Interview with Guo Fan| the romance and poetry of Chinese science fiction, the exploration and progress of domestic films

"Breaking the Ball 3 no longer needs Guo Daohuayuan, mature fans have already started their own." At the roadshow of the Spring Festival film "The Wandering Earth 2", director Guo Fan was dubbed the title of "Huayuan Master" by netizens when he told the "difficult" preparation experience of the series of movies, and then #Guo Fan responded to the topic of Huayuan Master's hot search # on the hot list again and received many netizens' message replies.

As the sequel to the first hard sci-fi movie in China, "The Wandering Earth 2" has attracted much attention from the outside world since its preparation, and since its release, the film has also lived up to expectations and achieved a double harvest of box office and word of mouth - as of the date of publication, the box office of "The Wandering Earth 2" has also exceeded 2.9 billion, and has received a high reputation of 8.2 points on Douban, becoming a well-deserved blockbuster movie at the beginning of the year.

The popularity of "The Wandering Earth 2" also made Guo Fan, a young director born in 1980 and officially entered the industry in 2011 with his debut film "The Adventures of Li Xianji", once again stand in the spotlight. In the past 12 years of creative practice, he has witnessed and personally promoted the development of Chinese science fiction films and the industrialization of Chinese films.

When "The Wandering Earth" was released four years ago, Guo Fan frankly said that for the industrialization of the film, he went through the stage of "from a blurry fog in front of him to being able to roughly see the outline of a person", so Guo Fan named "The Wandering Earth" "Little Broken Ball" - "Just like earlier when people raised children would call kittens and dogs, calling 'Broken Ball' feels better to feed." Guo Fan smiled and said that after the release of "The Wandering Earth 2", he talked about this topic, and Guo Fan had a new feeling: "The outline is a little clearer, it will still be blurred, but we will move forward step by step." ”

"Chinese science fiction movies are rooted in Chinese culture"

In 2019, "The Wandering Earth" won the annual box office championship with a box office of 4.68 billion, and was praised by the industry and outside the industry as "opening the first year of Chinese science fiction movies". After 4 years, "The Wandering Earth 2" not only made breakthrough upgrades to its scientific and technological equipment and sci-fi visual effects at the production level, but also integrated multiple expressions such as human and technological games, virtual and reality, science and ethics at the story level, and won a high evaluation of it as "raising the new level of domestic science fiction films".

The release of "The Wandering Earth 2" has also once again triggered the audience's thinking and discussion on the "core of Chinese science fiction movies", in Guo Fan's view: "Chinese science fiction movies are rooted in Chinese culture, such as the presentation of 'taking the earth to wander' is very Chinese, reflecting Chinese's attachment and love for their homeland and homeland, which is not very present in Western thinking logic." Just like in "The Wandering Earth 2", when Western governments had differences or even fought over the choice of self-help solutions, the Chinese representative unswervingly chose and took the lead in implementing the "Moving Mountains Plan" (the predecessor of the "Wandering Earth Plan") that can save human life to the greatest extent.

Guo Fan regards the "Wandering Earth" series "leaving with the earth" as a macroscopic "outer direction" of Chinese expression, and "The Wandering Earth 2" continues while generating a new "inner direction" - Guo Fan extends from the film's opening scene of "people burn paper to pay tribute to their ancestors for their thoughts", "Throughout the movie, we are discussing whether we can turn this longing into an entity based on the advanced technical means we currently have" Guo Fan further explained, This has a more concrete display in the film: Andy Lau's space designer Tu Hengyu extracts the consciousness of his daughter who died unexpectedly and implants a chip into her, so that she can survive in the form of "digital life".

With the help of scientific and technological means to materialize the process of "emotions and thinking", itself touches on the very common and grander theme in science fiction movies - the relationship between humans and technology, Guo Fan continues to interpret with interest: the basic theme of all science fiction works is that we create and invent technology, but technology is a double-edged sword, it is impossible to predict what it will bring us in the end, maybe one day, we will have to choose how to face artificial intelligence with geometric development of IQ, "We just want to extract some of the motifs of science fiction, Throw it out for everyone to discuss," Guo Fan concluded with a slight pause.

