Text | Ling Hu Boguang
Recently, this "The Wandering Earth 2" and other domestic movies have announced that the key has been extended, it is no wonder that they want to make money, it is really that none of the newly released movies can be hit, what "Black Panther 2", Valentine's Day romance film, and then to this soon-to-be-released "Ant-Man 3" reputation has also collapsed.
This can't even beat the newly released Hollywood blockbuster, not to mention the movie released at the same time.
The one to be mentioned here has not been released in China, but the reputation and quality are really bad, that is, the Korean sci-fi film "Jung-i", this film is invested by Netflix in the United States, "Trip to Busan" director Yeon Sang-ho directed, the starring cast is not a well-known actor in China.
It has been a month and a half since the film was launched on January 10, and Bo Guangjun also wrote a manuscript analysis when it first went online. Here again I write it from another angle. There are many Korean movie fans on the Chinese Internet, especially in recent years, Korean films have won awards at film festivals such as "Parasite" and "Distracted Determination", to "Squid Game" and other films that have become popular all over the world.
This has made many Chinese netizens admire Korean movies, even to the extent of superstition, and then separate the theme of science fiction. Not to mention the hard sci-fi epic blockbuster like "The Wandering Earth", South Korea has no future for the entire Korean sci-fi. Moreover, I assert that it has extended to Korean cinema as a whole.
Invest 20 billion, the score is only 5.3? The Korean version of "The Wandering Earth 2" is a mess
It's not a hard comparison here, the starting point of science fiction films China and South Korea is really together. As we all know, the door that opened the door to China's hard sci-fi blockbuster is "The Wandering Earth" in 2019, in fact, South Korea also released its first hard sci-fi blockbuster "Victory" half a year later.
Before the Korean director made "Snowpiercer", but strictly speaking, it is an American movie, and literary and sci-fi films like "Report on the Demise of Mankind" are still successful, but the industrial and sci-fi theme level does not have much meaning, I don't believe you see how many Korean sci-fi films have been influenced behind.
After that, Chinese science fiction films include "Shanghai Fortress", "Tomorrow's War" and "Walking on the Moon Alone", which are big in one vote. And South Korea has the sci-fi drama "Sea of Silence", and there is the sci-fi film "Alien + Man". In the 2023 Spring Festival file, China has the drama version of "The Three-Body Problem" and "The Wandering Earth 2", and South Korea has "Zhenyi".
The result is that 4 years have passed, and Korean science fiction films have failed in all aspects.
I won't go into detail about this "Zhenyi", because it's really bad. The sci-fi concept setting is like the stitched "Alita" + "Ghost in the Shell", but it tells a mother-daughter dog blood love story with cancer, the most important thing is that the sci-fi aesthetics and technical level (that is, special effects) are also very bad, and the action design is a dangling third-rate war film method.
There are really too many problems with this movie, firstly, there are many problems with the film itself, and secondly, the Korean shell cannot accommodate such a huge worldview structure. Chinese filming or American filming, or even Japanese filming, everyone can still understand it as a science fiction movie. But when South Korea goes to film to save the world, everyone can only treat the meme as a joke of reality.
Asia's first, the world's advanced? Why Korean movies can't make "science fiction films"
Korean films are indeed mature, but if you know the film industry, you know that they are early tailors Hong Kong films, Japanese films, and tailors American films over the years, and the entire Korean literary and art circle is flooded with tailors, they strive to feminize, dance enchanting dances, and after changing skins, uphold the values of the United States and the West, and cater to the curious appreciation of the United States and the West.
"Snowpiercer", "Parasite", "Trip to Busan", "Squid Game" and so on, are all sharp and torn versions of Western themes, through South Korea's own social reality that is more torn than the United States and the West, the contradictory social reality that the West does not dare to go deep into is shown to the audience in the United States and the West to appreciate curiously!
The success of "Snowpiercer" is because it is still a continuation of traditional American and Western society, it is the absolute protagonist of Westerners, and the story is also Western, but the executor is Korean.
And it is even more ridiculous to be a Korean as the protagonist hero, and it is difficult to say that it is a bit curious if it is an anti-hero.
Therefore, South Korean science fiction films can only be curious about the human performance under today's scientific and technological disasters under the routine of the United States and the West. But any future imagination, including any imagination in the near future, has become ridiculous entertainment, such as "Peninsula Crisis" and "Iron Rain 2" and other modern world pattern fantasies are ridiculous!
By the way, Korean movies have to say that there are crazy Japanese movies, and this sci-fi film is of course no exception.
For example, the setting of "Zhenyi" directly copies "Alita" (the original Japanese manga "Dream of Song"), and then copies the famous Japanese sci-fi "Ghost in the Shell". "Victory" copied "Starry Sky Cleaner", "Dream of Ring", "COWBOY BEBOP", "Mobile Suit Gundam: Char of the Counterattack" and so on.
Japanese films are an object that can be studied, and Japan, with its industrial power that once surpassed the United States, can make film and television works that imagine the future of the world, and even part of the definition rights, but it is only limited to comics, anime and the like that exceed words, but it cannot catch up with the scope of live-action movies.
And what can really break through a little can only be limited to tokusatsu films such as "Godzilla" and "Ultraman", or Japan's own "Japan Sinks", which has a certain influence in the world in the field of anime, but once a real hard sci-fi live-action movie is made, it will not work.
Therefore, the hard sci-fi industrial blockbusters that really jump out of the definition of the future in the United States and the West, it seems that there is really only China's "The Wandering Earth" series, and so far, all that remains are some accumulated Russian sci-fi films, as well as Indian sci-fi films that may rise in the future.
