The Wandering Earth (2019)

Frant Gwo directs Qu Chuxaio, Angel Zhao and Ng Man-Tat in this sci-fi epic where to save the Earth from a dying sun, humanity has moved underground and the planet has turned into an organic rocket ship propelling itself to a new solar system.

This is one of the most financially successful releases of the year at the global box office, 98% of that haul coming from China. In essence it is an ensemble global apocalypse disaster epic. Like Michael Bay or Rolland Emmerich used to make two decades ago, a mixed bag of plucky but reluctant survivors try to exploit a flaw to subdue a genocidal scenario. The expansive FX work is good, there’s some decent peril and very broad farce humour. The vision of technology saving humanity is terrifying – I think we are supposed to marvel at the hellscape presented of bunkers of people divided by social caste and an entire planet so raped of her resources she now entirely resembles an inhospitable mining pit. The politics are offensive… one character is referred to as a half breed. This wouldn’t past muster during Independence Day or Armageddon, China has had 20 years to catch-up. They clearly give absolutely zero shits about racism or the environment going by their popular entertainments. Watchable but drags more than a little. The sheer abandonment of scientific logic alone will make your mind boggle.

5

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