No this is actually new content.
FIRST Something New:
The Wandering Earth is based on a collection of short stories by Hugo winning (and Puppy approved) author Liu Cixin.
The premise for the film is big but also a little ridiculous but I can accept it for a couple of reason. One, you have to start a story somewhere and two, let me state up front that I haven’t read the book but Liu Cixin, has a good track record for taking science seriously.
The setup. The new Solar Maunder Minimum we are entering is actually quite a bit worse than the Sun going quiet for a bit. It turns out that Sol is running out of hydrogen and will start drastically expanding soon. Within 500 years it will engulf of the Earth.
So the question is how does the human race rescue itself?
Move to Mars or maybe one of the moons of Jupiter? Sorry, the Sun is going to take out the whole Solar System.
Build spaceships and takeoff? No good. In this universe we haven’t licked the problem of FTL so it will have to be slower than light travel. Besides, Man is mass produced by unskilled labor and there are billions of us. There is also another bigger problem. We have found may-be one or two acceptable candidates but so far as we know for certain, this is the only planet that can sustain terrestrial life. And we have to deal in certainties if the survival of our species is at stake.
The solution decided upon is to take the whole planet with us.
That is the pill you have to swallow.
Gigantic thruster engines and underground cities are built. The Earth’s rotation is stopped and then the human race sets out for the nearest star available. Leaving the Solar System will require a close flyby of Jupiter to make use of the slingshot effect.
Not everyone can get into the underground cities. The population of the planet is reduced to 3.5 billion.
So from a science fiction narrative standpoint this a universe ship story except it uses a whole planet as a ship, which maybe unique, I’m not sure (and believe when I say, I don’t care).
From a screenplay standpoint, it’s disaster movie.
So anyway, the principle characters are three generations of one family. Grandpa who drives trucks on the now completely uninhabitable surface of the Earth. Father who is an important astronaut serving on a space station in orbit around the Earth (and thus had the leverage to get his family below ground. Then there is the Son who is a kind of a juvenile delinquent. There is also the Son’s “sister,” (watch the film if you want the details). A lot of the film revolves around the inter-generational conflict between these three men.
The external conflict is provided by Jupiter.
During it’s slingshot orbit, there is a gravity spike from the gas giant. The Earth starts to orbit in toward it’s destruction. This sets off massive earthquakes that disable a huge number of the giant thruster engines.
The day this happened the Son, stole his grandfather’s driving pass (Grandpa is the ultimate Ice Road Trucker) and went joyriding on the surface. Grandpa catches up with the kid just as the SHTF. Grandpa his truck and the kid are soon conscripted by the Army for a mission to help save the planet.
‘There were several elements that I found interesting. First was the old timey Communist saw about the Workers and the Soldiers being at first in conflict and then banding together for a common good. Second, was the White people in this flick. There was one half Chinese, half Australian blond kid that provided the slapstick comic relief. There was also a Russian Cosmonaut who was the Father’s closest friend on the space station. One French woman on the Station as a background extra and no Americans at all. It’s the Russians and the Australians that really matter to the People of the Han for…reasons.
I liked the gimmick with the Station’s AI basically being sendup of HAL.
I also rather liked the scene where they are driving through the frozen ruins of Shanghai and Grandpa is reminiscing about his late wife’s bad cooking and how much he enjoyed eating it. What sold that scene was the Army Colonel, who had been the Heavy up until that moment, half closing his eyes and smiling dreamily about a world that is now broken and gone forever. That moment really worked for me because I’m getting crotchety, old and wistful myself.
The pacing is slow by American standards but the special effects are good enough for a the small screen.
Cataline Recommends with Confidence
NEXT, Something Old:
You have to be into archaeology to really enjoy this next movie.
When I loaded this one up I was at first a little disappointed. The grand spectacle of Raj Putana was missing. In fact everything looked pretty cheap but then I saw almost everyone was using stone tools and they looked pretty authentic. That was when I took an real interest.
It took about a minute of internet searching to discover that this production company really sweated the details. Pretty much everything you see is based on things that were discovered a the Mohenjo Daro dig site.
This film takes place in the third cradle of human civilization, the Indus River valley circa 2500 bc. Which makes the city contemporaries with The Old Kingdom pyramid builders of Egypt, the Royal City of Ur and Minoan Crete.
The story itself is another variant on what I am coming to call the Osiris Mono-myth. The vindicating son avenging the death of his father, the lawful and just king. Then assuming his place on the throne. The only thing missing was the usurper being his uncle… and also his father wasn’t actually the king of Mohenjo Daro, he was the Senate Chief but hey, close enough.
So our hero’s father was overthrown and killed and the usurper plans to expand his rule with the ultimate weapon of the day, copper weapons. The son arrives about then.
I’m afraid The Osiris Mono-myth, is really more of cautionary tale for usurping uncles in the real world. After all when Richard III took the throne what was the first thing he did? (And no, I am not remotely interested in how long he actually took to get it done. No one is. Stop being That Guy).
The movie itself is the usual Bollywood Adventure-Romace-Comedy-Action-Musical-Drama. If you are into that you won’t be disappointed.
I’m afraid the part I found a little off putting was making Hrithik Roshan as the lead. Don’t get me wrong I like the man’s work. Think of him as a Cary Grant who can actually sing, dance and really act. But I just couldn’t buy him as twenty year old kid. Not when he is in his mid-forties and his love interest clearly looked like she was in her twenties.
Apparently there was also a real world problem the film had was with the Hindus themselves. Mohenjo Daro itself predates the current pantheon. Those gods are supposed to be eternal and they ain’t there. The Hindus were not cool about this.
However, if you are like sword and sandals, Bollywood and Archeology you are in for a treat. Cataline Recommends with Enthusiasm…If you meet that criteria.
A little of old and new. The video below was kind of nostalgic for me.
If we were on Liberty at Tokyo, we would head to Ropanagi and the Gas Panic Bar. The night would be burned up with frequent rounds of beer and occasional trips to hotels with hourly rates providing intensive rounds of cross cultural exchange.
However, the night is winding down and you don’t want to go back to the ship to sleep because it’s the ship and you are on Liberty damn it. But you do need to sleep and cheaply. The love hotels are too expensive for that, besides you know what is going on in the next room anyway because you were just there.
Nope your best choice for getting some shuteye was also the cheapest.
Actually this is one of the nicer ones. You can find the more bare bones version we had below.
Trust me when I say either of these was vastly preferable to a Naval berthing area on an LHA.
Wish I’d known about this when I was there.
Okay I’m done here.