3 Body Problem Review

3 body problem
3 body problem
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Netflix’s latest foray into science fiction genre, 3 Body Problem, is already being called a masterpiece. With its source of inspiration being the Hugo Award-winning trilogy by Liu Cixin, it has inspired a 30-part television series in China which was stopped from airing as well as shelved movie versions. Former American President Barack Obama endorsed this Chinese trilogy with The Three Body Problem and its following two books being printed with quotes on their covers from him. However, the Netflix adaptation is a wider audience target for these fascinating hard scrabble sci-fi tales now set mostly in London starring an international cast. It comes to us from showrunners David Benioff and D.B.Weiss – their first major project since Game of Thrones ended. Alongside them are Alexander Woo (The Terror,True Blood) as co-showrunner, and other producers including Rian Johnson, Brad Pitt, Rosamund Pike among others.So you better fasten your seatbelts because that means this is going to be the next great TV show we should all be watching?

So what do you think?What really works for? And why did Obama himself call these books “impressive”?Being weird is what makes it tick; from struggle sessions in the Maoist era to present time with several prominent locations dropped throughout the story line as it goes along while at same time throwing some red herrings here and there. In essence though,it depends on whether or not its consumers can grasp part of concepts such as higher dimensional geometry,society in which people do not have any concept of lying done through mental connections,and physics phenomena that baffle scientists like those seen in 3 Bodies Problems et cetera.I mean it gets convoluted but they still try to make sense out of it.Thus,I could not even tell whom there were talking about since this show does not have principal actors.

However,for simplicity’s sake let’s assume Shi, Benedict Wong’s detective of “I’ve got the weight of the world, nay, the solar system on my shoulders” is it.(In fact his real name is not mentioned in conversation –I think it is something like Clarence? – but he goes by Da meaning Big Man.) He is a Chinese Londoner and therefore the most relatable character – an exhausted and bewildered man who meets each startling new story point with a wry smile. After some leading scientists go insane and kill themselves, he starts investigating. At first glance, this guy looks like your everyday cop but turns out that he serves an even higher level secret organization.

At one stage when a famous physics genius commits suicide near a particle accelerator her several previous students are brought together through their common connection to the cause of the massive brainiac death. That’s where Benioff, Weiss, and Woo prove how smart they are. These characters come from both book one and three (and in a second for readers of later seasons) in addition to various roll call swaps in-between genders or nationalities.The plot also splices all over the trilogy itself thus making 3 Body Problem its own separate entity as well.

Among others in the crew is Eiza Gonzáles playing Auggie, inventor of a nanofiber thinner than a human hair but stronger enough to later prompt; “Holy crap!” Jess Hong took on the character Jin, who is theoretical physicist that creatively recycles old nuclear weapons. John Bradley as Jack’s buddy is a nice bloke in the Nick Frost mould who heeds fortune from junk food. Supporting cast includes Jonathan Pryce and Liam Cunningham (both GoT alums as Bradley), Jovan Adepo, Alex Sharp, and Rosalind Chao in role quite opposite of Deep Space Nine’s warm Keiko O’Brien.

The trouble starts when Auggie sees a countdown in her eyes. Imagine just numbers everywhere you look no matter how much Visine you use. That would be stressful! Then, everything gets even stranger when exactly at an appointed time all stars begin blinking together. Given that millions saw it happen, many don’t believe it actually occurred (This is exactly what would happen). Afterward, Jin and Jack start playing some super-advanced virtual reality game. The two get addicted soon after they figure out that like last year’s Gran Turismo movie (and The Last Starfighter before it) this is just another recruiting tool.

However only detriments within the game – and sadly there are several – are the definite low points of this production. Liu uses them as crutches to delve into enormous theories such as how a human computer would work or what having three suns orbiting an inhabited planet would look like in his books. It would be quite bad due to its unstable path (see: the three-body problem), but one big twist comes when VR sleuths discover (as do their watchers) that they’re not trying to solve an equation – they’re being sniffed out for potential allies by aliens preparing an invasion. In fact, these technologically advanced beings within the game have grown tired of their species’ cycle of extinction events, they are on their way into town and guess what? They don’t need a roommate.

Unfortunately, some of the gravity (ha!) goes missing because making this (and a few other instances of hard sci-fi) look good on television would require the budgets of several nations. Not that it’s laughable or anything – just dial back your expectations. Moreover, there’s an NPC little girl who is theatrically significant but still annoying as hell. What I love about the whole series though is how it just goes for it. However, some resistance viewers might prefer taking things a bit slower to which I say, “hey when aliens have landed halfway to the Oort Cloud with concrete evidence that they are going to stomp us like bugs, society might pick up”.

The second half of this first season concentrates on Cunningham’s character, Thomas Wade, who leads a group with an unlimited budget and completely no scruples, only to preserve humanity somehow. I think Benioff and Weiss will have some opposition based on their previous experiences post Game of thrones and the series that never was called Confederate. With “3 Body Problem,” there is almost nothing else to debate about except for one major exception – Thomas Wade’s um… unorthodox approach towards his goals. Besides calling someone “the R-word” at a climactic moment guaranteed to be looped as a GIF until our society collapses.

This series however moves in broad strokes but has a few grace notes. A few scenes where Shimooka plays the role of representative set off some fascination in me. Her somber voice is also the scariest thing I have ever heard since 2001: A Space Odyssey by Douglas Rain’s HAL 9000. We also got a couple of nods back into Oppenheimer itself which was neat touch especially considering that it referred to one of my favorite unsolved mysteries like the Wow! signal.


However, 3 Body Problem reimagines Cixin Liu’s trilogy for wider audiences quite successfully even though certain viewers may find its far-out sci-fi and space-time skipping annoying. Though, there are sections that work better than others – such as the video game side story being super cringe-worthy– while most performances and one shocking scene contribute to more-than-worthwhile adaptation of beloved franchise.

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