures, China Film Company Limited, Emei Film Group, Free Whale Pictures, Mango Entertainment, Shanghai Film Group, Tencent Pictures, United Entertainment Partners, Youku Pictures and Zhejiang Galaxy Artist Management. Directed by Frant Gwo. Written by Frant Gwo with Gong Geer, Jingjing Shen, Junce Ye, Ruchang Ye, Yan Dongxu and Yang Zhixue, based on Liulang Diqiu (July 2000 Kehuan Shijie; trans as The Wandering Earth 2012 ebook) by Liu Cixin. Cast includes Jiang Zhigang, Li Guangjie, Li Hongchen, Ng Man-tat, Qu Chuxiao, Qu Jingjing, Arkady Sharogradsky, Mike Sui, Wu Jing, Yang Haoyu, Yang Yi, Zhang Huan, Zhao Jinmai and Zhang Yichi. 125 minutes. Colour.
"Come on! Let's light up Jupiter!"
Melodrama and a mawkish family dynamic mar this otherwise ambitious barrage of Machines, Macrostructures and malfunctioning AIs in the year 2061. The film's aesthetic is remarkable but while the detail and scale of the computer-generated imagery in The Wandering Earth is impressive, the constant trumpeting of intergenerational teamwork over more than two hours can wear a bit thin.
The United Earth Government (see Politics) builds 10,000 "Earth Engines" fuelled by Nuclear Energy across the planet's Northern Hemisphere and a line of Torque Engines along its Equator to propel the Earth to Alpha Centauri when the Sun threatens to become a red giant. The cessation of the Earth's rotation drives the remaining half of the world's population to habitable Cities constructed Underground, wherefrom Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao) and younger sister Han Duoduo (Zhao Jinmai) first steal a heavy transport vehicle (see Transportation) to access the planet's frozen surface before escaping Prison and meeting a military rescue team led by Captain Wang Lei (Li Guangjie). The team is in possession of a "Lighter Core", a Power Source designed to restart an Earth Engine at Hangzhou damaged by earthquakes caused by the Earth's proximity to Jupiter. Following a series of setbacks in the ruins of Shanghai, engineer Li Yiyi (Zhang Yichi) convinces the group to transport a different Lighter Core to the Torque Engine in Sulawesi in the hope of helping Liu Qi's father, astronaut Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing), successfully ignite Jupiter's hydrogen atmosphere from an orbital structure around the International Space Station and thereby avert a collision between the two planets.
The Wandering Earth's set-pieces owe at least as much to China's Wuxia and Mecha-inflected indigenous Cinema as to the science fiction epics of Steven Spielberg and James Cameron; and if the basis of their science sometimes seems awry – a "sudden" spike in Jupiter's gravity, the "ignition" of Jupiter's atmosphere while Earth's own atmosphere is joined to it – the sheer gusto with which they are delivered bears a certain charm. The original author Liu Cixin bemoaned the difficulty of the film's financing, but its tremendous success at the box-office means that a sequel is slated for 2023. [MD]
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