The Wandering Earth

The Wandering Earth (Chinese: 流浪地球; pinyin: liúlàng dìqiú) is a 2019 Chinese science fiction film directed by Frant Gwo, loosely based on the 2000 novella The Wandering Earth by Liu Cixin. The film stars Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Ng Man-tat, Zhao Jinmai, Wu Jing and Qu Jingjing. Set in the far future, it follows a group of astronauts and rescue workers guiding the Earth away from an expanding Sun, while attempting to prevent a collision with Jupiter. The film was theatrically released in China on 5 February 2019 (Chinese New Year's Day), by China Film Group Corporation, followed by North America and Australia on 8 February 2019.[citation needed]

The Wandering Earth
The Wandering Earth film poster.jpg
Chinese theatrical release poster
Chinese流浪地球
Mandarinliúlàng dìqiú
Directed byFrant Gwo
Produced byGong Ge'er
Written by
  • Gong Ge'er
  • Yan Dongxu
  • Frant Gwo
  • Ye Junce
  • Yang Zhixue
  • Wu Yi
  • Ye Ruchang
Based onThe Wandering Earth (Chinese: 流浪地球)
by Liu Cixin
Starring
Music by
  • Roc Chen
  • Liu Tao (additional music)
CinematographyMichael Liu
Edited byCheung Ka-fai
Production
company
Distributed byChina Film Group Corporation
Netflix
(International)
Release date
  • 5 February 2019 (2019-02-05)
(China)
Running time
125 minutes
CountryChina
LanguageMandarin
English (Electronic Voice)
Russian
French
Filipino
Budget$50 million[1]
Box office$700 million[2][3]

The film grossed[when?] $700 million worldwide. It is China's third highest-grossing film of all time[4] and the third highest-grossing non-English film to date. It has received generally positive reviews from critics, with The Hollywood Reporter describing it as "China's first full-scale interstellar spectacular."[5] Netflix has acquired the film's global streaming rights.[6] The film was available to stream by Netflix in various countries outside of China on 30 April 2019.[7]

PlotEdit

In the year 2061, the aging Sun is about to turn into a red giant and threaten to engulf the Earth's orbit within 300 years, forcing the nations of the world to consolidate into the United Earth Government to initiate a project to migrate the earth out of the Solar System to the Alpha Centauri system 4.2 light-years away, thus preserving further human civilization. Enormous planetary thrusters running on fusion power, known as Earth Engines, are built across the planet to propel Earth. The human population is reduced severely due to catastrophic tsunamis that occur after Earth's rotation is made to stop, and later, as the planet moves away from the Sun, much of the surface is frozen, forcing the remaining humans to live in vast underground cities built adjacent to the engines.

At the beginning of the film, Chinese astronaut Liu Peiqiang promises to his 4-year-old son Liu Qi of his eventual return before going on his mission to a pathfinder space station that will help navigate the Earth on its interstellar journey, and entrusts the guardianship of his son over to his father-in-law Han Zi'ang. 17 years later, Liu Peiqiang's space mission is finally about to end and he will soon return to Earth after the Chinese New Year.

On Earth, a now-adult Liu Qi takes his adopted teenage sister Han Duoduo on an unauthorized trip to the surface in a heavy transport vehicle by obtaining fake IDs from criminal gangs and stealing their grandfather Han Zi'ang's trucker clearance pass. They are arrested at a checkpoint, meet a fellow prisoner named Tim, and are joined by Han Zi'ang after he unsuccessfully attempts to bribe the prison warden into releasing them.

As Earth passes by Jupiter to make use of a gravity assist, a "gravitational spike" causes devastating earthquakes that disable many Earth Engines across the globe and pull Earth dangerously close to the gas giant. The four escape from prison amidst the chaos and attempt to make their way out in Han Zi'ang's truck, but the truck is requisitioned for an emergency mission by the military rescue team CN171-11 led by Wang Lei. They are to transport a Lighter Core (a fusion engine component) to restart the Earth Engine in Hangzhou. In the frozen ruins of Shanghai, they lose their vehicle, and while transporting the component up the ruins of the Shanghai Tower, one of the soldiers is killed and Han Zi'ang is trapped and frozen to death. But when he does freeze, his voice recalls how he rescued and adopted Han Duoduo from the tsunami that destroyed the city, even looking out the window seeing frozen bodies in the ice. With news that the Hangzhou Engine was fully compromised and the city was completely destroyed by magma, the group becomes downcast. However they happen upon a crashed cargo plane with an intact vehicle, where the surviving engineer aboard, Li Yiyi, convinces them to transport another Lighter Core to repair the equatorial Torque Engine in Sulawesi.

