Earth to Trance
If I said that one of the biggest box offices in recent cinema is a film that few have heard of here in Brazil, which has passed through our screening rooms (at the time they were still open before the pandemic) and arrived in our country directly on Netflix still in 2019 without the majority realizing it, would you believe it? Well believe me!
Released in theaters in China on February 5, 2019, the overproduction arrived the same day, but in a limited fashion, in the US appropriately in IMAX theaters (below I will explain the scale of the work). Also in February, other countries around the world received the film in its biggest theaters, such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong. With just half a dozen, albeit heavily populated, countries receiving the film on the big screen, the campaign won by the box office production is commendable, becoming the 13th highest-grossing film of its respective opening year, adding $ 700 million worldwide in corporate coffers.
To give you an idea, Terra à Driva, a Chinese work exhibited in a few countries, was above famous blockbusters like Shazam !, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Dumbo, Alita, Men in Black International, Us, The Terminator: Dark Destiny, X-Men: Black Phoenix and even the Asian companion Parasite (phenomenon from two years ago) in terms of the box office. Awesome, isn’t it? Even more impressive, however, is what the filmmakers were able to achieve on a budget equivalent to US $ 48 million – a figure considered average for Hollywood productions. The fact shows that: 1. American blockbusters could be made for much less, which would avoid constant monumental losses. And 2. A large chunk of those budgets goes straight into the pockets of stars who use their names as lures.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Terra to Driva owes nothing in terms of top-notch visual effects, impeccable art direction, costume and scale to the biggest productions in Uncle Sam’s country. The greatness of the film cannot be told, but every frame seems designed to be viewed on the biggest screen possible. It’s detailed at this level! We are immediately transported to the future, where we accompany these characters on an epic journey, with a very noble goal: the salvation of life on Earth.
In the plot, with a strong environmental footprint – very current and necessary – the gradual destruction of our planet due to human greed reaches exacerbated and unsolvable levels. Combining fiction and reality, the film accelerates the process of “the death of the sun”, a known scientific fact that is expected to occur in 10 billion years. It is also known that before that, at least 5 billion years in the future, at least, the inhabitants of the Earth will have to find other homes in space, if the human race is to persist. And that’s what Terra à Driva tells her story on top of that. Based on Cixin Liu’s book, in order to continue to exist as a species, the rulers of the world decide to move the Earth from one place to another. That’s right! As crazy as this idea may sound, director Frant Gwo, even without experience in such works, makes everything seem plausible. Well, for an entertainment blockbuster at least.
The solution found to save the Earth from its fateful destination is to take it in search of another solar system and to anchor your planet there. In other words, before the sun explodes and takes us away, we are going to “sneak up”. For this, large propellers, functioning like real colossal turbines, are fixed at strategic points of the planet, moving in orbit. It is clear that the journey will last around 2,500 years and created a new Ice Age (with no sun to warm us), forcing humanity to live in the basement of the planet. Creativity and scientific support abound. It is precisely for this reason that the film became China’s first major assault on such sci-fi overproduction.
The story centers on a family, because following the onset of disaster cinema, we have to humanize and find faces that we can identify with in the midst of such destruction. So, we have the drama of astronaut Liu Peiqiang (Jing Wu), who goes on a mission for years in space aboard a station orbiting the planet and verifying his journey. His son, Liu Qi (Chuxiao Qu), is left in his childhood, and when he becomes a young man, besides rebelling at his father’s choice, he shows himself to be a genius who uses his intelligence for the offense. He is the real protagonist of the feature film. With his little sister, his grandfather and members of a rescue team, the boy will embark on the greatest adventure of his life.
Terra’s result in Driva can be compared to a great mix of all the large-scale disaster films of recent years. A great “beat” from Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Gravity and others. In other words, for many, it may not be new at this point. However, everything in the world is context, and we have to look at the film as a great achievement from its home country, which is reaching the level previously considered unattainable outside of the Hollywood circuit. Other than that, there is a lot of effort to create tense scenes, gripping characters, good comedic reliefs, lots of adventure, action, and a megalomaniac dimension that was previously unthinkable. The scenes present a real danger by succeeding in capturing us by identification. There was only one romance left to cover all angles. However, it can be said that the relationship between father and son is even more exciting and just as effective.
There is no longer any doubt that Asian cinema is here to stay and has increasingly become one of the biggest favorites in the world. Be the award-winning dramas of South Korean films, and now the blockbusters that have given fatigue in North American productions. If you still doubt it, know that 7 of the 10 best world box offices come today. Oh yeah, and with an ambiguous ending to this movie, Terra’s sequel to Driva is already in pre-production.
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