Movie Review: The Wandering Earth

the wandering earth 2019 movie - reviewJust when we thought we’d figured out how to address global warming, it turns out that the sun has gone rogue and in less than a century it’s going to destroy Earth and eventually expand to the size of our solar system. We can’t build enough space stations to save mankind and we can’t colonize another planet since that’s going to be destroyed all too soon. Instead, what if we built thousands of massive rocket thrusters at key spots on the planet and shot the entire planet out of the solar system and onward to the Sol-like sun a 2,500 year journey away?

That’s the fantastic and fascinating premise of the new Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth and it’s an idea so crazy that it might just work. Thousands of thrusters and massive underground cities to ensure billions of people around the world can survive and breed, generation after generation, until the planet can be neatly repositioned in the new system. Meanwhile, everything is utter chaos and when the rotation of the Earth is stopped so that the thrusters can push our planet in the right direction, it’s a smart thing to be 500m underground in one of the cities.

Great sci-fi stories are about people, not just technology, however, and The Wandering Earth centers on three generations of a Chinese family: grandfather Gan Zi’ang(Ng Man-tat), father Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing), and son Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao). The film opens as the United Earth Government announces its plans to save Earth and mankind: To shoot out of the solar system. Leading the journey will be a massive space station that will ensure safe travels. It’s Liu Peiqiang who’s volunteered to be part of the space station staff, a job that will keep him in space for almost twenty years. Meanwhile, his 7yo son Liu Qi doesn’t really understand what’s going on. Zoom forward 17 years and things have gotten rough, but the Earth is indeed on its journey out of our system; it’s poised to slingshot past Jupiter and use that gravitational pull to speed up the journey.

By this point, Liu Qi has become a brilliant but highly cynical tech who dabbles in creating strange technologies and yearns for the father he’s never known. His mother, in the way of all drama, passed away many years earlier, so he’s been raised by his grandfather. Along the way an orphan girl Han Duo (Zhao Jinmai) has been adopted by the family, Qi’s adopted sister. She’s a teenager and her ceaseless gum chewing and occasional whining are one of the few humanizing elements of this male-heavy cast.

The Wandering Earth - publicity still - 2019 movie film

So they’re flying past Jupiter and it’s all looking good for the gravity slingshot. Until it isn’t and everyone realizes with some alarm that the Earth has been almost 10-degrees off course and is being pulled into Jupiter’s massive gravity not flung past it. Worse, it’s knocked almost all of the planetary thrusters offline! That’s the main plot element around which everything else revolves and it’s up to Liu Qi, Han Dao, tough military captain Wang Lei (Li Guangjie), scientist Li Yiyi (Zhang Yichi) and half-Australian, half-Chinese sidekick Tim (Mike Sui) to get the big Sulawesi equatorial thruster online before it’s too late.

There’s a lot to like about this fast-moving adventure sci-fi epic, from the sheer audacity of the core storyline to the gorgeous sets and external shots, to the gritty realism of the underground cities. Like all good science fiction, it asks the viewer to ponder some fundamental questions about who should be saved, what cost we’re willing to pay to survive, and what plans we might create if we’re really heading to heck in a handbasket, however big or small. The visual effects are stunning and rival the best of Hollywood’s sci-fi epics. That’s no surprise when visual effects teams like Base FX, Pixomondo, Bottleship FX, Weta and Macrograph were involved. There’s also a 3D IMAX version that I managed to catch (it was only in US theaters for two days before being bumped off the screens by the Lego movie) and it was lush and entirely immersive on the huge screen. The deep frozen and half-destroyed skylines of the Chinese cities were terrific.

But The Wandering Earth isn’t great science fiction. Modern film audiences are sophisticated enough to find a story that ignores the most basic of physics jarring. A nerdy scientist who could explain how the Earth still had an atmosphere once it stopped spinning, how no-one noticed for 17 years that the Earth’s trajectory was off by almost 10 degrees, or how we could build cities big enough to house over three billion humans that are 500m underground would have solved the narrative problem. Also, the temperature on the Earth’s surface should be absolute zero if we’re racing through deep space too; how is it vehicles can still function on that surface? And the final solution (no spoilers here!) really doesn’t hold water and would not have a happy ending.

