Both “The Wandering Earth” and its sequel are flashy, state-sanctioned cornball notions about the resilience of humanity (especially the Chinese). Both films were produced with gigantic budgets that would do equally well James Cameron blink and they both look amazing thanks to the director Frank Gwo‘s eye for panoramic views and paperback cover-worthy details. The main difference between these two blockbusters is that the protagonists of “The Wandering Earth II” must repeatedly choose to be hopeful in the face of ever-looming disasters, each neatly labeled and foregrounded in bold on-screen text such as “The Lunar Crisis for 12 hours” and “Nuclear explosion in 3 hours.”
In this way, Gwo (“The victim”) and his five credited co-writers succeed in refocusing our attention on scenes of ticking suspense sandwiched between syrupy—and mostly satisfying—melodramatic interludes in which square-headed astronauts and UEG diplomats struggle to do what we know is a condition. conclusion.
Most of “The Wandering Earth II” follows the superhuman effort needed to jumpstart the Moving Mountain project, the mission to first build and then deploy the globe-changing engines needed to push Earth out of harm’s way. UEG’s Chinese delegation, led by paternal diplomat Zhezhi Zhou (Li Xuejian), recommends prioritizing the Moving Mountain Project instead of the Digital Life Project. This radical initiative would transfer the consciousness of human participants to artificially intelligent computer programs. Some Digital Life followers attempt to sabotage the Moving Mountain Project, including a deadly attack on the Space Elevator transport ships that send UEG representatives from Earth to the Moon.
No one who lives through the events of “The Wandering Earth II” knows what we know: That the Moving Mountain project succeeds and eventually becomes the Wandering Earth project, which is threatened by a HAL 9000-like artificial intelligence (AI) named MOSS in the first film. Still, numerous scientists, government officials and space adventurers – mostly Chinese – believe in the vital necessity of their work, whether they are knocking out saboteurs or detonating one of a few hundred nuclear devices scattered around the moon. There’s a lot of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth along the way, mostly from English- and Russian-speaking UEG members, who all speak in stilted, poorly dubbed dialogue. But Chinese astronauts, like “The Wandering Earth”, lead Liu Peiqiang (“Wolf Warrior 2“star Wu Jing) and Han Duoduo (Wang Zhi), always proves Zhou’s slogan-simple maxim: “In times of crisis, unity above all.”