Liu Cixin who penned The Three Body Problem series of novels, also wrote the book that is the basis of The Wandering Earth, a massive cinematic undertaking from China. An epic tale that easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the epic end of the world films like Armageddon. In this film, the world is in danger from the sun dying and consequently expanding. It will destroy practically everything in the solar system, particularly Earth.
So the world goes to work on making an escape plan. The new united earth government creates a number of engines to thrust the world out of orbit, and beyond the solar system on a 2,500 year journey to the nearest star. Lots are pulled, and sacrifices are made, as a percentage of the population is moved into underground cities where civilization will attempt to survive its long journey through the night.
Leading the Earth is a navigational space station, that is keeping an eye on the planet, and its journey. Aboard it, is Liu Peiqiang (Jing Wu), a man who has sacrificed his entire life, including his family, to a higher cause of saving the world, and its population. In one of the underground cities, is Liu’s son, Liu Qi (Chuxiao Qu) and his adopted sister, Doudou (Jin Mai Jaho).
They don’t appreciate the sacrifices that have been made, not just by the planet, but by their father. They understand it on a logical level, but don’t understand it on an emotional one, they just know they’ve been denied their father for most of their lives. Both of them want to see the surface, and steal a transporter, which is used to help harvest fuel to keep the engines running.
And this launched them on a huge adventure that also affects the entire planet!
It seems the plan is to use Jupiter’s gravity and slingshot the Earth around the giant planet to help it clear the solar system sooner. Unfortunately, the space station will play witness to a horrifying reality, the Earth’s speed, and its engines will not be enough to let it escape Jupiter’s gravity well.
When the military seize their transport, Qi and Doudou find themselves in an exercise that could save the planet, but could cost them everything.
It’s a fast-paced film, while still trying to make sure that everyone gets their character beats, and their narrative arcs. With fantastic special effects, engaging story, and great moments. Sure some of the subtitle translations aren’t as good as they could be (but I certainly wasn’t going to watch it dubbed), but it’s a pretty entertaining film and is a perfect popcorn film for a rainy day afternoon.