The acting is all over the place too. At times teen Han Duo (known in the film as Duoduo) acts like a whiny toddler, just to turn around a few minutes later to inspire everyone with a stirring speech. I was also intrigued by the tension between Liu Qi and his long-absent father Liu Peiqiang, but the film offered little insight into either of their feelings about this tragic separation. As with so many other sci-fi films, we’re left asking the question of whether a grand story and beautiful visual effects are sufficient to create a great movie. And as with too many, the answer is “not really”.

And then there’s the political side of the film, which is fascinating. There are no Americans in the story. None. In fact, the only American flag we see is draped over a coffin. The United Earth Government has Russians, French, English, and other nations represented, but no Americans. Except for MOSS, that is. And who’s MOSS? The sentient computer system that runs the space station. Think HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and you’ll be on the right track.

the wandering earth - jupiter pulling on the Earth

All of this leads to the observation that the experience for me as an American watching The Wandering Earth was undoubtedly similar to that of a Chinese film aficionado watching an American sci-fi blockbuster and wondering why China never shows up, Chinese actors are never on screen, and somehow Chinese ingenuity and perseverance never seems to help save the day. Quid pro quo, I suppose.

The film is also in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles and those subtitles move fast! There’s a lot of dialog and you really have to pay attention to catch all the nuances, which is too bad because you’re really going to want to be enjoying the gorgeous visuals and effects, whether in space, on the space station or back on a very, very chill Earth. Perhaps there’ll be a dubbed version at some point in the future, but until then, be prepared (or learn Chinese quick).

Finally, with all of that said, I still enjoyed The Wandering Earth. It’s a massive, exciting concept and a solid tension-building story that will keep on the edge of your seat as Jupiter exerts more and more gravitational pull on our little planet. Could we realistically push Earth into a new universe? Does that really matter when you’re in the theater seeking some entertainment? I say go see it and enjoy a wholly different science-fiction epic that marks a milestone in Chinese cinema.

69 comments on “Movie Review: The Wandering Earth

  1. Actually I think in the scenes where the UEG were issuing commands, the USA flag were shown on comm screens. (Basically we have the flags of the 5 permanent members of the UN security council there.) I tend to think that the reasons the Americans are not much featured in this moviewas because story-wise it focused on east then southeast Asia (most of the rescue teams mentioned were from there) while the Americans were busy saving their part of the world.

    One missed opportunity would be the unnamed astronaut(s) who also blowed up one air-lock when MOSS’s “mutiny” happened. They were never mentioned after the scene. I would have given them more screen time and made them of American/African/etc. origin. As the Navigator Space Station was where people from literally all around the globe could realistically meet each other.

    • Yeah dude it’s not an American oriented movie. As an American currently living in China Is thought the film was great for what it’s worth. Stop looking so deep and picking out the flaws. It’s a MOVIE not real life lol. America isn’t the center of the world egotistically speaking. Only us Americans feel we are so special. Your review I felt was whiney and complaintive as if this was written by a 17 year old for a school project on the one sided aspect of the film industry

        • As a Chinese person I would have to say welcome to our movie life. Lol imagin reading the subtitles for the entire seiries of Game of Throne, the Good Doctor, and almost all of the academy’s awards movies. Let me tell you this, you’ll get use to that after a while.😂😂😂

  2. I would like to point out an important point of the movie, which perhaps doesn’t stand out to western audience? That when Liu Qi’s team traveled towards a broken engine, another team fixed it before they did. When Liu came up with a plan to save Earth, two other teams did the same thing. The Earth survived in the end, because everyone instead of several person did their best.