In space, Liu Peiqiang discovers that MOSS, the artificial intelligence commanding the space station, has directed it to escape rather than to assist the humans on Earth. He breaks out of forced hibernation and attempts to stop the space station along with Russian cosmonaut Makarov, who is killed by the spacecraft's automated security measures. Liu Peiqiang arrives in the control room, but his clearances are revoked due to his acts of insubordination and he can do little to override the escape process.

Liu Qi's group arrive at Sulawesi to find that the planetary engine was already fully restored. Globally, most of the planetary thrusters have been repaired as well. However, the gravitational pull from Jupiter is too great and Earth continues to move toward it, approaching the planet's Roche limit. Liu Qi, inspired by recollections of his father's explanation of the thrusters' mechanics as a child, proposes to ignite Jupiter's abundant hydrogen atmosphere to blow Earth away. Li Yiyi proposes to hack and concentrate the Sulawesi Engine's power to fire a plasma beam tall enough to ignite Jupiter. The group overcome various challenges, such as renewed aftershock tremors that injure several members, and are able to mostly reconfigure the engine to carry out the plan, however they are not able to push the firing pin of the engine to ignite it.

Liu Peiqiang is contacted by Han Duoduo, and is able to persuade the United Earth Government to use its communication channels to call assistance for the party at Sulawesi, even though MOSS reveals that the attempted solution was already proposed by other scientists and has no chance of success based on probability calculations. Other rescue and repair parties arrive and the engine is fired up, but it falls short of being able to ignite the Jovian hydrogen. Liu Peiqiang proposes flying the space station into the plasma jet and detonating the space station's fuel to ignite Jupiter's hydrogen; MOSS disagrees as the station is the back up plan should the Wandering Earth project fail. After disabling MOSS using a fire started with a bottle of vodka that Makarov smuggled on board, Liu Peiqiang manually overrides the control and apologizes to his son for breaking his promise to return, before piloting the space station into the plasma jet and sacrificing himself as the ignition succeeds. Earth is saved from destruction and continues towards the Alpha Centauri star system.

Three years later, Liu Qi is now a formal construction crew member and a respected hero figure. As the film ends, Liu Qi recounts and envisions the stages of Earth's migration, a process taking 2,500 years and 100 generations to complete, still bound with uncertainty, in a hopeful tone.

CastEdit

  • Qu Chuxiao as Liu Qi (刘启)
  • Li Guangjie as Captain Wang Lei (王磊)
  • Ng Man-tat as Han Zi'ang (韩子昂)
  • Zhao Jinmai as Han Duoduo (韩朵朵)
  • Wu Jing as Liu Peiqiang (刘培强)
  • Arkady Sharogradsky as Makarov
  • Mike Sui as Tim
  • Qu Jingjing as Zhou Qian (周倩)
  • Zhang Yichi as Li Yiyi (李一一)
  • Yang Haoyu as He Lianke (何连科)
  • Li Hongchen as Zhang Xiaoqiang (张小强)
  • Yang Yi as Yang Jie (杨捷)
  • Jiang Zhigang as Zhao Zhigang (赵志刚)
  • Zhang Huan as Huang Ming (黄明)

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Frant Gwo was a big fan of the science fiction genre and was first influenced by James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day which inspired him to become a director in the genre. He spent the following years studying the genre to direct a science fiction film.[8]

Pre-productionEdit

In order to establish a rigorous setting, Gwo invited four scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to act as consultants.[9] The film's three thousand concept maps and more than eight thousand sub-mirrors were created by a conceptual art team of three hundred people over a period of 15 months.[10]

FilmingEdit

 
Spacesuit used in the film

Principal photography started on 26 May 2017, in Qingdao, a seaside city on north China's Shandong province,[9] and wrapped on 27 September 2017.[11] Weta Workshop made the film's spacesuits, exoskeletons and weaponry.[12][13]

Wu Jing was asked by Frant Gwo to play a cameo role in the film, but was later cast in a leading role. When he was told that the production had run into financial trouble, he gave up his remuneration and invested in the film to help it continue, for which he was given special thanks in the credits of the film.[14][15] Due to the financial difficulties, there was a limited remuneration budget, and the salary for the lead actor Qu Chuxiao was around 100,000 yuan (US$15,000).[16]

