- BOTTOM LINE: A Visual Spectacle
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Sci-Fi|
What is the Story about?
With the sun slowly dying, it is decided through a global census that the Earth must be moved from its orbit and thrust into a new solar system. When an unexpected threat occurs, that has the potential to destroy Earth, and its inhabitants, a group of unknown heroes, emerge to save humankind. What is the danger and how was it averted is what the film is all about?
The Wandering Earth is a big-budget sci-fi epic with a blockbuster appeal that has little scope for performance. Naturally, nothing exception is expected from Jing Wu other than not spoiling the movie watching experience with sub-par acting. Luckily, that doesn’t happen, and Jing Wu subtly portrays the uncomplicated and straightforward emotions.
However, Jing Wu doesn’t come across as the sole main lead actor. He has a critical part, but it is one among the few others who also have similar screen time. Jing Wu goes about his work clinically with breaking into a sweat.
The Wandering Earth is one of the most expensive films made by a director who is very young as a filmmaker. It is the third attempt of Frant Gwo and has a massive budget in his hands. Luckily, Frant Gwo doesn’t squander the opportunity.
The movie sets up the exciting premise at the start without wasting any time. It then moves to the establishment of the new futuristic world and simultaneously establishes the characters. In short, the first act is neatly done. The success of the director lies in setting up the space through vibrant visuals and also introducing roles that take forward the narrative.
The problem occurs in the second act, where the narrative takes a muddled turn. There is too much technical talk going on, and the proceedings turn confusing. There is no stagnating feel at any point as the narrative is consistently propelling forward, but the connection with the characters is missing. An emotional discord is felt.
However, things finally take a turn for good during the last segment. The various layers are neatly put in perspective and the primary issue that needs to be addressed in brought out properly. Still, there seem to be one too many problems, but as mentioned previously, it happens at a quick pace to give any time to think and find the proceedings overbearing or overdone.
Given so much effort has been put into the making of the world, if there were half an effort similarly on the characters and screenplay to develop an emotional connect, the overall impact would have been much better. At times it feels like the entire plot is buried in the visual extravaganza that is on display. Nothing else registers, not even the plot. But, that feels stays only intermittently.
Right now, the way the movie is, The Wandering Earth is a must watch category, but at one’s leisure and for the world it creates rather than the story or emotional payoff.
Unlike big budget productions which are star-driven, no particular character qualifies that parameter. Many
artists are ranging from youngsters to seniors who play parts that are smaller in lengths but forms an important piece to take the narrative forward. Chuxiao Qu and Guangjie Li are the two young central protagonists who carry the symbolic mantel of the lead along with Jing Wu. Their plot is the primary driving force that takes the plot forward. They do a decent job. The rest are apt for their roles even though they are cliché parts in the larger scheme of things.
Music and other departments?
The music by Roc Chen is grand in a predictable sense with emotional cues thrown in between. Again, like everything else it too is drowned in the imagery. The cinematography by Michael Liu is splendid. The rich look is carried throughout. The editing by Ka-Fai Cheung is okay. The good part is he could impart a proper flow to the narrative. The visual effects are spectacular in parts, but at times look tacky due to missing finer details and polished finish. The writing is filled with technical jargon mostly. When it’s not and is about pure human emotions, they are mainly predictable drivel.
Missing Emotional Connect
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes for the most part
Will you recommend it?
The Wandering Earth Review by Siddartha Toleti
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