  3. Just saw this (I’m in Hangzhou, mainland China). In a few word : dumb but fun. I liked the overall idea which came from the brain of the Chinese sci-fi writer Liu Cixin (winner of a Hugo award but not for this novel), the FX, the pace of the movie and the scientific « extravaganza » don’t bother me much (after all cinema is the art of lying)… but I think like in many Hollywood blockbusters right now the problem come from the characterization, I felt like watching idiots evolve during two hours (which is the same disease of every new Star Wars or Jurassic something movies just to name a few…) and it really doesn’t help create emphasis with what they are going through.
    Still I kind of liked it and the movie doesn’t have too much monotonous part.
    As for the representation (or non-representation) of Americans in this movie, to be honest I think this allegation is not fair. Many Hollywood blockbusters from the 90’, 00’s were like «we Americans are going to save the world while you just wait crying/praying and wish we succeed» (cf. Armageddon if you want to LOL), at least here you have the off-camera that make you understand that the entire planet is concerned and working on this issue. Off course the movie has a Chinese cast and you follow their story, but you do see also Americans team and many other nationalities involved… so I don’t see the problem with that.

    • To be clear, I didn’t say that the lack of Americans in the movie was a *problem*, more that it was an interesting quid pro quo reflection of what is rather Hollywood’s US-centric view of heroes, heroism and storyline.

      • In fact, there is a very realistic reason, because the film budget is limited, even less than $100 million, the crew put a lot of money into the special effects production, it is estimated that there is no extra money for American actors…

        • In fact there was only 50 million budget, the protagonist Wu Jing actually acted the film without being paid to support this wonderful sci-fic

          • Interesting, but where did you get the information that Wu Jing wasn’t paid for his role in the film?

          • A lot of reports in China, like Mtime, had covered that. Wu Jing was not paid. The interesting thing is that, Wu Jing invested 8.9 M USD when he was told that the film is facing the problem of budget.

          • Wu Jin is one of the major investors. You don’t need to get paid for your acting when you can get bigger money from the movie.

          • the source about Wu Jing not getting paid is here:

            “I told him, I can help you as long as you will help young people involved in new film genres after you become successful. Later, capital for making the movie became tight, so I told him I didn’t need to get paid. I shot the movie for 31 days. Later, money ran out. I told Gwo that we are in the same boat and I don’t want to regret putting effort into the movie, so I became an investor as well.”


            Other articles that I’ve read mentioned Wu Jing invested 60 million RMB (10 million USD) into this movie after the producers ran out of money.

      • “but where did you get the information that Wu Jing wasn’t paid”

        Well, it’s actually all over the Chinese internet. Wu Jing himself and the crew conformed it.

        A bit more information if you’re interested (from a chief member, one of the producers/writers):

        The movie gotten off to a rocky start, the ground scene was filmed and done almost 3 years ago, however the station scene was all done within the recent couple months. The reason behind this was that the crew failed over and over to find an influential actor for Lt. Col Liu which can not only carry the movie, but also ask for a moderate paid. Then what made it worse was that WanDa (a major title in the industry, also a significant investor) withdrew due to having a hard year. For a moment the station scene was almost to be abandon all together.

        Therefore as a last ditch effort the crew turned to Wu Jing, made a ridiculous proposal to ask him to play as Lt. Col Liu for zero remuneration, and bringing in a 7-figure investment. And they miracally came to a deal after a good long conversion and hours of alcohol. Which eventually completed the filming and plugged the hole. Originally the movie aimed for summer 2018, but now with extra funds they polished it to about 85% and made it around Lunar festival. In the end it turns out to be a smart decision for Wu Jing, he just earned more fame for himself and a pretty bang for buck.

      • Simple, he was told to play as a guest performer, but, it takes around a month for him to notice that he was actually playing a really important role. After that the director told him that they were running out of money, so he turned to actually invest 10 million dollars and act without being paid to support the Chinese sci-fi industry. After all, it works. Pretty dramatic story behind this movie, if you want you could dig a little further into this and you will find a lot of moving or dramatic stories

      • The director Guo said in an interview and also said Wu take a capital injection of 8.9 million dollars when he had found the movie is lack of budget,especially after Wanda group had withdrawed their investment。

  4. Finally a sci-fi movie that makes English speakers staring at the subtitle and missing the screen 😉
    This is my quotidien (Chinese living in France)
    Ilove this movie but am somewhat disturbed by the Chinese national flag which appears everywhere in the movie. What do you think about this ?

