The Wandering Earth is China’s first large-scale science fiction epic, and it’s incredible. Catch it in theatres before it’s gone. Via the New York Times:
“The Wandering Earth,” directed by Frant Gwo, arrived with stratospheric anticipation. Described as China’s first space blockbuster, it is already a hit in its home country and, on a more limited scale, in the United States, where it opened earlier this month. It certainly proves that the Chinese film industry can hold its own at the multiplex: It is just as awash in murky computer imagery, stupefying exposition and manipulative sentimentality as the average Hollywood tentpole.
Although the film is based on a story by Liu Cixin, it draws on a barely digested stew of planetary-cataclysm movies, with the eco-catastrophe and invasion films of Roland Emmerich serving as the most obvious spiritual guides. (Even a Chinese New Year setting correlates to the July 4 timing of Emmerich’s “Independence Day.”) In this case, the disaster — the first one, anyway — is that the sun is going to engulf the planet, so the multilingual United Earth Government has concocted a plan to send Earth out of the solar system using 10,000 propulsive engines, with Jupiter’s gravity providing the final oomph. But a slightly incorrect trajectory could cause a collision and end civilization, a crisis that is well underway. (Humans live in underground cities, having survived by lottery, and Earth’s surface is frozen.)