1. Super interesting, Travis. Thanks for sharing! I had bought a book of old Chinese folk tales a while back from a garage sale. Traditional Chinese stories are WEIIIIRRRRD. Traditional folk tales all around the world tend to be weird (just read the original Pinocchio and you’ll see what I mean), but the Chinese ones have a TOTALLY different flavor. I’m fascinated by the culture and how different their worldview is. Will be very interesting to see what they put out in the future.

    Side note: while on a 14-hour flight to South Africa, a significant chunk of the movies offered were Chinese-made films, and many legitimately looked interesting. I was told that this is because so many Chinese business people do work in SA, and go to SA to vacation. The world is changing rapidly.

  2. Sounds like an interesting movie. I don’t know how practical it would be to move a whole planet that far, but I guess it might have been the only way to ensure there was a dirt/rock based planet available to settle on. From what I’ve heard in documentaries, the effects of a supernova can reach unbelievably far. Were they going far enough that our sun going supernova wouldn’t have affected them? I think it’s neat that the movie was based on a short story, though. I think Arrival was based on a short story, too. Not sure how faithful the movie was to the source material, but the movie was kind of a breath of fresh air since it didn’t care about action and explosions and whatnot. I don’t think it’s a foreign film, but have you seen it?

    Anime includes bits of English and other languages, too. It’s fun to see how it’s incorporated. There’s lots of anime sci fi, but when talking about anime, Chinese media and perhaps even K drama stuff, it looks like their fantasy, historical dramas and slice of life gains more traction in foreign countries. Interestingly enough, Brandon Sanderson was talking about how his books sell outside the US, and he said sci fi tends to sell better in Japan, at least in his experience.

    I’ve sampled some live action Chinese and Korean dramas on Netflix, and although I like the ideas and stories presented, I’m not so crazy about the acting and such. Some of the mannerisms they have the characters use work better in anime than in live action. But, I’ve read several comics that were either Chinese or Korean (translated into English, of course), and ones based on Chinese and Korean genres, and I’ve liked them quite a bit.

    Have you seen this music video?

  3. I haven’t read or watched The Wandering Earth, but I recently watched all 63 (ulp!!!) episodes of Ashes of Love, which is an epic mythological fantasy drama in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles. I found the mythology and folklore fascinating, as it’s something I’ve had very little exposure to, and while the spiritual beliefs and practices involved were obviously not Christian, I was impressed by the parallels to Biblical teachings when it came to the wages of sin, the soul-poisoning nature of vengefulness and bitterness, and the opportunities it gave even its most seemingly villainous characters to repent. I think I’ll be watching more Asian fantasy and SF drama in future, as it’s a refreshing change of perspective and emphasis from North American fare.

    (I should add to anyone interested that while the show starts off with a lot of broad comedy and the acting doesn’t seem all that great, it gets dramatically more serious and the lead actors really get to show their range as the heroine Jinmi grows out of her naive, silly child stage and starts experiencing real hardship and tragedy in her life. At which point you’re riding the Pain Train with these characters all the way to the ending, which proves to be complicated and costly for all involved, but satisfying.)

  4. notleia says:

    Maybe I’ll be tempted to return to Netflax sooner rather than later. I watched one Korean historical drama and it decided that three-fourths of my recommendations should be Korean rom-coms. There were plenty of big, showy (dumb) fantasy-action flicks (I forget the slang name for that genre), but I rarely feel like watching it.

    Im kinda surprised that one of the smaller anime import studios like Sentai Filmworks hasnt tried bringing in Chinese animation.

    I also just got done watching the semi-classic Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. It was pretty meh on the whole, but had dang good sections. It was fun to test my weeb knowledge and see the connections to Laputa, Captain Harlock, and Evangelion. Probably a Gundam or two but i haven’t gotten into Gundam.

  5. notleia says:

    Maybe I should read more Liu Cixin, but While The Three Body Problem was interesting, I found it super dry. Also I should learn to pronounce Chinese.

    • Tapas and Line Webtoon have some Chinese and Korean/inspired comics that are pretty good. I think I Love Yoo is one of them. Great slice of life drama. I think Age Matters is kinda the same deal. Three Lifetimes is a fantasy comic based on Chinese mythology/concepts. And I think Tapas has a K drama collection or something.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Yeah, I feel like I need to study Chinese sometime…

  6. John Weaver says:

    Interesting discussion. I would recommend Journey to the West too, which I’m currently (slowly) making my way through. It’s one of the great classics of Asian literature and has had a profound influence on Chinese and Japanese fantasy (Journey to the West can be seen as an early fantasy novel in some sense, at least in its later iterations). The original Dragonball was heavily based on it and Dragonball Z has traces of its influence as well. I do think, however, that China is going to have to ease up on censorship – which is not likely to happen soon – if we are to see the kind of artistic works coming out of China that have long graced Japan and South Korea. There’s plenty of good Chinese literature, but say what one will about Marxism, it’s been a disaster for Chinese literature (much as it was in Russia).

    • Travis Perry says:

      John, well, Marxism didn’t hurt the China Film Group from producing great special effects and it didn’t seem to restrict what happened in the plot of the story I saw. As I mentioned, one of the characters briefly prayed–and even though that was obviously played for laughs, you might think Marxists would suppress all prayer. But that didn’t happen.

      I’m not doubting at all, mind you, that the Marxists have suppressed many great stories in China. That would explain why both Korea and Japan have produced a great deal of speculative fiction, while China has been relatively silent in creating such stories. But this film did not seem like state propaganda. It seemed like a regular movie, albeit a non-US one. It may be an indicator that China is changing.

      This movie seemed to indicate that we might wind up seeing a lot more Chinese-made movies in the future.

    • notleia says:

      Well, luckily they already had 2-ish thousand years of literature before the Communist takeover for us Western nerds to catch up on.

  7. *whispers* In Serenity/Firefly, Chinese is the second language.

  8. Jill says:

    I was actually wondering whether I should watch this film. But only because it’s Chinese. Maybe an American could do it justice, but the concept is so silly I would be suspect of it. Sometimes, another culture’s take on a concept can make it interesting.

  9. I think the crew in The Martian prayed before attempting a difficult and dangerous maneuver. Though it’s possible that my memory is playing tricks; I certainly would have been praying all through that movie!
    The Wandering Earth sounds interesting. Will have to watch it. Remember the Dr. Who episode in which the earth was stolen and then returned — called The Stolen Earth? I loved that one — it had the earth charging through space to triumphant music.

  10. I’m generally willing to put up with a lot of nonsense in science fiction movies, but this was pretending to be hard sci fi and this finally exceeded my tolerance level and I quit about nine/tenths of the way through. I only stuck it out that long because I wanted to give the movie a chance. Visually, the movie was spectacular. Some of the humor was funny, some just made me sigh. Some of the actors appeared to be stage trained rather than trained for the camera. Some of the assumptions and attitudes of the Chinese were interesting to contrast with American attitudes.

  11. Awaki Tsunamari says:

    The movie was weird and eluded to New World Order system. The commentary about the United Earth Government and eradicating half the population by tsunamis was too illuminati sounding for my taste.

What do you think?