    • Well, I’m French living in China, saw this yesterday in theater, and the subtitle does not bother me, once you get the plot and the idea at the beginning you don’t really need to stare at the subtitles all along, even if like me you’re Chinese is basic. It’s not a Tarantino movie, even if there’s a lot of dialog most of the times “ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard” (=it doesn’t hold any water), so I just naturally stop reading and enjoy the spectacles with a big popcorn bucket, that’s what those kind of movie are made for.

    • What flag you can expect to see in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou which are cities of China? It would be strange if you can see American flags everywhere there. This is a story about China, so don’t expect US to be present there.

  5. I’m Chinese, currently living in US. I have watched this movie online, but I’m also going to AMC theater in NJ to see it.

    I really like the idea of saturated rescue, the UEG send multiple teams for each broken engine to ensure the successful repair.

    Also, compared to American style Sci-Fi, the wandering earth already have some many scenes of other countries. It never gives you the feeling of Chinese saving the world. It’s human saving the earth.

  6. I think the background setting is pretty good regarding the “science” part.

    The earth will still have its atmosphere, because earth’s gravity is not generated by spining. The problem is that the atmosphere will gradually concentrate on some parts of earth (namely, the poles), leaving the equator with thinner air.

    Even without the atmosphere, the temperature is not going to be absolute zero: just think about the moon, which has no atmosphere; Its dayside is over a hundred degrees, while its darkside, although very cold, still much warmer than absolute zero (~100 K). The earth climate, with its atmosphere, will be better than the moon. The functioning vehicle is perfectly fine by this reasoning: anyway, right now there’s a Chinese rover running on the darkside of the moon.

    But I totally agree with you that it’s unthinkable how could no one notice their trajectory was off for so many years …

    • Nice note, Lol 😂

      Regarding the 10 degree trajectory error, if I remember right, the movie mentioned it is caused by the sudden gravity perturbation of the Jupiter, so the earth is attracted to a closer obit. (But some science columnists denied the chance of such gravity perturbation in real world 😓)

    • The trajectory was fine for 17 years until the moment Earth is very close to Jupiter and then Jupiter have this “gavity spike”, after the spike, Earth’s trajectory becomes about 10 degrees off.

      • With a planet full of scientists, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Jupiter’s gravity was going to pull on the Earth as it passed, so in fact, I would say that the trajectory was off for all of the previous 17 years if it ended up “unexpectedly” pulling Earth too close. 🙂

        • in the novel these unexpected result are caused by “rebellions”,the star-ship plan supporters, who injected some virus/calculation mistakes into MOSS. But in movie the story of rebellions are cut off i think.

      • I think the plot should be that gravitational pull from Jupiter caused earthquake all over earth which resulted in interruption of the functioning of the earth engines. I remember a scene when Wu Jing, in the space station, was checking earth’s trajectory, just before the earthquakes, and Earth was still travelling according to plan. It was only because of many engines shut down, then Earth shifted from original trajectory.

    • I’m not sure if the trajectory was off in the movie. I think the issue was caused by the shutting down of those engines which is an effect of incresing gravity of Jupiter. The gravity issue was not a surprise in the movie. You can see some poster warning people to pay attention to “disasters” when jupiter is close. And you can hear Lt. Col Liu said he was worring about the coming moment of meeting Jupiter at the beginning of the movie. I think the surpise was only that so many engines were affected, and without those engines, the trajectory was pulled even closer to Jupiter, and then the gravity is even stronger.

      It’s implied that even this is not even a surprise of the U.E.G. It issued order (with 5 signatures) to MOSS to drive Navigator away immeditely after the calculation. So, there must was a protocol for such scenario prepared in advance. This is a risk estimated but must taken.

