Apr. 24 (NBD) -- A 3D drama based on the first Hugo Award winning work in Asia The Three-Body Problem premiered in Shanghai Culture Square last week with tickets selling for 80-880 yuan. 

The drama is the second adaption work based on the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy written by Liu Cixin. Chinese readers generally refer to the series by the title of its first novel, The Three Body Problem

In the trilogy, Liu weaved a complicated web of physics, philosophy, and history that take people from China's Cultural Revolution in the mid-20th century to the end of the solar system and beyond. The epic science fiction is on the lists of favorite reads of Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg.

Imagine what a terrific journey viewers will experience with 3D glasses on, if the grandeur of this trilogy can be visualized. The drama produced by Lotus Lee Future Theater, specializing in bringing new technology to the theatre, is aimed to put the audiences "personally" on the scene. 

A fan of Remembrance of Earth's Past named Zhongcun expressed his excitement, "It is a great challenge to present the complicated story through drama. Films can use flashbacks or different lengths of shots to tell the story, while it is VERY, VERY, VERY hard for dramas. They did it! I was deeply impressed by The Three-Body Problem 2."

However, despite of more human resource and capital input than the previous one, the second drama is not universally acclaimed. Audiences complained about unstable 3D glasses, too frequent film transition, and incompact plots.

According to the studio, the total cost has increased by 30 percent but scored a mere 6.1 points on Douban, a review-aggregation website for film, television, books, dramas and etc in China, like Rotten Tomatoes.

"It is really bad. Actors forgot their lines. Plots lack coherence. And I have to reconnect my 3D glasses to the Internet every 10 seconds. Is this what I paid 880 yuan for?" commented another user on Douban.

In 2014, Lotus Lee, the founder of this theater, began the communication to purchase the copyright of the trilogy with the writer Liu. At the time, the glory of the Hugo Awards has not shined on Liu's life so the competition for the copyright was not intense like now.

To create better visual effect, Lotus Lee invited excellent and experienced overseas creators to fulfill the second drama.

The director of The Three Body Problem 2 is Phillippe Decoufle, a French writer and director for stage play. Kem Barrett, who has designed clothing for Hollywood movies including The Matrix and Aquaman, is responsible for theater costume, and an Academy Award nominated Polish team took charge of the 3D visual effect.

In addition to an international creative team, the theater also adopted new media technology in the creation of The Three-Body Problem 2, including fog screen projection, peripheral projected illusions, 3D live theatre and etc. 

But complex character relationship interweaves with abstract terms in this ambitious work make the adaptation tremendously difficult to the creative team, hence unsatisfying feedbacks from the audiences.

The author of the novel had a different point of view. "I think the most important thing is that the grandeur of Sci-Fi can be presented via drama," said Liu Cixin.

While a cinematic adaptation of The Three-Body Problem has been shelved for an indefinite period, Lee succeeded in putting two dramas adapted from the novels onto the theater stages.

On June 1, 2016, Lotus Lee Future Theater completed the premiere of the first drama in Shanghai and also finished the second round of tours one year later. This drama has taken more than 100 million yuan (almost US$ 150 million) in box office since its debut.


Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Yu Peiying