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China's Film Industry Finally Joins the Space Race
2019-07-10 21:08 Steven Lee Myers  英语世界 审核人:

The country’s first blockbuster set in space,"The Wandering Earth", opens amid grandiose expectations that it will represent the dawning of a new era in Chinese filmmaking.

中国第一部以太空了背景的大片《流浪地球》在万众期待之中隆重上映,人们普遍认为它将代表中国电影制作新时代的来临。

It is one in a series of ambitious, big-budget films tackling a genre that, until now, has been beyond the reach of most filmmakers here — technically and financially. Those movies include"Shanghai Fortress", about an alien attack on Earth, and"Pathfinder", about a spaceship that crashes on a desert planet.

直到现在,无论从技术还是资金上,科幻片都一直令绝大多数中国电影制作人难以触碰。有不少中国电影人勇于尝试,拍摄了一系列内容宏大且耗资巨大的科幻片,包括讲述外星人袭击地球的《上海堡垒》和讲述太空船在荒漠星球坠毁的《拓星者》,而《流浪地球》就是其中之一。

“Filmmakers in China see science fiction as a holy grail,” said Raymond Zhou, an independent critic, who noted that Hollywood had set the technological standards, and thus audience expectations, very high.“The Wandering Earth,” shown in 3-D, takes place in a distant future in which the sun is about to expand into a red giant and devour the Earth. The impending peril forces the world’s engineers to devise a plan to move the planet to a new solar system using giant thrusters. Things go very badly when Earth has to pass Jupiter, setting off a desperate scramble to save humanity from annihilation.

独立影评人周黎明说,“中国的电影制片人视科幻片为‘圣杯’。”他指出好莱坞已树立了很高的技术标杆,观众的期望也因而抬高。3D电影《流浪地球》的故事发生在遥远的未来,那时的太阳即将膨胀成红色巨星吞噬地球,危险迫在眉睫,全世界的工程师不得不制订计划,利用巨型推进器将地球转移到新的太阳系。但转移不得不经过木星时,情况变得十分危急,引发了拯救人类免于灭绝的拼力一搏。

The special effects — like the apocalyptic climatic changes that would occur if Earth suddenly moved out of its cozy orbit — are certain to be measured against Hollywood’s, as ever here. And the preliminary reviews have been positive.“It’s like the coming-of-age of the industry,” Zhou said.

与以往一样,影片中的特效——比如假设地球突然离开舒适轨道而引发的灾难性气候变化——肯定会被拿来与好莱坞的对比。初步的反响是积极的。周黎明认为:“该行业似乎正逐步走向成熟。”

“The Wandering Earth” opens with the Lunar New Year, the beginning of an official, weeklong holiday that is traditionally a peak box-office period in China. It has a limited release in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. At home, it will compete with “Crazy Alien,” a comedy inspired by “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” about two brothers hoping to capitalize on the arrival of a visitor from outer space.

《流浪地球》于中国农历新年法定假期首日上映,这七天假期是中国传统上的票房黄金期。该片在美国、加拿大、澳大利亚和新西兰会小规模上映。在国内,它将与喜剧片《疯狂的外星人》竞争,后者受《外星人E.T.》启发,讲述了两兄弟希望借外太空访客获利的故事。

Both “The Wandering Earth” and “Crazy Alien” are adapted from works by Liu Cixin, the writer who has led a renaissance in science fiction here, becoming the first Chinese winner of the Hugo Award for the genre in 2015. His novels are sprawling epics and deeply researched. That makes them plausible fantasies about humanity’s encounters with a dangerous universe. Translating them into movies would challenge any filmmaker, as the director of “The Wandering Earth,” Guo Fan, acknowledged during a screening in Beijing last week.

《流浪地球》和《疯狂的外星人》均改编自刘慈欣的作品。刘慈欣在中国引领了一场科幻小说的复兴。2015年,他成为首位斩获雨果奖的中国作家。他的小说是有恢宏的史诗,博大精深,那些关于人类面对危险宇宙的幻想因而变得颇为可信。《流浪地球》的导演郭帆在北京的一场放映会上坦承,把这些作品搬上银幕对任何电影人都是个挑战。

That has made the film, produced by Beijing Jingxi Culture & Tourism Company and the state-owned China Film Group Corp., a test for the industry. Guo, who uses the name Frant Gwo in English, noted that Chinese audiences have responded coolly to many of Hollywood’s previous sci-fi blockbusters. Studios, therefore, have been wary of investing the resources required to make convincing sci-fi.

这部由北京京西文化旅游有限公司和国企中国电影集团公司联合出品的影片因此成为行业的试金石。郭帆(英文名Frant Gwo)指出,中国观众对此前的很多好莱坞科幻大片反应平淡。正因如此,电影公司对投入各种资源制作令人信服的科幻电影一直非常谨慎。

The film’s budget reportedly reached nearly $50 million, modest by Hollywood standards but still significant here in China. More than 7,000 people were involved in the production. Much of it was filmed in the new Oriental Movie Metropolis, an $8 billion studio in the coast city of Qingdao, built by the real estate and entertainment giant Dalian Wanda.

