THE WANDERING EARTH (2019)

So, another epic sci-fi disaster movie might not be too much to write home about, were it not for the fact that it’s a completely Chinese production, performed in Mandarin, and it has obvious global appeal. We’re so used to watching America save the world… isn’t it time China had a go, too?

Based on the 2000 short story by celebrated author Liu Cixin, and directed by Frant Gwo, the story and visuals are truly visionary. In the not-to-distant future, the earth is being propelled out of the solar system, by gigantic rockets, in order to avoid the slowly exploding Sun. Humanity has been driven underground, while outside a perpetual snowstorm rages, over frozen oceans.

Everything seems to be going to plan, until an unexpected gravity surge on Jupiter starts to threaten the entire destruction of the world. Fortunately, a plucky young rogue landlubber (Qu Chuxiao) and his adopted sister (Zhao Jinmai), with the help of their estranged father (Wu Jing), are able to rally the troops and achieve the impossible.

The 3D doesn’t necessarily add a great deal, but watching in IMAX will offer audiences the chance to revel in the stunning production design and effects. Nor is this your standard Hollywood blockbuster: set against the backdrop of Chinese New Year, there’s a uniquely Chinese emphasis on family, duty and resilience. This is China’s first full-scale interstellar spectacular, and it could be that The Wandering Earth does for sci-fi what Crazy Rich Asians has done for rom-coms and BTS has done for pop music: decentering global blockbuster entertainment from the purely western outlook.

Out now in cinemas everywhere across China and USA.

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