Review: The Wandering Earth (2019) – ManlyMovie

Review: The Wandering Earth (2019)

Having established himself as the Chinese John Rambo in his Wolf Warrior films, martial artist Wu Jing returns with the pseudo intellectual and very sentimental sci-fi adaptation The Wandering Earth, based on a short story by acclaimed author Liu Cixin.

Jing takes the part of Bruce Willis in China’s answer to Armageddon, with a bit of 2001 A Space Odyssey thrown in for good measure. In the future, the dying sun is expanding and it’s going to engulf the Earth in 100 years. Mankind builds huge thrusters all over one side of the globe with the intention of propelling the planet away from the sun on a 2,500 year journey to a new star system. As the Earth’s surface freezes over, a chosen few will be able to survive in grim, futuristic cities 5km below the ground. Meanwhile, Wu Jing leaves his infant son to man an international space station (along with a homicidal computer called MOSS) on a 20 year mission to help keep the Earth on it’s intended trajectory. When the Earth gets caught in Jupiter’s gravity field, the future survival of the human race is thrown into jeopardy and people need to do stuff that involves struggling, shouting at each other, pulling together across international boundaries and making a lot of noise generally.

Not really possible for me to speak favourably about this one. Let me say one thing, I don’t care how ridiculous the plot sounds – I’m no astrophysicist and I’m prepared to suspend my disbelief to a fairly generous degree, so long as people aren’t running (or flying) around in leotards. The problem is, I’ll be honest, I thought Armageddon was shit and as such, I could hardly be expected to enjoy this because it’s really the same thing, only with Chinese people saving the day instead of Americans. Yes, the special effects are good. Right up there. But watching a CGI truck drive through a CGI avalanche and CGI explosions just doesn’t do anything for me. No emotional response. I just sit there wishing I was watching Aliens, or Mad Max 2, any superior film that I never had the opportunity of seeing in the theatre. So if there’s one good thing I can say about the action in The Wandering Earth, it’s that it made me think about Aliens and Mad Max 2.

The Wandering Earth is in 3D so if you wear glasses you can look forward to the pleasure of having to sit there with a pair of cheap sunglasses on top of your prescription specs. Yes the logos at the beginning look lovely, but after that it just irritates and thereby detracts from the film. Or makes bad films even worse.

The poster for this was misleading – there’s a bunch of people in space suits and almost all of them with guns, including one fella with a mini gun. But no one gets shot at all. They only use the guns to shoot through walls as a quick way of getting from one place to another. Wouldn’t some kind of drills have been better? Also, Wu Jing’s presence made me think there would be some ass-kicking involved. There’s no ass-kicking involved.

Ironically, I think this movie would be loved by a lot of people. Trouble is, they’re not going to watch it, because they are not the kind of people who will want to read subtitles whilst getting their weekly fix of CGI blizzards and explosions. Not to worry, it’s already made bucket loads of money at home, having cleaned up during the Spring Festival holiday.

A lot of work has gone into this. So I don’t want to call it shit. 3D aside, it does look good. It’s not my cup of tea, but some people will like it. In conclusion I’m left feeling pretty neutral about it.

Ear plugs recommended.

5 out of 10