Thank you, eggspurt, for the heads-up about the “Wandering Earth” movie. There is an English-dubbed version of the full 2 hour movie on YouTube.
the wandering earth English dubbed movie - YouTube
After a stately premise-setting opening, the movie quickly becomes an action-packed visually-stunning extravaganza, where everything that could go wrong does indeed go wrong. However, there is never any doubt that the teenage rebellious hero, with his annoying bubble-gum popping sister, estranged astronaut father, and reliable grandfather, will save the day. The movie is blessedly free from Western-style Political Correctness, although the dissolute blond-haired Chinese-Australian sidekick might represent Chinese-style Political Correctness.
I have been impressed before with a number of Chinese movies and TV shows. While “Wandering Earth” seems to be mainly aimed at a teenage/James Bond-style audience, it also impressively demonstrates that China’s movie industry has world class capabilities.
One of the reviewers mentioned that the movie was quite different from the 48-page short story which inspired it: “The Wandering Earth”, by Cixin Liu, written in 2013 and published in an excellent English translation in 2021. (ISBN 978-1-250-79683-7). Having watched the movie, I had to read the book (a collection of 10 short stories).
The short story is much more cerebral than the movie, although there are plenty of disasters as Earth’s Coalition government executes the difficult plan to move the entire Earth to a new orbit around Alpha Centauri, a thousand generations in the future. The old narrator tells the story of his life.
When scientists 4 centuries earlier had determined the Sun was going to go nova in about 400 years and destroy the Solar System, humanity had split into two camps. The “Leavers” wanted to abandon Earth, build giant spaceships, and head off into the void. The “Takers” wanted to leave the Solar System, but take Earth along with them. The Takers won the argument, but Leaver sentiment never disappeared. (Liu’s premonitions of Brexit!).
With immense effort, the Earth was eased out of its orbit and made a series of damaging ever-widening elliptical orbits around the Sun, finally passing Jupiter for a slingshot maneuver to propel it on the 2,500 year journey to Alpha Centauri. Then the real problem happened! Four hundred years had then passed since the initial determination, and yet the Sun had not gone nova. A civil war began between the Coalition government and a surviving population which believed it had been misled.
Cixin Liu is a fine writer who tells imaginative stories. Again, one has to appreciate the absence of Western-style Political Correctness – although there may be some Chinese-style Political Correctness in the narrator marrying a Japanese woman (Forget the Century of Humiliation!) and their son in turn marrying a blond-haired blue-eyed woman.