The Wandering Earth II review by Bobby Blakey
In 2019, director Frant Gwo brought the short story of Liu Cixin, The Wandering Earth to the big screen. The film went on to become a massive hit at the box office in both China and globally. Now Frant Gwo is returning to this story with The Wandering Earth II which serves as a prequel to the first film this time starring Andy Lau, Jing Wu, and Hao Feng. Could this chapter offer up as much of an epic sci-fi spectacle as the original or will it fail to launch into space?
The Wandering Earth II follows Humans who have built huge engines on the surface of the earth to find a new home. But the road to the universe is perilous. To save earth, young people once again must step forward to start a race against time for life and death.
I really enjoyed the first film as it brought a big sci-fi element to the natural disaster genre. It offered up plenty of action and excitement along with a story that is unbelievable on a lot of levels, but still creative enough to make you ponder its relevance. With this latest film I wasn’t dure how exciting it could really be with the focus being building the Earth Engines. My concerns were invalid as the film not only brings plenty of edge of your seat excitement, but also a lot of depth of dealing with loss and life.
The film manages to bring the same tone and intensity of the original film while still being wholly its own thing. The race to get the Earth Engines installed and the moon adjustments makes for some great sci-fi elements. The story would work well on its own as a natural disaster sci-fi epic, but the human element infused into the heart of the story and questions regarding AI elevate it to something much more.
It’s not so much debating the good or bad of AI, but instead just one
person’s use and opinions of its place. IT serves as a major plot point in the third act that might not work for some and if you try to read into it more then see things that may or may not even be there. For me, it works well for the bigger story here and makes it feel more human amidst all the high-tech sci-fi nature of it all.
For these films to work you must believe in the visuals and technology used here and they do just that. Sure, there are some elements that might not be as smooth as you would like, but I was really impressed with the overall CGI and physical effects used to bring this version of the world to life. One of the final Earth shots here is outstanding and fully captures what this entire film embodies in its story of survival as well as diving headfirst into the first film’s story.
I honestly didn’t have that much interest in this film, but after diving into the original and then this one I am not only impressed, but really would love to see another to further see the future of the Wandering Earth Project and where it goes. If not it still delivers a great set of films that should be a hit with sci-fi fans willing to give it a shot. You can dive into this one outright being a prequel, but highly suggest watching them both.
Check out The Wandering Earth II available now on Blu-ray and DVD.