    • Actually, in the original novel, the Earth’s atmosphere will become completely frozen after it pass Saturn. But it is still there. It really depends on the distance from the Sun, the heat of the Earth’s core, etc.

    • “Modern film audiences are sophisticated enough to find a story that ignores the most basic of physics jarring.”
      “Could we realistically push Earth into a new universe?”

      What other “universe”??? Earth is being moved to another *solar system*.

  7. It is the Chinese version of independence day. I don’t think foreigners (I mean people outside of china) would like it, while as a chinese I am kind be touched with.

      • Because you have nothing to compare before that movie. If you watch it again now or watch independence day 2, you will change your mind.

  8. Nice story requires a better screen view that’s how I thought. I just enjoyed this movie and found it so different from other sci-fl. It shows when mankind is facing a great catastrophe from space we as humen work TOGETHER to save ALL OF US regardless the difference between our jobs/positions/races. NONE OF US will be left behind, we are going to save EVERYONE. This is so cool comparing with The Day After Tomorrow which the government will sell tickets of a billion dollars to rescue the rich of us, and it reminded me that I’m just a poor guy lol.

  9. I watched the IMAX version, great visual and great story line. The acting is less consistent, human side of the story could have been better told. There are a lot of change from the original novel, the overall feeling the movie is much warmer than in the novel, which felt chill and cold. America government did show up, could have been better presented in the space station. A native Chinese would share your absentee feeling the same way an American sci-fi rarely presents in any positive fashion a Chinese or a Russian or even an European, the other three space giants. Such failure is bigger in this movie because its theme is about HUMANKIND saving the earth TOGETHER. The American sci-fi is mostly about American saving mankind :-).

  10. If you really explain the plot from scientific perspective, then you’ll find nothing logically. This is an SF. As could be told from the original novel, it has taken as more physics principles as possible into consideration.
    Also, from the movie I saw different values between US and China. US highlights heros (individualism) while China highlights creating “a shared future for all mankinds”(人类命运共同体). Cannot tell which is better, but both deserve applause.

  11. Just saw this. Honestly it’s a fantastic film but would be better suited to a summer release, but given it takes place during Jan/Feb in the story, makes some sense.

    I don’t agree with the American assessment. The USA is everywhere. They clearly designed all the tech, as even the computers sport American accents.

    It should be noted that during most of the film the USA would have been on the dark side of the esrth, where a majority of the thrusters we’re active. The American flag was on most official documents as well.

    The only foreigners really was the Russian (understandly, being border countries) and Indonesians (last scene). The character from Australia was clearly a wink to the fact the film was filmed in Australia which is also a border country.

    Hopefully it does well enough to get a sequel. Not the smartest film but Liu Fixing isn’t known for believable science, rather his character driven sci-fi.

    • You must be kidding me, Liu Cixin is known to be hardcore science and scientifically correct and much less character development. He think his books are there for carrying his sci-fi ideas and the characters are just there to play out these ideas. Also the tech in the film is depicted as a joint effort, the countries globalized into a central government. And didnt you saw the label “Made in China” on the space station door? I mean we obviously didn’t watch the same movie, or you leaned towards a biased view, I think the latter….

      • Thanks for your amusing comment, “getrealman”. I suspect that you’re right and that we didn’t see the same movie, which leads me to wonder what you saw in the theater, mr “getrealman”. 🙂

        • I have to say that getrealman’s comment is mostly correct. A joint government IS arranging all the rescue, while people from at least China, Russia, Japan, South Korea are involved. Some equipments ARE labeled made in China. Maybe Mandarin dubbing with English subtitles moving too fast is a big problem for English-speaking audiences…

          By the way I’m Chinese and viewed the film in China.

          • Yes, it’s clear that it’s a joint, multi-national effort (as you would expect if it’s the entire planet being saved). Yes there are a variety of nationalities acknowledged in the movie and within the cast. Yes there might well be a “Made in China” on the door at some point. But… my point still stands that it is still clearly ethnocentric in the same way that American films are America-centric.

