Next Club Meeting: July 20, 2024, at the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

The Animatrix Network is an anime & manga fan club located in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We usually meet on the third Saturday of each month (except when holidays or conventions coincide). The meetings are free and open to the public. Join us for a day filled with anime.

This site provides news, reviews, commentaries, and previews of the world of anime and everything it inspires, such as live-action films, comics, music, art, and other weird things to enjoy and contemplate.

Friday, February 15, 2019

This Might Be China's Biggest Blockbuster Ever!

The Wandering Earth is a 2019 Chinese science fiction film directed by Frant Gwo. It is based on the novella of the same name by the Locus Award and Hugo Award-winning author Liu Cixin, and was released on February 5, 2019 (Chinese New Year's Day).
流  浪  地  球
In the near future, the Sun ages and is about to turn into a red giant, pushing the nations of the world to consolidate into the United Earth Government, a world government, and initiate a project to move Earth out of the Solar System to the Alpha Centauri system, in order to preserve human civilization. Huge thrusters running on fusion power are built across the planet to propel it. Human population is reduced severely due to catastrophic tides that occur after the planetary engines stop Earth's rotation, and later as the planet moves away from the Sun, much of the surface is frozen due to lowered temperatures, forcing humans to live in vast underground cities built adjacent to the engines.

At the beginning of the film, Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing), a Chinese astronaut, promises to his son Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao) of his eventual return before his mission to a space station that helps Earth navigate as it moves out of the Solar system, and hands guardianship of his son over to his father-in-law Han Zi'ang (Ng Man-tat).

Several years later, Liu Peiqiang's mission is about to end and he will soon return to Earth. To celebrate Chinese New Year, an adult Liu Qi brings adopted sister Han Duoduo (Zhao Jinmai) on a trip to the surface in a truck they steal using Han Zi'ang's clearance as a trucker. They are arrested, and meet Tim (Mike Sui) as well as Han Zi'ang who unsuccessfully tries to get them released.

As Earth passes by Jupiter, it is captured by Jupiter's gravity, causing devastating earthquakes that disable many thrusters across the globe. The four escape amidst the chaos and attempt to make their way out using the stolen truck, but the truck is requisitioned for a rescue mission by the military; they are to transport an engine component to the damaged thruster in Hangzhou, supervised by soldiers led by Wang Lei (Li Guangjie). In the remnants of Shanghai, they lose their vehicle, and while transporting the component up the ruins of a skyscraper Han Zi'ang is killed. With news that the Hangzhou thruster was fully compromised and the city was completely destroyed, the group temporarily despair. They however find a new vehicle where the on-board engineer, Li Yiyi (Zhang Yichi), convinces them to transport an engine component to repair a larger planetary engine in Sulawesi.

In space, Liu Peiqiang discovers that MOSS, the artificial intelligence commanding the space station, has directed it to escape rather than to assist the humans on Earth. He breaks out of forced hibernation and attempts to stop the spacecraft along with Russian cosmonaut Makarov, who is killed by the spacecraft's automated security measures. Liu Peiqiang arrives in the control room, but his clearances were revoked due to his undisciplinary acts and he can do little to override the escape process.

Liu Qi's group arrive at Sulawesi to find that the engine was already fully restored. Globally, most of the planetary thrusters have been repaired as well. However, Earth has moved past Jupiter's Roche limit and will be destroyed anyway, with the restored thrust unable to propel it away. The group despairs on learning this, but Liu Qi, inspired by recollection of his father's explanation of the thrusters' mechanics as a child, proposes to ignite Jupiter's hydrogen-abundant atmosphere to blow Earth away. Li Yiyi proposes to concentrate the Sulawesi engine's power to fire a beam high enough to ignite Jupiter. The group overcome various challenges, such as renewed aftershock tremors that injure several members, and are able to mostly reconfigure the engine to carry out the plan, however they are not able to push the firing pin of the engine to ignite it.

Liu Peiqiang, learning of this, is able to persuade the United Earth Goverment to use its communication channels to call assistance for the party at Sulawesi, even though MOSS reveals that the solution being attempted has no chance of success based on probability calculations. Other rescue and repair parties arrive and the engine is fired up, but it falls short of being able to ignite the hydrogen. Liu Peiqiang decides to use the space station's engine itself to ignite Jupiter's hydrogen; after disabling MOSS using a fire started with vodka that Makarov smuggled on-board, he pilots the spacecraft into the cloud between Jupiter and Earth, sacrificing himself as the ignition succeeds. Earth is saved from destruction, and continues to move towards the destination star system.

As the film ends, Liu Qi recounts and envisions the stages of Earth's migration, a process to take 2,500 years and still bound with uncertainty, in a hopeful tone.

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