In the process of "inward exploration" of "The Wandering Earth 2", some Chinese emotions and value expressions wrapped under its sci-fi coat have gradually been revealed, which has aroused the emotional resonance of many audiences. For example, in the face of the doomsday crisis, firmly protecting the family has become the unanimous choice of people, and the line "I am here, always be" conveys the Chinese emotional expression of "accompaniment and protection"; When human beings began to save themselves, the "heroism" presented by "The Wandering Earth 2" did not emphasize the individual, but "collective and united" and had a distinct meaning of a community with a shared future for mankind; When it was necessary to artificially explode the moon, the veterans of the Chinese Space Force took the lead in shouting "Over fifty years old!" It reflects the sense of responsibility of the older generation of astronauts to "lead by example" and the love for the younger generation; When the "month-by-month plan" entered the countdown stage, the poem "Today's people do not see the ancient moon, this month once illuminated the ancients" in the news broadcast triggered the audience's infinite feelings for the "moon", reflecting China's unique sci-fi romance and poetry. There are many, many similar expressions in "The Wandering Earth 2".

"The Wandering Earth 2" "To make a high information density movie"

The preparation period of "The Wandering Earth 2" coincides with the difficult three years of Chinese films, and when talking about whether there are difficulties encountered in the production process, Guo Fan crossed his hands and buried his head in deep thought for a while and slowly said: "I think a lot of difficulties are directly related to the difficulty of our shooting process, in fact, the second we hope to achieve a 'high information density film', that is, more information is carried in each frame, and the difficulty will be superimposed in this process." Guo Fan cited the entertainment experience of his family's daily life as an example - the son of the "post-10s" has a much better ability to read audiovisual language than me, he can read many things at the same time and type at the same time, while his son's 96-year-old grandfather feels that the normal speed of the news anchor is very fast. Observations from life made Guo Fan realize that "everyone reads information at different rates", so "The Wandering Earth 2" was deliberately designed to adapt to the characteristics of young people's fast reading speed when it was created.

Some of the "high information density" designs in the movie have also been discovered and shared by many careful netizens on multiple social platforms, such as a netizen posted a screenshot of the video Liu Peiqiang's mobile phone on Weibo, in the picture next to the China Mobile signal icon appeared "7G", the netizen captioned: "Little Broken Ball 2 is detail control, identification completed!" During the release of "The Wandering Earth 2", there were many similar "microscope viewing" sharing, such as #Tuyaya's room wallpaper is a barcode# #Yaya's clothes on the pattern # and other related topics related to the interpretation of film details have successively appeared on Weibo, causing heated discussions among netizens.

High information density has begun to be prepared during the worldview construction stage of "The Wandering Earth 2". Guo Fan replied to reporters: Science fiction works have a characteristic, it does not fully show the current real world, and some of it belongs to the imaginary future world. Therefore, before writing the script, the team spent a long time to build the world view, the production team drew a total of 5310 concept designs, 9989 split-shot drawings for the film, and built 102 sci-fi main scenes, the setting area exceeded 900,000 square meters, and specially invited 20 scientific consultants of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to form an expert team to jointly write a world view of more than 100,000 words. "Although there is a scientific team of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to check it, even this does not guarantee that there will be no problems in the second part." Guo Fan said very sincerely. More than a month before the release of the film, some netizens pointed out on Weibo @Guo Fan that "there is a problem with the take-off of the aircraft" after watching the trailer, and Guo Fan quickly replied in the comment area: "Thank you for it, we will change it immediately."

"The Wandering Earth 2" also relies on advanced film and television production technology, and the important physical carriers of "high-density information" in the film, such as the space elevator connecting the earth and the universe, the planetary engine that drives the earth to leave, the lunar engine used to banish the moon, and the super quantum computer 550W have also been refined and high-quality presented in the film. In addition, "The Wandering Earth 2" also appeared a number of cool shapes and novel functions, such as "Andy Lau"'s mechanical pet dog "stupid" in the film, which can not only carry items but also become chairs; Door frame robots can be used as security gates, but also can be turned into tents, horizontal bars, and even used to dry clothes. For example, as of January 30, the crowdfunding amount around the officially authorized model of "The Wandering Earth 2" has exceeded 100 million, among which mechanical dog stupid assembly & finished model, MOSS assembly & finished model and other products have been sought after by many audiences.