  12. The temperature on the Earth’s surface is much warmer than you think because 10 thousand thrusters will generate a lot of heat.

    I don’t think the father-son issue is because of the seperation though. The son might blame the father for giving up on his mother’s treatment. He hasnt yet understood the sacriface both parents made to ensure his survive. He might have the same issue with the grandfather who literally took the mother’s place in the undergrand city, so he showed verbal disrespect to the grandfather.

    It is politically correct that US is left out of the picture. You may notice that the father’s best friend is a Russian, who sacrifaced to save him in the space and gave him a bottle of vodka that in the end burned the space station, the scientist who proposed the same solution is an Israeli,whereas a driver who shoot himself in despair is a Japenese. Totally imply their bilateral relations with China.

    • And the first guy who drives the car is a Korean? The first come back to help push the pin is a Japanese? What do these imply?

      I can explain the lack of US presence (or it’s maybe too much): they write a “history” regarding this which later might release. The lack of US is when in the very initial stage of wandering earth project, as the most technical advanced country, the US refuses to join the project and prepares to build space ships for evacuation instead. But the cost is so high that they end up selling tickets (2012 plot). Then hackers got ahold of the plans and made them public so the US was forced to join the wandering earth project.

  13. One thing about the film only mentioned some counties while missing others is probably that: the appearance of different nationalities in the saturated rescue mission is staged to pay the homage to the rescue teams voluntarily came to Sichuan during the Wenchuan earthquake which happened in May 2008. Japanese team arrived first on the May 15th followed by Korean , Singaporean and Russian teams on the 16th, later on the Cuban, Italian, British,German, French, Pakistani and Indonesian team joined in. I heard of this on the Chinese social media so I am not sure if it’s the director’s intention or the overinterpretation of audiences, but when I recall the final Sulawesi scene of the film it was pretty close! I think it’s kind thoughtful and I’d believe it is the case.

    • Yes, it’s true.The name of the man who arrived is the names of the people who found the victims in the earthquake.

    • Thank you so much for mentioning this! Yes it is correct. The nations appeared in the order of arrival in 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Sincere thank-you to all the mentioned countries!