Post-productionEdit

The visual effects of the film were made by Base FX, Bottleship VFX, Dexter Studios, Macrograph, More VFX, Pixomondo and Black Nomad.[citation needed] Liu Cixin, the author of the original novella, said to state broadcaster China Central Television, "Chinese studios have no interest to invest in sci-fi films. US sci-fi film audiences have trust but this trust between audiences and China's sci-fi movies doesn't exist yet and this is the main difference between Chinese and US sci-fi films." He said "It is a challenge because this trust must build between producers, investors, and the audience until people have faith in a Chinese sci-fi movie."[17]

MusicEdit

The film's music was composed by Roc Chen (阿鯤),[18] and Liu Tao (刘韬) as an additional composer.[19] The film's music was performed by the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Roc Chen at the Abbey Road Studios.

ReleaseEdit

On 25 December 2018, the first official trailer for the film was released at the China Aerospace Museum in Beijing along with a teaser poster.[20]

On 30 January 2019, Beijing-based distributor China Media Capital (CMC Pictures) announced that it has secured the international rights and is planning a sizable North American release on 8 February. The company will open the film in 22 cities in the U.S. and three in Canada, as well as throughout Australia and New Zealand.[21]

On 20 February 2019, it was announced that Netflix acquired the distribution rights to stream the film internationally. The film was expected to be available to stream globally on Netflix, outside of China, on 30 April 2019,[22][23] however the film was later promoted on the Netflix Facebook page as being released on 6 May 2019.[7]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

The Wandering Earth released over the Chinese New Year holiday season, and earned more than CN¥2 billion (£232 million) in six days, setting a new record for a Chinese film.[17][24] It also set the record for the highest-grossing Chinese film on IMAX.[25] Second weekend box office dropped 53%, on par with all other currently playing films post Chinese holiday season, as expected.[26] The film's total gross in China stands at CN¥4.655 billion.[27]

Internationally, it topped the worldwide box office with a three-day opening weekend gross of $172,718,000, and had a six-day opening gross of $289,090,290.[28] The film has grossed $693,371,204 in China, $5,875,487 in the United States and Canada, and $1,575,366 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $700,822,057.[2][3]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 69% based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 6.04/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "The Wandering Earth's story won't win many points for originality, but this sci-fi epic earns its thrills with exciting set pieces and dazzling special effects."[29] On Metacritic the film has an average score of 57 out of 100, based on reviews from 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[30]

The film received a generally positive reception in China. Several state-run media publications have given the film a positive review.[31][32] Specifically, Zhong Sheng, in the People's Daily, writes that the film is "not superheroes saving the world but mankind changing their destiny together."[32] On Douban, during the initial release, the movie had a 8.5 rating; then suddenly fell to 7.9 as of the early morning of February 23 in China. It was reported some reviewers were offered money for posting negative reviews on the rating platform. Douban banned nearly 50 users for violating guidelines and thousands of comments were removed.[33] The rating finally stabilized at 7.9. Some commenters, specifically on Douban, who gave the film negative reviews were accused to be in bad faith or trolling,[33][34] but the accusations are disputed.[35]

Tasha Robinson of The Verge describes the film as "rich, gorgeous, and goofy".[36] Travis Johnson, of Flicks.com.au gave the film four out of five stars and, whilst criticizing the film for its lack of character development, praised the visuals and called it the best science fiction film of 2019.[37] Ben Kenigsberg in The New York Times wrote that the film is "as awash in murky computer imagery, stupefying exposition and manipulative sentimentality as the average Hollywood tentpole", but that it proved that the Chinese film industry "can hold its own at the multiplex."[38] Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com gave the film three and a half stars out of the four, saying that the experience was "visually dynamic, emotionally engaging."[39]

AccoladesEdit

Li Guangjie won the Golden Angel for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 15th Chinese American Film Festival in Los Angeles.[40]