据报道,该片预算近5000万美元,以好莱坞标准来衡量并不算高,但在中国可以说是大手笔了。参与制作的有7000多人。影片大部分场景拍摄于新建的东方影都。该影都位于沿海城市青岛,由房地产和娱乐巨头大连万达耗资80亿美元打造。

“I really hope that this movie will not lose money at least,” said Guo, whose previous film, “My Old Classmate,” was a romantic comedy. “As long as this one does not lose money, we can continue to make science-fiction films. The popularity of Liu’s novels could help. So could two recent Hollywood films, “Gravity”and “The Martian.” Both included important plot twists that, not incidentally, cast China’s space program in a positive light, and both were huge hits here.

曾执导浪漫喜剧《同桌的你》的郭帆说:“我真心希望这部片子至少不赔钱。只要不赔钱,我们就可以接着拍科幻。”刘慈欣小说广受欢迎可能对影片票房会有所帮助。最近的两部好莱坞电影《地心引力》和《火星救援》也可能引起助推作用。这两部电影在中国都是卖座大片,片中的重要情节不约而同从正面展现了中国的太空计划。

The openings also come as China reached a milestone in space: the landing of a probe on the far side of the moon in January. Although decades behind Russia and the United States, China has now put astronauts in orbit and has ambitious plans to join — or even lead — a new age of space exploration..

《流浪地球》上映正值中国在太空领域取得具有里程碑意义的成就:今年1月,中国的一个探测器在月球背面着陆。虽然落后俄罗斯和美国几十年,但中国现已将宇航员送入太空轨道,并制订了远大计划迈入甚或引领太空探索新时代。

“I think there is a very close connection between Chinese cinema and the nation’s fortunes,” said Sha Dan, a curator at the China Film Archive, who moderated a discussion with Guo. He cited the most popular film in China last year: “Operation Red Sea,” an action drama loosely based on the Chinese rescue of several hundred civilians from Yemen when war erupted there in 2015. “When we have the ability to go to war, we can make movies like ‘Operation Red Sea,’” he said, alluding to China’s military modernization in recent years. “Only when China can enter the space era can we make works like ‘The Wandering Earth.’”

中国电影资料馆的电影策展人沙丹主持了一场和郭帆的讨论,他说:“我认为中国电影和国家命运有着非常紧密的联系。”沙丹提起去年中国最受欢迎的电影《红海行动》,那是一部动作片,大体取材于2015年也门内战爆发时中国救援数百名中国公民的撤侨行动。“当我们具备的作战能力,就能拍出像《红海行动》这样的电影。”他说,意指中国近代的军事现代化,“只有中国具备了进入太空时代的能力,我们才能拍出像《流浪地球》这样的作品。”

Unlike “Operation Red Sea” or the two “Wolf Warrior” movies, which featured a Rambo-like hero battling Western villains,“The Wandering Earth” is not jingoistic, though it does star Wu Jing, the hero of the “Wolf Warrior” films, who put up his own investment in the project. He plays an astronaut aboard an international space station.

与《红海行动》和《兰博式英雄痛的西方反派的两部《战狼》系列片不同,《流浪地球》并无大国主义色彩,不过该片主角吴京也是《战狼》的主角,他本人还投资了这部影片。吴京在《流浪地球》中扮演一名登上国际空间站的宇航员。

Guo said he consciously avoided making Wu’s character a do-it-alone superhero. The fight to save Earth is fought instead by an ensemble, including an affable Russian cosmonaut.

郭帆说,他有意避免让吴京的角色成为一个单打独斗的超级英雄。相反,拯救地球是一项全体参与的行动,其中包括一位和蔼可亲的俄罗斯宇航员。

“The Wandering Earth” takes for granted China’s central role in future space exploration, but it also has a vision of the international collaboration necessary to cope with the threats facing the planet, a theme that runs deeply through Liu’s fiction. Liu, who attended a screening last week, noted that science-fiction films in China dated as far back as the 1930s, when the director Yang Xiaozhong made ones like “Exchanged” and “Visiting Shanghai After 60 Years.”" There were not the conditions for science-fiction movies to have an impact at the time. "

《流浪地球》自然而然将中国作为了未来太空探索的核心,但也展现了应对地球面临威胁时国际合作的必要——这一主题在刘慈欣的小说中贯穿始终,刘慈欣在参加一场放映会时指出,中国的科幻电影可以追溯到1930年代,导演杨小仲拍摄了《化身人猿》和《六十年后上海滩》等影片。“当时的条件下,科幻电影无法产生多大影响。”

A film project based on Liu’s best-known work, the trilogy that began with “The Three-Body Problem,” was optioned and even filmed in 2015 but has since languished in postproduction, reportedly because of technical challenges and costs. The conditions now seem ripe. Seeing the “The Wandering Earth” on the screen, Liu said, was “soul shaking.”

将刘慈欣最著名的三部曲改编为电影的计划在2015年立项并投拍第一部《三体》,但据报道,由于技术原因和成本问题,后期制作一直处于停滞状态。如今条件似已成熟,刘慈欣说,在大银幕上欣赏《流浪地球》令人“心灵震撼”。

英士 译

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