  14. 50 Easter eggs of The Wandering Earth( translated from Chinese web):
    1. The idea of the space station crash ing into Jupiter came from Liu Cixin’s another science fiction Full Rand Interception where the hero drove the space station into the sun.
    2. “Forward Three!” came from Liu’s The Three Body Problem 2: The Dark Forest.
    3. The main computer was named MOSS, the same as a widespread and vigorous plant.
    4. The engines are much more powerful than the one in the original novel. It took 380 years to reach Jupiter in the novel while they just spent 17 years in movie.
    5. In the future people could talk with real-time translation on their ears, so Chinese speak Chinese while Russian speak Russian. Moreover, MOSS can reply in speaker’s mother tongue.
    6. Coalition government use France as the official language which is same as the United Nations.
    7. The trinary star system in the Wandering Earth project is related to The Three Body Problem.
    8. At the beginning there was a sight of three Men in the space station: Liu Cixin, Wu Jing, Guo Jingfei.
    9. According to novel Forward Four was faster than Forward Three and human could only survive by dipping themselves in liquid with Forward Four.
    10. Grandpa Han was born in 1999. The music he was listening in jail is Seaweed Dance which is popular in today’s China.
    11. Hou scrambled for helmet with Tim. In the end Hou won and Tim’s helmet was dirty.
    12. MOSS saluted HAL9000 and WALL-E.
    13. People plant trees in underground city, so there’s no need to worry about oxygen.
    14. The main food in the era was dry earthworm. The gift grandpa brought to the police was precious old dry earthworm. Duoduo found the new product dry durian earthworm. A Japanese hoped to eat rice before his death because normal food like rice was really expensive.
    15. The windows of the classroom were big screens. Everything outside was fake. They turned into characters when broken.
    16. The head of the black market was playing Konami.
    17. Because it was the first day of Chinese new year, there were many Chinese elements in the underground city.
    18. The underground TV channel might be China Underground Center TV (CUCTV).
    19. Firearms in this film was only shot to a fire stone, a snowfield, an ice block, and Jupiter.
    20. CGSTL is a real satellite company which took the logo of The Wandering Earth into space.
    21. The inflatable capsule first appears on Liu Qi’s desk in the form of design drawings.
    22. When the control core caught fire, it didn’t rotate and gravity disappeared soon and each tear of Liu Peiqiang was floating.
    23. The Kindling Program is lamentable. Even if everything was reserved to Proxima, human civilization would be lonesomely restricted in a space station without a planet. Or searched for a habitable planet first and became the grave of human civilization when energy ran out. Therefore Liu Peiqiang said that the civilization without human is not called human civilization.
    24. Liu Qi’s robotic exoskeleton can open the iron gate. Military robotic exoskeleton is more powerful which make it possible to pull the ‘needle’.
    25. “It’s really extravagant to keep human’s sanity.” MOSS spoke these words to human in movie. While in novel, it was the earth faction spoken to the rebel forces, for an arduous struggle which had already taken 40 generations and still would be lasting for 100 generations.
    26. What is saturation rescue? When 5000 engines were broken, 410000 people set to transport 70000 fire stone.
    27. Before Liu Peiqiang ignited, he turned off fire extinguishing system.
    28. About how Liu Peiqiang escaped from the dormancy bin, actually as soon as it sprayed his right hand covered his nose while his left hand tore the bin. It didn’t take too long to escape even though it looks very long.
    29. Liu Qi said that he couldn’t see stars at all in Beijing. Two meanings: One is to satirize the haze. The other is because after earth stopped rotating all the engine were set in Asia and America continent so there is no night in Beijing.
    30. In the end, Liu Qi’s helmet was broken, but neither Duoduo nor Tim could survive him from coldness. He was survived because the engine was ignited successfully which warmed him.
    31. Hou said death is normal but he was scard. The last cigarette was given by his mother with a reminder to put on long johns.
    32. Ma advised to eat Chongqing hot pot because Liu Cixin had expressed he likes hot pot very much.
    33. Duoduo called Liu Qi(刘 启) Liu Huko(刘 户口) and called Li Yiyi(李 一一) Li Changtiao which means long line. Lol.
    34. When The Three Body Problem meets The Wandering Earth…
    35. Mean characters’ family name are all from Chinese famous science fiction writers: Liu— Liu Cixin, Han— Han Song, Wang— Wang Jinkang, and He— He Xi.
    36. Liu Qi’s plan had been put forward by Israeli scientists but impossible 7 hours ago.
    37. When MOSS announced the wandering earth project failed, Indian didn’t care a scrap while Japanese committed suicide.
    38. During MOSS’s announcement, three frozen corpse kept posture of pushing or pulling a fire stone.
    39. American carrier loader was covered by national flag. There might be dead companions.
    40. Three engines jetted high flame at the same time. Heroes are a lot.
    41. Liu Qi’s mother is the easiest person in the movie.
    42. Students were still having lessons in the Spring Festival. Lol.
    43. Liu Cixin once listed all statics of the engine. He calculated the force but found it couldn’t move the earth at all. Lol.
    44. “Han Ziang behaved illegally. Deduct twelve points.”
    45. It may be an era of distribution according to one’s need.
    46. Students were studying Zhu Ziqing’s prose Spring.
    47. The director comes from Jining Shandong.
    48. The word “lie” can be found from the first preview to the movie which implied season 2.
    49. The moon was abandoned in the solar system.
    50. Full Rand Interception will never appear in the cinema so its most splendid part was brought into this movie.

  15. well dude thats how we were watching American movies with Chinese subtitle for Decade. Glade you now experienced what we’ve experienced in the past 😉

  16. Hi Dave, I like your website and your reviews. But all your doubts about the sci-fi aspects of the movie are due to misunderstanding or misinformation. I think a lot of people have clarified them for you here.

