YOLANDA NOSAKHARE WRITES — Imagine your favorite “Star Wars” film mating with the “Wizard of Oz” in the year 2092- quite an interesting concept, right? Director Jo Sung-Hee seamlessly accomplishes this with his new sci-fi-thriller “Space Sweepers.” While the Korean film came out February 5th of this year, it is easily on its way to becoming one of the best, most expertly crafted international films of this year and is the first Korean space blockbuster!
The story is set in a dystopian future in which the effects of climate change have caught up with the Earth, leading to its collapse. This environmental meltdown forces inhabitants to look towards other planets to colonize, and to consider migrating to space. And so, the characters live in a simulated Earth on Mars known as the “UTS Residential District,” their new home in the sky.
The plot follows a group of Space-sweepers who make money by collecting dead satellites and ship debris. During one of their space runs, the crew finds what they believe to be a humanoid 7-year-old girl who is actually a bomb in disguise. Her real name is Kot-nim, but the space crew dubs her “Dorothy,” (like Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’), because she’s a long way from her original hometown version of Kansas.
Two aspects of Sung-Hee’s film are outstanding: Its expert use of CGI, which makes it easy to forget that what you are watching the characters do is realistically impossible; and Sung-Hee’s efforts at showing diversity in casting by showcasing actors from all parts of the globe. For example, the Korean space-sweepers can be seen having exchanges with the likes of Germans, African-Americans and the French. The film is multinational, multiracial, and multicultural. It could be said that the film’s cultural diversity is truly representative of how the world might look in 2092-the year in which Space-Sweepers is set.
The movie sweeps through 2 hours and 15 minutes, but every second is deeply engrossing.
With this first Korean space blockbuster, others like Sung-Hee may well be inspired to aim for a spot in this new, nearly heavenly, cinematic constellation.