THE WANDERING EARTH adjusted its orbit to allow China to jump into the sci-fi cinema realm like a roaring dragon in this stupendous 2019 blockbuster. It was directed by Frant Kwo, who co-wrote the script with six collaborators, basing it off a short story written in 2000 by Liu Cixin. Made for around $50,000,000, in international markets it grossed $7,450,853, but that was dwarfed by its gross in China—a whopping $693,371,204. Easy to see why, as it’s a concept-rich visual extravaganza, with a strong cast playing interesting characters, with ample humor and heart, and boasts enough action for a solar system.
Later in the 21st century, the expanding Sun threatens the Earth enough that the ‘United Earth Government’ stops inter-nation fighting and puts humanity on a now or never mission to literally move the planet out of harm’s way. With the population sheltered in cities underground, 10,000 titanic, infusion-powered engines begin to push the globe on a 2,500 year trip to a viable location some 4.5 light years away. But in 2078, things go bump in the night when passing Jupiter, as the gravitational pull of solar system’s big gas ball drags Earth toward collision. Heroic teams sally forth to the now-frozen surface to repair damaged thrust engines and put us back on course for the long trip to a new spot in the sky.
Goofy, yes, but truly spectacular fun, with Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Jing Wu, Jin Mai Jaho, Ng Man Tat, Mike Kai Sui, Jingjing Qu, Li Yiyi. Suitably ‘awesome’ score by Ric Chen. 137 minutes.