    Liu is known for his hard sci-fi style. His stories are almost always built on science that we know, with some imaginable technological breakthroughs that make great senses. That, coupled with deep thinking about humanity and civilization, are the reasons he won the Hugo Award, I believe.


    • Disagree, Gary, but that’s okay. A movie has to work unto itself. If you need back story, if you need read the book beforehand, if you need to have people “explain” things post-viewing, well, then it’s not really working as a film. And I have already said that I know Liu Cixin. I’ve read a number of his books and like his writing. But that doesn’t automatically make all the science in the film work!

      • Agree that a movie should be self contained. don’t think this movie failed at that though. I imagine the English subtitle is hard to catch at times or not always very accurate? It’s Earth’s gravity, not its spinning, that keeps the atmosphere. No laws of physics mandate the size of underground cities. Temperature on the Earth’s surface will not be absolute zero as the core is as hot as 5000 degrees Celsius and we have an atmosphere (minus 80 ish celsius in the movie). As long as the atmosphere has oxygen, internal combustion engines will work (today there are vehicles operating near the south pole and siberia where it can get below minus 40 celsius). A sudden surge of Jupiter’s gravity? Not likely but humans may have miscalculated. Agree that the final solution raises doubts but we’ve seen plenty of more unlikely things from Hollywood 🙂

  17. For the problerms about USA in this move:
    1. this move is focus on the other side of the globe.
    2.In the novel, us goverment was decided to buid space ships, but find out it is imposible to build enough ones. Some one (a sifi snoden?)leake the infomation out and cause a public panic.
    3 there is a usa flag ,biggest in this move. (the pistal shown could be a bolt m1911 ?)
    Finally, the most possible reason for me is : maybe,just maybe,the mighty american fleet is killing the three boyiers for earth’s arriving lol 😉 thanks for captain americer 😀

  18. they got four Experts of Chinese Academy of Sciences so the movie is mostly reasonable, some realistic problems if you take them too seriously the movie may never finish

  19. For the problerms about USA in this move:
    The one single scene with most of other country’s team in it is by the end when teams coming back to push the “needle”.
    Someone said the teams and the order of them showed in this scene is in the same order of foreign rescue team arrived Wenchuan durign the 2008 earthquake. I checked up, Japan and Korea team were the same order, but the third one to Wenchuan was Singapore and the third in the move was UK team. So, just for your reference. But it’s also logical, the team can arrive Wenchuan earlier probably is closer to the asia area, so they also could arrive the engine earlier.

  20. HaHa^_^, I am from China, I read your comments about this movie.The Wandering earth is a movie with a long time span, so many details are not explained.I have seen many Hollywood science fiction movies, every time it is the Americans who save the earth, We Chinese also want to save the earth one time.As for why there are no americans, I think it is because the United States is too strong, if there are americans in the movie, the role is not easy to position.This is the first Chinese science fiction blockbuster, and wu jing
    made the movie for free and invested 10 million dollars. There is something I do not understand, its box office has been 400 million

    dollars in China, but only 2 million dollars in the United States~~~~(>_<)~~~~

  21. Just an idea about the absence of Americans in the film inoring the political influence in the process of film making. Is it possible that because there are simply more land to push in Asian and Europe, and the main thrusters on equator making north and south America facing away from the sun in early stages of wandering earth project and immobilizing that part if the planet?

  22. I disagree with what you said about physics.
    First, the atmosphere existed because of gravity, not the self-rotation.
    Second, the surface temperature can’t be absolute zero because one side of the earth still faces the sun even though it’s far, and the atmosphere is able to keep some of the temperature, not to mention the flames coming out the the engines can also heat up the surrounding.
    Third, if I remembered correctly, everything started with a gravity pulse from Jupiter which caused many engine failures, and that’s when the earth started to diverge from the designated path.
    Also, how do you know humans aren’t capable to build enough underground cities to fit everybody?
    Of course the scientific part of the story isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to pull audiences in.

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