25th Feb2019

‘The Wandering Earth’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Chuxiao Qu, Jing Wu, Guangjie Li, Man-Tat Ng, Jin Mai Jaho, Mike Kai Sui, Hongchen Li, Jingjing Qu, Yichi Zhang, Haoyu Yang, Zhigang Jiang, Huan Zhang, Jiayin Lei, Arkadiy Sharogradskiy, Hao Ning | Written by Gong Geer, Junce Ye, Yan Dongxu, Frant Gwo, Yang Zhixue | Directed by Frant Gwo


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.

The Wandering Earth (Liu Lang Di Qiu), directed by Frant Gwo, is based on award-winning novelist Cixin Liu’s novel of the same name and at this moment in time stands as the largest scale Chinese cinematic production to have been produced by the Chinese Film Industry. On a budget of just under $48,000,000 million dollars, The Wandering Earth has shattered all box office expectations grossing over $600,000,000 internationally (thanks to the subsidiary of AMC) beating that of Dante Lam’s Operation Red Sea which held the prestigious title previously. The magnificent and massive success/response is thankfully dearly warranted with The Wandering Earth being a colossally entertaining and explosive fun action-adventure epic from start to finish with gargantuan scale and outstanding scope.

The special effects on offer here are spectacular. Granted they’re slightly rough around the edges concerning small specific details. Specifically, the integral vehicles of this particular world but the scale crafted is quite remarkable. The astonishing and breathtaking scope from not only on Earth but the Space sequences lure the audience in without a shadow of a doubt. The believability in the gargantuan world building is magnificent. The resulting impact of such extraordinary execution in the CGI draws in a far more engaging and endearing picture than a film that jumps the shark with no realistic or believable connection between audience and effect. Attributes of Hollywood’s latest exploits have failed to conquer in the likes of Geostorm. Thankfully of which The Wandering Earth doesn’t concede in failing to address and/or conquer.

Regarding the performances and emotional connection that has to stick its landing in order to both project resounding conviction in the events that unfold and to stand it out from a saturated crowd. To strengthen the experience the result is an almost total extinction from American convention. Gone is the unconvincing bravado of Gerard Butler with his faux American accent. Implemented are genuine engaging performances competent and extensive of range and depth with dramatic layers. Man-Tat Ng as Han Ziang is outstanding. The range of emotional distress Man-Tat Ng brings to the table with the unfolding terror that proceeds himself and his family sucks you in straight away with the peril manifested in superbly visceral fashion.

The Wandering Earth does have slight issues. A stuffy and bloated elongated final act ramps up the running time to a rather excessive one hundred and five-minute clock in that just slightly run over the ideal run time of two hours. Of course, a nitpick but for a film that equates itself in constant atmospheric tension it does feel slightly repetitive and draining. A side issue is the rather harsh and staunch political subtext, an element that while not perhaps too in your face on a first viewing does alter the initial perception of what the film is wanting to suggest and what it is truly insinuating. If you can get past the Chinese and Russian cooperation and the villainous turn of Americanized western ideals, it won’t dampen an otherwise engaging feature.


Comments are closed.