Your interest may or may not wander while watching this.
Synopsis: The sun was dying out, people all around the world built giant planet thrusters to move Earth out of its orbit and to sail Earth to a new star system. Yet the 2500 years journey came with unexpected dangers, and in order to save humanity, a group of young people in this age of a wandering Earth came out boldly and fought hard for everyone’s survival. (IMDB)
Starring: Chuxiao Qu, Jing Wu, and Guangjie Li
Writers: Gong Geer, Junce Ye, Yan Dongxu, Frant Gwo, and Yang Zhixue
Director: Frant Gwo
Rating: PG (Canada/United States)
Running Time: 125mins
Believe it or not, The Wandering Earth is the biggest film in China right now, breaking box office records along the way and grossing nearly $600 million since it’s release on February 5th. After having seen the film, it is easier to see why. This latest Chinese sci-fi epic is definitely blockbuster-like in scale and could be described as a big, loud, B-movie. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this film will certainly not be for everyone. In order to fully enjoy the film, one must buy into its silliness and questionable scientific accuracy, including its incredibly silly premise.
Part Geostorm (though a much better version of it) with some Armageddon, Interstellar and 2001: A Space Odyssey sprinkled in, this film was about a planet that was on the brink of decline. The sun was getting ready to swallow the Earth so the most logical next step was for the superpowers of the world to come together and devise a plan that would involve building a series of 10,000+ thrusters and installing them across the planet in order to escape our current solar system and move it towards a new one. A story about family would be at the root of the story but they wouldn’t matter all that much seeing that the film appeared to be more interested in spectacle than actual character development.
Despite its lack of compelling central characters and convoluted story, it was still somewhat compelling to watch though difficult to become emotionally invested (although this was never a highbrow film to begin with). The actual film world brought to life here was also quite impressive to behold, not because it looks good by any means but rather because of how much the filmmakers were able to do with a surprisingly small budget for a film of this type ($48 million according to IMDB). The special effects for the most part were mediocre at best, however, this did not come as much of a surprise and were easy to overlook considering the film’s B-movie nature. The non-surprises kept coming with a mediocre script and dialog, again par for the course and again easy to overlook.
As mentioned, the film was derivative of several classic sci-fi films and along with the various B-movie tropes the story would encounter along the way, the film as a whole could be considered on the predictable side. Where the film would start to falter was with its big finale as it tried to reconcile all of its multiple subplots in a satisfying way. However, this did not happen here as its supposed Hollywood ending would come off more on the manufactured side, sentimentality and all. Though predictable, the stakes were there but the lack of character development only lessened the ending’s intended impact.
The acting was okay for the most part with no one particularly standing out above the rest though the chemistry was there. Just like the film’s silly premise, viewers must buy into the characters as well. The majority of them may not be overly compelling but some will be more challenging than others.
Overall, The Wandering Earth is a decently entertaining B-movie that certainly won’t be for everyone and won’t set the world on fire (outside of China at least) but for what it is and as long as you can buy into its incredibly silly premise and its characters, it’s a decent time to be had despite its predictable story full of B-movie pitfalls, mediocre script, and spotty special effects.