"The Wandering Earth 2" is also in post-production, using deepfake (digital age-reduction technology) to let Wu Jing and Andy Lau "return to youth" in the two leading roles; and used AI technology to repair actor Li Xuejian's more ambiguous original voice caused by throat surgery; Also at Liu Peiqiang's wedding, he used CG technology to synthesize the late actor "Wu Mengda", who played his father-in-law in "The Wandering Earth", a heart-warming design that made many audiences bluntly moved.

"The Wandering Earth 2" is still a process of crossing the river by feeling the stones"

After the release of "The Wandering Earth 2", many netizens praised its improvement in visual effects, art and props and other aspects visible to the naked eye, and from some officially disclosed data, you can also see that "The Wandering Earth 2" is a comprehensive upgrade compared with the previous work, such as more than 6,000 special effects shots in the movie, more than three times that of the previous work (2003), of which 90% was completed by the Chinese production team, which once again triggered discussions in the industry about the development process of China's film industrialization.

After making "The Wandering Earth 2", Guo Fan also has a new understanding of this topic: "When it comes to industrialization, everyone's most intuitive feeling may be what kind of new technology and new equipment may be used, it seems that industrialization is related to large machine production, in fact, I think industrialization has a very important part is our concepts, concepts, our processes, management methods, it is soft, whether it can be matched to large-scale production, this may be a more important part." ”

Guo Fan continued to give an example of a "little thing" when the crew was filming: the crew of "The Wandering Earth 2" reached a maximum of 700-800 people, and during the lunch distribution process, there was a situation that "the camera is about to start in the afternoon, and half of the people are queuing without getting food", which directly led to half of the group actors being very uncooperative during the afternoon shooting, but the director did not know why they had emotions. It reflects from the side that there is no corresponding system in the crew management process to match the scale of the film, such as opening a few more window for meals, etc., which is the so-called lack of industrialization, which is often reflected in the management system, not the technical level.

During the filming of "The Wandering Earth 2", in order to summarize the shooting experience and sort out a film production process that suits China's national conditions, Guo Fan assigned more than 20 interns stationed in the "project cooperation" group with the Beijing Film Academy to various departments, and gave them only one task - recording errors. "There is a thick wad of paper after the finish!" Guo Fan gestured with his hand and continued: "I didn't expect to make so many mistakes! The interns then put it together and summarized it into two pieces of paper, "These two pieces of paper are important and remind us not to forget some of the mistakes we often make." Saying that, Guo Fan sighed with relief: "When we did "The Wandering Earth", we were from 0 to 1, and in the second part, we thought it was from 1 to 2, but the whole process will still face new problems, new problems still don't know how to solve, and as a result, it goes around again, or feels the stones to cross the river. ”

Although in Guo Fan's eyes, "The Wandering Earth 2" is still in the "mistake" stage, but since its release, the "progress" made by "The Wandering Earth 2" is also obvious to all, such as the film not only in the domestic eye-catching results, but also popular with overseas audiences, the current "The Wandering Earth 2" tomato website freshness of 80%, popcorn index as high as 97%, IMDb website score reached 8.0 points, and only 142 theaters in North America achieved a box office of 1.36 million US dollars, ranking among the top ten weekend in North America. At the same time, the high popularity of "The Wandering Earth 2" on multiple social platforms has also brought a lot of confidence to the film and television industry, which has been in the trough of winter for a long time.

The high quality of "The Wandering Earth 2" in both content and production has also triggered the industry's expectations and expectations for the "future development of domestic science fiction films". In Guo Fan's view: the development of domestic science fiction films needs a lot of soil, but "the strength of the country's comprehensive national strength is the most powerful endorsement of the development of science fiction films" - it is precisely because we can see some space-related things from the news every day, such as our astronauts out of the capsule, our jade rabbit landing on the moon and various news from the space station, etc., under this premise, when they appear in the movie, you will not feel that this matter is very strange, because we have the confidence and ability to complete it, so the endorsement of reality is very important.

Written by: Nannan Chen

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