The same are hard sci-fi blockbusters, and when you compare Chinese movies with Korean movies, the gap comes out
The upper limit of the country determines the upper limit of all walks of life, and the science fiction world as a national strength embodiment, South Korea cannot enter, it cannot enter now, and it will not enter in the future.
The basic science fiction movie is the law of science + industrial development, science is in the front fiction behind, there is basic scientific logic to have fantasy space, the standard framework must exist laws, there is a strong industrial capacity to produce qualified science fiction, there is a strong national strength and economic foundation to make the audience believe, all this can be called qualified science fiction!
To put it bluntly, if a sci-fi film does not fit the core of a sci-fi world, then what is the difference with a modern film? Even if the genre of the subject matter is close, its core idea is different because of the technique, which makes the audience feel fresh. Let's put it this way, "Avatar" is also a tacky bad film in a sense, why are both successful?
Because the director team created a fairly real planet Pandora, although everyone knows at a glance that it is an Indian in a shell, a fantasy version of the earth's ecology, but the sci-fi worldview has been shaped, so there is a distinction.
Audiences around the world are also willing to believe that "Avatar 2" is the first Chinese audience to believe it.
Any fantasy film must have a clear core idea and expand around this idea. And science fiction films are particularly strict in this regard, because science fiction shows an "illusory world", how to make an unreal world more convincing?
To be honest, Korean movies are not very suitable for shooting some themes, especially fantasy and science fiction, which really need a certain amount of hard power and historical and cultural accumulation to support. The former costume blockbusters and fantasy really can't bypass ancient China, and the latter can't bypass the United States, which is a bit embarrassing.
Therefore, Korean films are still good at realistic themes, gangster films, crime movies, action movies, including horror films under the complex relationship between the country, chaebols, religion and the people. If you extend to the highest pattern is political thrillers, and then to "Iron Rain" and other north-south political action films, this pattern will not be good as long as it is higher.
It's not surprising that Korean sci-fi films have smashed up, even the norm, and as far as I know, none of them have passed comprehensively. In recent years, due to Netflix's large investment in South Korea and matchmaking, the special effects level of its sci-fi movies has risen rapidly, using the Hollywood visual effects industry assembly line.
Korean science fiction pattern, setting and script can really be described as a sight of death, science fiction concept setting copied from the United States and Japan, the film pattern is too small, the actors' performances are too rough, the production of kimono is all tailors for American and Japanese science fiction films, there is no own thing at all, a little better than Hong Kong science fiction films in the special effects are presentable.
Korean directors also often ambitiously leave foreshadowing and Easter eggs for sequels at the end of the film - "Jung-yi" is typical, not a complete story, but like a precursor to a series, empty ambition.
South Korea's soil can not cultivate the seeds of science fiction at all, realistic factors make the Korean people have the opportunity to give them fantasy, and Korean literature has not produced science fiction works that affect home and abroad, even if they make science fiction films, they are also going to make money, which is really interested in science fiction films.
Look at "The Wandering Earth", director Guo Fan really loves sci-fi films, and even carefully examines the sci-fi settings of the film, such as "whether the planetary engine can promote the transfer of the earth" and "whether the nuclear bomb can destroy the moon" and so on.
These are all asked by technical experts of the Chinese Academy of Sciences for in-depth understanding, in other words, other directors feel that this is a movie and not real, casually set a reason just to promote the plot perfunctory past, so Guo Fan's success is well received by the audience is not unreasonable.
Not only sci-fi films, there is really not much time left for Korean movies
In 2022, Gu Tianle's sci-fi film "Tomorrow's War", like Korean sci-fi films, will also lose without a grand pattern core, empty with the appearance of American sci-fi film skin, the core is still a small police and bandit film. Korean movies, like Hong Kong movies, want to make a sci-fi theme.
Hong Kong is certainly suitable for cyberpunk, and South Korea may be suitable but needs to be explored and established, even if it is a sci-fi film aesthetic.
Finally, South Korea and India are said to be big countries in film and television dramas, but in fact, almost all of non-English films with a box office of more than $300 million in the world are Chinese films. India, South Korea do not have one, India, if South Korea does not care about the big market of China, how can there be films that affect the world, how can there be a future film industry.
You have to make money making movies! Just like Hollywood, the US domestic box office accounts for half of the global box office of American movies! Only when there is money can it continue to industrialize.
In recent years, Korean films have relied on American investment and platforms to have the basis for shooting sci-fi blockbusters. But movies are born in secular society and life, and the story and plot are only the refraction and interpretation of reality, and if they are too far away from real life, they will be considered fantasy.
This is not just science fiction, Korean movies have ostensibly killed the world in recent years. But the big directors of literary films and genre films are still the older generation such as Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho in the 60s since 2000, there are very few young directors after 8090, and the backbone of the post-70s generation is all making commercial entertainment blockbusters.
In recent years, in addition to a few successful Korean films at foreign film festivals (Park Chan-wook and other older generations), the backbone is all "Busan Travel 2", "Iron Rain 2", "Peninsula Crisis", "Witch 2", "Mutual Help 2", "Yasha", "Hunting" and so on. The entertainment effect of these films is good, but the breakthrough in genre style is not enough.
On the contrary, although Chinese films still have restrictions on censorship, the speed of young directors emerging far exceeds that of South Korea, such as the 2023 Spring Festival file, the works of the older generation of directors are sluggish, and the new generation of directors in addition to the masterpiece "The Wandering Earth 2", although other films have problems but have obvious breakthroughs compared to before.
With the liberalization, if each schedule can break out like the Spring Festival file, there are not many good days left for Korean movies.