Sci-fi blockbuster spurs Chinese Gen Z’s high-tech craze
'Wandering Earth II' inspires youth
Published: Feb 03, 2023 12:03 AM

Domestic sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth II has triggered a hi-tech craze among young Chinese who have vowed to devote themselves to the development of the science and technology industry and cheer on the "big step" Chinese sci-fi films have made.

At a post-screening event in Beijing on Thursday, many young Chinese lined up in the hopes of getting a chance to talk to the cast and crew of the film.

Some teen moviegoers expressed an interest in the "virtual life" depicted in the film, while others said they are looking forward to more cooperation between the film's director  and sci-fi writer Liu Cixin, which Guo noted was a "possibility." Guo also added that a handbook for The Wandering Earth setting would be published soon. 

Many moviegoers at the event told the Global Times that they were amazed by the double story lines of the film, which remained exciting throughout its three-hour run due to the stunning visuals and well-paced plot.

"Because I am a sci-fi fan, I pay more attention to special effects. When I saw the space elevators, I was so thrilled that I couldn't help but tear up. I think The Wandering Earth II is on a par with, or even surpasses Hollywood sci-fi movies," Chen Yunzhi, a 26-year-old die-hard fan of sci-fi literature, told the Global Times with a voice full of excitement.

"I think many Hollywood sci-fi films are very straightforward, always showing flashy visuals on screen, but I can indeed see the thought process of the screenwriters reflected in the story line of The Wandering Earth series. They are really thinking about how to better make a deep movie and not just a simple visual feast," she added.

Cao Weiye, a 23-year-old undergraduate studying mechatronics engineering, told the Global Times that while watching the film, he was stunned because many of the advanced machines he saw in the film were based on prototypes they learn about in their courses. 

He joked that he wanted to ask the cast and crew for a job helping build 3D models and props for the sequels.

"Whatever you imagine, we'll make it real," said China's venerable actor Li Xuejian, quoting a recent social media post the China National Nuclear Corporation made in support of the film.

Chen said The Wandering Earth II felt extremely immersive thanks in part to ­China's advances in high technology. 

"With the strong support of China's powerful industry, I think some cool devices shown in the movie could actually become a reality in the future."

"The plot is richer and the worldview is broader. After watching The Wandering Earth II, you will have the desire to see a third, fourth and fifth film in the series," Li Xixi, a 37-year-old moviegoer, told the ­Global Times on Thursday.

Cao echoed that he admired how The Wandering Earth II has paved the way for Chinese sci-fi films as it provides a complete worldview to the audience. 

Ji Zixi, another sci-fi literature fan, told the Global Times that she was deeply touched when she saw her tutor for a science fiction literature class post that he was happy he could share Chinese sci-fi films like The Wandering Earth II with the students, while before he could only talk to them about sci-fi films from other countries. 

"China's sci-fi films have taken a big step forward. We have started to go from 0 to 1, but to go from 1 to 100, I think there may still be a long way to go. There is no need to be in a hurry though. We just need to move forward step by step with our Chinese craftsmanship and patience," she said.

The film has grossed 2.97 billion yuan ($442 million) in the Chinese mainland, and $3 million in North America as of Thursday, according to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan.