The movie "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department" has been released for ten days, and the overall box office is only 43.302 million—this number has to be multiplied by 11 to barely catch up with the box office revenue on the first day of the release of "The Wandering Earth 2".
Although the epidemic seems to have passed away, in the current movie market, there are still only a very small number of top players and blockbuster movies that can "eat enough". The Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department clearly does not belong to any of them.
But no one will take it lightly.
Guo Fan raised funds for it with the well-known "begging method" inside and outside the industry. As soon as the script was written, some employers decided to vote for it only after Guo Fan dictated the outline; at the 5th Pingyao International Film Festival, it won 4 awards including "Fei Mu Honor · Best Film" and gained a great reputation noise.
On Douban, 132,000 people scored it 8.4 points, "China finally has a sci-fi film like "The Man From Earth" that is completely based on story creativity rather than money-burning spectacle. Hard sci-fi and soft sci-fi, high concept and low cost should be the future of sci-fi!" someone wrote.
Four years ago, the public's attention was that "The Wandering Earth" became popular, so what about Chinese science fiction? The first year of Chinese sci-fi movies has been shouted for many years like "Wolf is coming"-the subtext of this sentence is that before "The Wandering Earth", there were no decent sci-fi movies in China.
But now, the market situation has changed. There will never be another year when Chinese science fiction can be as hot as it is today. In the beginning of the year, "The Three-Body Problem" and "The Wandering Earth 2" shined on the big and small screens, and in April, the "Space Exploration Editorial Department" made people's eyes shine again.
The once unattainable future has come, and the teetering Chinese science fiction seems to be finally on the right track, but it seems to be somewhat different from what the public expects.
The end of science fiction, not science fiction?
If you follow the mainstream value evaluation system, it is difficult for you to see the simple and intuitive visual charm of science fiction films in "Universe Exploration Editorial Department".
In previous discussions about "why there are no sci-fi movies in China", the stories that were repeatedly mentioned were: the cultural differences between China and the West, the lack of basic scientific literacy of Chinese people, and the unfriendliness of audiences of sci-fi movies , the distrust of the capital, the lack of relevant talents caused by the separate education system of arts and sciences, and the backwardness of special effects and persuasiveness... The reasons involve various aspects, and all parties have their arguments. The only consensus may be that the Chinese film and television industry systematic workThe road to career is long and difficult.
Sci-fi films are movies with a large market temperament. They are high-input and high-return products that can only be produced when the film industry and film market develop to a certain stage. Great courage and abundant capital to recreate a complex and huge physical world.
When Nolan made the sci-fi movie "Interstellar", he invited Nobel Prize winner Kip Thorne to provide academic support. Guo Fan shot "The Wandering Earth", with a total of 2,003 special effects shots and more than 3,000 concept drawings.
But in the "Universe Exploration Editorial Department", it is difficult for you to see all this.
Comedy, sci-fi, this is Douban's genre description for "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department". Among them, comedy is placed first. But this kind of comedy is different from the popular jokes in "Lonely Walking on the Moon".
It's like the English title of the film "Journey to the West", which is the English translation of "Journey to the West". The director clearly portrayed this group of people as a "contemporary version of "Journey to the West".
Tang Zhijun who is stubbornly looking for traces of aliens is "Tang Monk", the mysterious boy Sun Yitong is Sun Wukong, Qin Cairong who is cursing all the time is "Zhu Bajie", and Na Risu, who is in charge of coolies, is "Drass Monk". It started an inexplicable journey like learning from the Western Paradise. The story is intertwined with elements of science fiction, horror, folklore, and comedy, and the telephoto lens is rude and direct, unreasonable.
The absurd and weird behavior of the protagonist, and the rough and straightforward language of the camera, naturally reveal a comic color. Ordinary viewers may not be able to understand every shot of the film, but they can also clearly feel that, compared to providing professional value, the emotional value of "Universe Exploration Editorial Department" is the root of its ability to get out of the circle.
Therefore, "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department" is often defined by the outside world as a work that completely subverts the previous Chinese science fiction. According to director Kong Dashan, "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department" is a "floor brick" of Chinese science fiction movies.
Or to put it another way, even on the track of "science fiction films", "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department" seems to have never intended to let Tang Zhijun really find the foreign civilization he has never forgotten, nor Don't be obsessed with presenting a wonderful spectacle, creating the thrill of brainstorming. In "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department", "science fiction" is simplified into endless hope and endless despair. The four seem to be looking for traces of alien civilization visits, but in fact they are looking for their lost selves.
Perhaps this is also the reason why in every recent road show of "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department", the main creator has set up an "apology" link at the beginning: "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department" should have many It's good, but it doesn't have to be like a sci-fi movie.
The future is alreadyCome on, how far has Chinese science fiction come?
It is a very "un-Chinese" choice to make "Universe Exploration Editorial Department" into a very "non-sci-fi" sci-fi film.
As for the imagination of Chinese science fiction, whether it is the creator or the audience, there always seems to be a deep-seated obsession. For example, space travel and aliens, robots and artificial intelligence, time travel, utopia and dystopia, it seems that only these motifs can build a magnificent, complex and infinitely vast universe.
To some extent, this is inseparable from China's national conditions. China has not experienced an industrial revolution, and people's intimacy with technology and machinery is lower than that of European and American countries. Those science fiction stories that have been verified by the market can give Chinese people a sense of security, and allow Chinese science fiction to keep moving forward at a speed that truly conforms to universal laws.
Especially in the past few years, Chinese science fiction has experienced repeated "sit-ups". In the not-too-distant year of 2019, "The Wandering Earth" had just solved part of the confidence problem, and then was injured again by "Shanghai Fortress". At that time, the most popular sentence was that "The Wandering Earth" opened the door to Chinese science fiction, and "Shanghai Fortress" closed it again.
Therefore, the two "Wandering Earth" are becoming a new standard. It must be a good thing to have a goal to refer to, just as after the 1986 edition of Journey to the West was broadcast, people across the country reached a consensus, which included character modeling and the tone of the work. Only on the basis of this consensus, all other film and television works about "Journey to the West" have both rules to follow and a basis for reforming the past.
Simultaneously with the establishment of Chinese science fiction standards, there is also the coveted industrialization of film and television.
Even the controversial "Shanghai Fortress" has indeed made Chinese science fiction a big step forward in terms of technology. "Shanghai Fortress" has a total of more than 1,600 special effects shots, accounting for 90% of the total shots. The post-production of "Shanghai Fortress" took almost two years, which is equivalent to the time it took for director Teng Huatao to shoot "Snail House".
Among them, the most widely circulated story is that the special effects coordination of "Shanghai Fortress" is in charge of the local team Tiangong Yicai. Being able to control the overall planning in the hands of the local team is equivalent to having a higher degree of control over the dominance of special effects production.
The same story also happened in "Lonely on the Moon". Even though many logic bugs that affect the viewing experience still make it impossible for sci-fi fans to pay, the domestic first-class special effects and screens still allow "Lonely Moon" to successfully harvest 3.1 billion box office in last summer's summer vacation.
When it comes to "Wandering Earth 2", the progress of China's industrialization technology is more obvious. Create a topic on Weibo, China National Nuclear Corporation, Aviation Industry, PetroChina, Sinopec, Xugong and other companies starting with "Guozihao",is the protagonist of this topic.
In the past, the biggest problem of domestic science fiction was the gap between visual technology and imagination. Today, the technology gap has basically been filled.
Under this premise, the "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department" appeared, and people praised it for making Chinese science fiction find another more groundbreaking and rooted in China beyond the established track. A unique local sci-fi direction in context. But the new question that follows is, can the contradiction between the mainstream of science fiction and the mainstream of reality be resolved so easily?
Has Chinese science fiction entered the 2.0 stage?
In 2014, under the arrangement of the General Administration of Film, Guo Fan went to Paramount as a representative of young directors for a short-term "study visit". , not the level of technology and industrialization in Hollywood, but that Hollywood has stopped talking about industrialization. They began to pay attention to "good stories, good characters, good ideas".
Just like the Disney-style Franchise (franchising) concept that has been widely criticized in recent years. This idea of including all sci-fi film projects and making it a cost-effective product concept under countless project meetings is being strongly opposed by more and more film and television practitioners.
Among them, the most critical reason is that the creator needs to abide by the constraints of the studio, and cannot just write a character to death. Because every role has unlimited market development potential for the studio and is a huge asset. In the eyes of practitioners, they are the murderers who kill the possibility of science fiction.
Art film director Martin Scorsese once criticized such science fiction: "They are sequels in name, but they are repeated in spirit, in which everything is officially sanctioned, because it is impossible There are other forms. That's the nature of the modern blockbuster franchise: market research, audience testing, censorship, modification, refurbishment, and rework until it's ready for consumption."
But this is climbing up the "industrialized "After this mountain, you can see the next mountain. At present, Chinese science fiction is still striving to climb the pinnacle of industrialization, and is looking at another mountain in the distance.
Perhaps this is the fundamental reason why Guo Fan participated in the "Universe Exploration Editorial Department" as the first producer. In his view, compared with "hard science fiction", the story of "soft science fiction" is the problem that domestic science fiction is difficult to solve at present. "What is soft science fiction? Soft science fiction is to be built on the soil that hard science fiction has helped us On. When our hard science fiction appears one by one, and when the context is cultivated, we can shoot stories like a robot and a girl falling in love.”
< p>Obviously, this is not an overnight process. At least, for the current Chinese science fiction, let the audience accept from hardcore visual spectacle toThe transition of philosophical speculation is still a difficult problem. Just like the "Cosmic Exploration Editorial Department", the box office is as bad as its word of mouth is outstanding.
Of course, even "The Three-Body Problem" cannot solve such problems.
The drama version of "Three-Body Problem" and "The Wandering Earth 2" met with the audience almost at the same time. They have well-known commonalities, such as the same author, the same communication environment, and the same concept of a community with a shared future for mankind. But from the perspective of arrival rate, the two works can be regarded as very different.
The box office of "The Wandering Earth 2" has reached 4.026 billion yuan so far, and it only took 8 days for surrounding crowdfunding to break through 100 million yuan. These achievements are enough to prove that the work is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. In comparison, the sinking degree of the drama "Three-Body Problem" is not ideal, especially suitable for comparison with the hit drama "Hurricane" which was broadcast at the same time. According to Yunhe data, in January 2023, "Hurricane" ranked first with 2.72 billion effective broadcasts of feature films on the entire network, while "Three-Body" was 460 million, which was even less than one-sixth of "Hurricane". .
Obviously, compared to the realistic "Hurricane", it is difficult for a sci-fi spectacle to become a panacea for ratings like it does on the big screen. Just like "The Three-Body Problem" and "The Beginning", compared to the grand spectacle of the former, the latter is obviously easier for the audience to reach. When the audience enters this story and deeply empathizes with the hateful innocents and guilty poor people, no science fiction or suspense matters.
The branch of science fiction and the mainstream of reality, this is the new balance that Chinese science fiction needs to find.
However, fortunately, domestic sci-fi films have only entered the public eye in just a few years. Chinese science fiction is still in its best era. The 2022 "China Science Fiction 10-Year Industry Report" data shows that in 2021, the output value of China's science fiction (including but not limited to publishing, film and television, games and other industries) has exceeded 70 billion yuan, an increase of 8 times in 5 years.
"The establishment of the context and aesthetics of Chinese science fiction must take ten years as a unit, and it is estimated that it will be established in 20 or 30 years." Guo Fan once said.
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