SequelEdit

A sequel has been announced for 2023.[41]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Zhang, Rui (November 21, 2014). "Chinese sci-fi writer to get five movie adaptations". china.org.cn. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "The Wandering Earth (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b "The Wandering Earth (2019) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Box Office: 'How To Train Your Dragon 3' Tops $170M, 'Wandering Earth' Tops $560M". Forbes. February 17, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  5. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (4 December 2017). "Chinese Film Sector Charts a Course for a Sci-Fi Blockbuster to Call Its Own". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ Chilton, Louis (2019-02-21). "Netflix buys streaming rights to world's second highest-grossing film of 2019 so far". The Independent. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  7. ^ a b "The Wandering Earth. Netflix". Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  8. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (20 February 2019). "'Wandering Earth' Director on Making China's First Sci-Fi Blockbuster". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b "刘慈欣又一科幻神作将搬上银幕 《流浪地球》青岛开机 《同桌的你》导演执导". Mtime (in Chinese). 2017-05-31. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  10. ^ ""做科幻电影不仅仅是没有钱这么简单" 《流浪地球》曝科幻特辑 揭秘筹拍四年幕后". Mtime (in Chinese). 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  11. ^ 巴塞电影 (2017-09-28). "两部重头戏同一天杀青,明年国产片要有大动静". Sohu (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  12. ^ "Sam Gao's Middle Earth, Wandering Earth and WETA". Radio New Zealand. 2018-07-06. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  13. ^ "Weta Workshop Movie and TV projects » Weta Workshop". www.wetaworkshop.com. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  14. ^ Zhang Rui (2019-01-30). "'The Wandering Earth' to usher in new era of Chinese sci-fi". www.china.org.cn. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  15. ^ "Jacky Wu Strikes Gold Again With The Wandering Earth". Drama Panda. 2019-02-08. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  16. ^ "《流浪地球》主演片酬曝光,男主屈楚萧10万,女主赵今麦仅5万". Tencent. 2019-02-24. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  17. ^ a b Kuo, Lily (11 February 2019). "China challenges Hollywood with own sci-fi blockbuster". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  18. ^ Mtime.com.Full Credits of The Wandering Earth. Retrieved 2019-03-03
  19. ^ The Wandering Earth (2019), retrieved 2019-03-05
  20. ^ "国产科幻《流浪地球》曝预告定档大年初一吴京"成了是英雄死了是烈士" 作者刘慈欣站台". Mtime (in Chinese). 2018-10-25. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  21. ^ "China's First Big-Budget Sci-Fi Movie 'The Wandering Earth' to Get U.S. Release (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 2019-01-30. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  22. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (20 February 2019). "Netflix Lands 'The Wandering Earth'; Sci-Fi Smash Is #2 Movie Ever In China At $600M+". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  23. ^ "The Wandering Earth. Netflix". Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  24. ^ "This Chinese movie has earned 2 billion yuan in just 6 days". Film Industry Network. February 11, 2019.
  25. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (10 February 2019). "'The Wandering Earth' Hurtles To $298M At Chinese New Year Box Office". Deadline. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  26. ^ Mendelson, Scott. "Box Office: 'Wandering Earth' Drops 53% But Tops $500M In China". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  27. ^ "流浪地球 - 猫眼电影". 猫眼电影. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  28. ^ "Comscore Announces Official Worldwide Box Office Results for Weekend of February 10, 2019". Comscore. 10 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  29. ^ "The Wandering Earth". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  30. ^ "The Wandering Earth Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  31. ^ Zhang, Yan (2019-02-12). "《流浪地球》何以动人". Guangming Daily (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  32. ^ a b "《流浪地球》折射源自现实的未来感". People's Daily (in Chinese). 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  33. ^ a b Chen, Laurie (2019-02-13). "Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth attacked by trolls in one-star wars". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  34. ^ Zeng, Yuli (2019-02-09). "关于《流浪地球》的喧哗声:让人类保持理智真的很难". The Paper (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  35. ^ Yuqi, Hu (2019-02-13). "《流浪地球》再好 也要经得起批评". Beijing Daily (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  36. ^ Robinson, Tasha (2019-02-09). "China's blockbuster The Wandering Earth is rich, gorgeous, and goofy". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  37. ^ Johnson, Travis (2019-02-08). "Chinese blockbuster The Wandering Earth might be the best sci-fi movie of 2019". Flicks.com.au. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  38. ^ "'The Wandering Earth' Review: Planetary Disaster Goes Global". New York Times. 2019-02-17. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  39. ^ Abrams, Simon (February 15, 2019). "The Wandering Earth Movie Review (2019)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  40. ^ Gui, Ming. "2019 GOLDEN ANGEL AWARD". Chinese American Film Festival. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  41. ^ Davis, Rebecca (2 December 2020). "'The Wandering Earth' Sequel Sets Chinese New Year 2023 Release Date". Variety. Retrieved 29 December 2020.

External linksEdit