New Sci-Fi Releases: Lighting Up Jupiter: The Wandering Earth (2019) Reviewed


When the existence of Earth is threatened by a cataclysmic solar event, our home planet is retrofitted with massive engines and thrust into a new unknown future where mankind might live on. With near disaster striking at every turn, the men and women in charge of our survival must once again find new and thrilling ways to guarantee that we live on as the planet begins a headfirst collision course towards Jupiter. 

Let's get one thing out right away. The idea here is huge. And nothing is believable in the slightest. The science behind the fiction is unreal. And yes, there are many head scratching moments of 'what just happened'? But damn, this movie is a complete blast that brings originality and the visually spectacular back to one our favorite genres. Hinging on a story that reminisces on formative features like Armageddon, Sunshine, and a bit of 2001, this thing is massive and almost seems short at nearly 120 minutes.


Yeah, our movie is awesome. We know it!

Based on the novel by Hugo Award winning author, Liu Cixin, China now holds 2019's biggest sci-fi event film and one of the world's highest grossing movies of the year, so far. Armed to the teeth with massive special effects sequences, a great story about heroism against all odds, and a rather unique tagline "Let's light up Jupiter", The Wandering Earth is a spectacle that deserves all the attention it's getting. Never taking itself too seriously, this is a bombastic reminder of how movies about teams instead of one central hero can make us feel even more connected to the story. Another great aspect is that this one doesn't spend too much time in the dystopian muck. Where movies like Snowpiercer spend their entire run time on muddled social class warfare, The Wandering Earth dives into our will to live. And it feels 100 percent refreshing. If anything can be said, it's that this one is highly original and focused on edge of your seat thrills from front to back. 

Initially released in its homeland, the film has been purchased by Netflix and will see a streaming release that will undoubtedly drive a huge fanbase and potentially a sequel. While suspension of disbelief is the name of the game here, this is purified escapist cinema that brings action, drama, and beautiful computer generated exterior shots to a movie that's a total jolt to the system.

Unlike anything we've seen so far this year, this thing oozes with originality and a great dynamic between its huge set of main players. Setting itself apart from most other projects about a team of militaristic space explorers or survivors of a doomed planet, The Wandering Earth gives us a diverse palette of numerous leads that each have their own bit of background that makes us sympathize with their struggle. If you can see this one in theaters, do it. It deserves the big screen treatment. If not, make sure to see this when it comes to Netflix. 


-Chris George