What do you think of the Chinese movie Wandering Earth?
Robin Daverman, World traveler
What do you think of the Chinese movie Wandering Earth?
I saw this movie a couple of days ago in Sunnyvale AMC theatre. Highly recommend it.
(ALERT*: the movie is not in English. It’s in Mandarin, with English subtitle, and with maybe 5% of French/Russian/a little bit of English thrown in. So you’ll need to read the English subtitles while watching the movie. OK if you are used to watching foreign-language movies, otherwise it’s a pain. This movie is clearly not intended for the international market.)
I would put it in the same category as Interstellar (film) and The Martian (film). Not a “fairy tales with a futuristic twist” like the Star Wars or the Dune series, or a “daily soap with a futurist twist” like the Star Trek, but a sci-fi epic.
Both the epic scale and the story line are very Chinese! The movie Interstellar is also about earth being no longer inhabitable, so why not find another habitable planet, and let’s organize a team of explorers, and go colonize some place else. The Wandering Earth, with its Chinese cultural background, says, well the sun is dying, so let’s pack up earth and move it to another star system. We’ll build 10,000 “earth engines”, and make a 2500-year plan to move the whole planet. We’ll all work together to make it happen. And when things go wrong, let’s send out a message, and half a million people, in various teams, jumped up to try to fix the problem. The visuals are just stunning.
The story line is also very Chinese. By that I mean, it’s really complicated - a lot of characters, each with individual plots, nested in permutations of micro-plots, further nested in permutations of mini-plots, all round up in the main plot, which was basically, who’d have know Jupiter is so troublesome! Expect to get maybe 60 - 80% of what’s going on in the movie.
Also it’s more of a tear-jerker than I expected. Definitely worth it.
PS: It’s interesting to consider the cultural core of the movie, in the context of the current US-China trade negotiation. When the US trade negotiation team demanded China to stop digital innovation and scrap Made-in-China 2025, do they realize that just like in this movie, when the Chinese government says, guys we need to innovate ’cause you can sell new high-tech stuff for more money, literally millions and millions of ordinary Chinese jumped in, self-organized, and throw all they have onto this innovation goal. Just like this movie - the main actor worked without pay and invested with his own money, the director sold his house, the producer sold his car, … all to make this happen. I mean, how do you stop 1.3 billion people from trying to make the most money, realistically?
Greg Kemnitz, Staff Database Engineer at Fitbit (2018-present)
1.It did a far better effort in character development than the vast majority of Hollywood SF movies, particularly more recent ones which seem to be targeted at 14 year old video-gamers.
2.The underground city-habs were quite compelling and realistic.
3.Its visuals were solid.
4.It paid lots of homage to classic SF such as Arthur Clarke’s 2001 and 2010 (particularly the evil AI with the secret agenda).
5.I liked how it was a “big” story. Too often, people try to do “entry SF” with low-budget “something nasty happens in a space station” stories. Glad they “went big”.
1.While you can’t watch SF movies and expect a physics lesson, there were far too many simple mistakes. What’s a “gravity spike”? And why did they need to go anywhere near Jupiter to begin with? Orbital mechanics has been well-understood for 350 years, so Jupiter isn’t going to just “show up” inconveniently. If they were attempting a Gravity assist maneuver using Jupiter’s gravity well - which would actually make sense given what they were doing - why not spend 30 seconds explaining it? Also, there was far too much “falling/flying at 10 meters per second and grabbing something to hard-stop your fall” - not gonna happen. These could be fixed by just having them fall more slowly…
2.There was some bad editing that caused story-flow issues where you were left wondering “what just happened”?
Overall I liked it. I sort of end up measuring much I like or dislike a movie by when I start looking at my watch. I didn’t look at my watch until the credits ran, which doesn’t happen often nowadays.
Dima Vorobiev, Former Soviet propaganda executive
“Wandering Earth” to me is the visual equivalent of a Dostoyevsky novel—if the Russian novelist would magically morph in our days into a CGI-obsessed visual storyteller.
1.The film is firmly rooted in a national storytelling tradition that may appear very alien to Western audiences.
2.The author views the universe as a cold place, totally indifferent to humans and our futile attempts to make sense of it. There’s no God in it, and not even a promise. We’re on own, folks. If we don’t invent good stories for each other, who will?
3.The film revels in side plots totally irrelevant to the main plot.
4.The author finds endless inspiration in inventing endless gravity-defying situations where he can torture the characters in more wicked ways than you can count. No pain, no gain, bro.
5.The author never really cares to explain what drives the characters to madly push for whatever they are pushing for. You’re totally free to figure it out on your own. Or just lean back and enjoy the ride. Which I did.
6.The neurotic outpourings of Dostoyevsky’s dialogues and the messy verbosity of his expositions are matched by the stunning, madly paced movements, collapses, explosions, smashes and other marvels of an arcade game. I got as dizzy from these as from the manic beat of Dostoyevsky’s psychologizing.
7.If you are not one of the annoying hard sci-fi sticklers who spoil everyone’s fun obsessing with the inconsistency of a story with the three laws of thermodynamics, the film creates a universe that visually sucks you in. Think whatever you may about Dostoyevsky, but he knew how to achieve the same immersion in a matter of a few pages.
It’s an awesome movie. You should watch it.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47530.html 译者：Joyceliu
Michael Ahn, Aspiring High Schooler, Superhero Fan, Violinist
I haven’t watched it yet, but I know it’s going to be epic.
I’ve read the book version!
Wait what? There’s a book version?
Yes! There’s a book version!
And it was an amazing book!
But, I am sort of biased though. I really just enjoy science fiction literature in general.
But this one was actually good!
Fun fact: it was written by Cixin Liu.
Okay, you’ve probably never heard of him, but he’s an amazing Chinese science fiction writer. His books have all been pretty amazing so far.
Although The Wandering Earth isn’t a part of it, I especially loved his epic sci-fi series, The Remembrance of the Earth’s Past.
Consisting of three novels, The Three Body Problem, The Dark Forest Theory, and Death’s End, this series did an excellent job in expanding upon the cliched “alien invasion” trope.
Yes, the entire series was basically about an alien invasion, but it was so unique and well-crafted. For example, humans never even meet the aliens, not even a single time, in the entire series! Humanity’s greatest enemy has always humanity itself.
Yea.… It was honestly so unique and amazing.
Apparently, Barack Obama thinks so too.