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 go nment 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.
Its a good movie and visually stunning with great plot.
Simply i can say that the same formula which was used by Hollywood over a long time is now taken by chinese film makers.Like USA saves the world. or if any threat comes to America, then its showed like entire world is in danger.
But this chinese film sets in near future and its presentation is really amazing.
we all know usually chinese films means martial arts films, period films or fantasy movies like Monkey king. but this one is a game changer.
i can rate this movie 3.5 stars out of 5.
Even though this movie is good in lot of things, it missing some points like
1.How about food production.
People are living in underground with fake visual like surface but their survival is not briefed enough like how they are managing to stay healthy without sunlight and how their food produced.
2.Lack of diversity
i know its a Chinese film, But a main character is in advanced space station governed by 5 different countries is only speaking mandarin all the time. since this movie dealing with a global issue its unclear about other countries job in this movie.Even though the MOSS computer speaks English sometimes, there is no other person from different nationality is shown interacting with each other except a Russian guy. also india is also one of the pioneer in space research and its not included in the 5 countries.
Really some scenes are having serious moments but banter and funny actions ruining it .(vomiting on helmet)
The screenplay needed improvement and some scenes are unnecessarily dragging.
overall its a worth watching movie in IMAX 3D theaters.
Anthony Moh, Victim of the Singapore Education System
For most of the movie, I felt like something was missing.
It seems to check all the boxes. It’s visually impressive. It’s fast-paced and action-packed. The usual tropes are present - the stoic soldier, the reluctant hero, the mentor that has to die for the protagonist to shine, the guy has to sacrifice himself for redemption. Twists and turns abound.
The problem is: despite all of that, I can’t seem to care.
If every character in this story was replaced with an emotionless robot, it wouldn’t just be the same movie - it would be better. The actual events that our protagonists go through are pretty interesting. The protagonists themselves though, only seem to be there so the audience has something to look at while the world ends. Most attempts at trying to humanize our protagonists are contrived and confusing.
It’s like watching a baby cry for 30 minutes.
If time is taken to show why the baby is crying - maybe he’s lying next to his dead mother - then the audience feels something.
If the audience just sees the baby cry for 30 minutes, for no reason at all, then we don’t really care why he’s crying. We just want him to stop.
In spite of all that, I’d recommend you watch this movie if you don’t watch many movies.
But if you’ve watched a fair share of Hollywood films, then this might be a disappointing movie.
Dhiraj Khati, studied at Zhengzhou University (2011)
My different experience:
I used to watch many Chinese movies in the past, e.g. Kung-fu related, mythological type etc. With growing age interest on those movies gradually declined and have not watched many Chinese movies in recent times (except for few Jackie Chan movies and The great wall).
Though being in China for past couple of years and frequent movie goer (for Hollywood movies), I haven’t watched any Chinese movies here in China in movie theater.
I was totally unaware of the movie ‘The Wandering Earth’. I came across this movie when I was looking for box office collection of the movie ‘Alita - The Battle Angel’. Later I found many reports on the outstanding box office collection of movie ‘The Wandering Earth’ and it’s positive reviews.
With such great reviews and historical box office collection I planned to watch this movie in my nearest movie theater. I went to watch this movie with my other two friends. We all knew that the movie is in Chinese language but we all just wanted to see the graphics and overall movie as it was hard for all of us to understand Chinese language in the movie having limited Chinese language proficiency.
When movie started there was subtitles in English and we were very happy. We were not expecting that. As the movie continued my expectation gradually began to decline and exactly after 36 minutes I started feeling sleepy. Nothing was able to keep me excited. I looked at my friends and they seems very focused and watching very excitedly.
I went out for 10 minutes to refresh myself after an hour but after returning it was same. I was just sleeping and waking in between.
I am not sure why I was not able to focus myself in this movie. May be initial minutes were not too engaging for me, so I slipped further. Subtitle was not optimum (small font and not properly done) but that was not expected by us. We went there to watch movie without expecting subtitle. I could just remember few scenes from the movie, people driving huge trucks in snow, big circular space station, blue chimney like structures and Shanghai’s pearl tower in frozen environment.
I can’t say much about the movie because I was half asleep at most of the part. It may be a great movie but it wasn’t able to engage me this time. May be later if I watch it next time (on television), I may like it and find it extraordinary.
Later on exit, I asked my friends about the movie and both of them liked it and enjoyed a lot. For me it wasn’t this time.
Peter Kelly, Currently living and working in China
It's alright. For what it represents (China pushing into new genres), I'm glad it got made. But as an actual film, it's nothing special. Interesting premise but poor execution. Lame dialogue, lame acting, lame jokes. The storyline was decent but predictable.
The biggest problem with it? Not engaging. The director failed to sell me on any of the characters or their struggle. I didn't give a f*** about whether their mission was a success or a complete failure. When characters died, I felt nothing. When they succeeded, I was not relieved. The action scenes were anything but gripping. I was never on the edge of my seat.
I'd put it along the same vein as The Force Awakens. Nothing terrible, but nothing particularly engaging either.
Chrisjen Avasarala, Bachelor of Commerce Finance & Accounting, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2022)
It was almost perfect but some setbacks.
In the situation kids were reading aloud the textbook, when kids were talking in.the .classroom, I still see the defeciency in Chinese educational system, regulationize people and push them to believe, which I hate. A few talks in this movie also has political elements. Liu Qi is a very strange character.
Other is good. The visual and sound are just as good as Hollywood.
Does anyone know how this film is performing in the US? It’s showing on a few screens in New York, LA, etc but perhaps not enough to get any real read on box office stats. Wondering how it’s going over over there, given the film shows China saving the world and not the US for once…
David Kz, lives in China
It’s SO DAMN GOOD!!
James Sharp, lived in China
It's a milestone of Chinese sci-fi movies. From now on, there's no such excuse like “cannot direct a high-level sci-fi movie in China”.
Richard Pohl, Associate Professor at Changshu Institute of Technology (2018-present)
Good enough, perhaps the very end did seem to me a bit out of place (the litle part after the father’s sacrifice).
John Welsh, former X Ray Tech
First I have heard of it so it is unlikely I will offer an opinion. It if is anything like that silly Crouching Tiger, Hidden Screenplay nonsense, I’ll steer clear
Not all Chinese like this movie.
In fact, quite a few seriously think this movie is poorly made, disapprove the childish nationalism ideology and disgusted by the scandalous propaganda.
Obviously some fans are deliberately trying to fill all the rating websites with overrated reviews to create a strong illusion that the movie is a “must”. And it works.
Outrageous victims are fighting back by giving this movie the lowest rating, trying to bring it down to the score they feel it deserves. Although nearly every bad review is flooded by pure insults, and get buried in seconds, the tide are turning.