Last February, the Korean movie Space Sweepers was released. These days, not only people’s daily life, but also the movie industry goes through tough times because of COVID-19. It remains that Space Sweepers was a box office hit with movie goers. Space Sweepers is the work of director Jo Sung-hee, who created masterpieces such as A Werewolf Boy and Phantom Detective. Talented actors such as Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Yoo Hae-jin and Jin Sun-kyu appear in this movie. Space Sweepers was released on Netflix, not in theaters. The film topped Netflix’ lineup with audiences in 190 countries around the world. Unlike other science fiction films, what features stimulated people's interest in this movie? After watching Space Sweepers, let's look at the overall movie story and interesting elements.
Space Sweepers is Korea's first SF and space-based movie. In 2092, the Earth was devastated and a space development company created ’UTS’ a new home in satellite orbit for humanity. A new job has also been created to pick up trash that fills the universe. Taeho, Captain Jang, Tiger Park, and Robot Up-dong are members of the Space Sweepers team in charge of picking up trash from space. One day, they discover a human-type robot called ‘Dorothy’, a weapon of mass destruction, and proceed with a deal to trade for a large sum of money. The movie Space Sweepers deals with serious social problems such as desertification of the Earth and the hierarchical society. This movie depicts a world in which hierarchies are thoroughly dismantled against the backdrop of a vertical space connecting the universe and the Earth. The environment of the Earth in this movie was completely destroyed. People who have precarious living conditions wear thick breathing devices and live on Earth, and those who have enough money live on space bases. But there is also a hierarchy in the space base. There is a precise distinction between citizens and non-citizens. There are people who cannot even get in between, and they are the main characters, the space cleaners. There were interesting scenes in the movie, especially, the scene where a member of the Space Sweepers playing flower cards. Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri), Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki), Tiger Park (Jin Sun-kyu), and Robot Up-dong (Yoo Hae-jin) mixed the cards and played a flower card game. In addition, Korean elements were added, such as a cool curse at someone who absconded with money. Director Jo Sung-hee said: "It was originally a card game, but I changed the setting to flower cards a few weeks before the shooting," adding that he thought of flower cards as a fresh material. Flower cards are representative of oriental culture, and we think it was more popular because it gave a fresh shock to overseas visitors by playing flower cards into the movie.
There is one miss about the perfect movie, and it is not a miss of the movie itself. If we had seen this movie in theaters, instead of on Netflix, we could have enjoyed it more. It was regrettable that it could not be seen on a wide screen and sound quality speakers to do justice to the characteristics of the genre. Also, we want to return to the world without masks as soon as possible and enjoy cultural life. Despite the bad situation, Space Sweepers caught people's attention because it was based on the unexpected development of contents and space technology that is in the spotlight around the world. The actors’ performance also caught the eye. Although they are actors who are recognized for their excellent acting skills in each of their work, people once again admire them in Space Sweepers. Song Joong-ki acted as a charismatic pilot and a father with a daughter named ‘Kkotnim’ without awkwardness. The actor's actual age and face do not match the father's role, though. However, he acted the role of father well because of his excellent acting skills. But Kim Tae-ri was a little disappointing. Unlike her roles in other films, she played a strong captain in Space Sweepers. Although she is the youngest among the members of the Space Sweepers, she had an unexpected charm in that she played the role of the captain well while keeping her balance with his realistic personality. It was impressive to see her in a role so different from the roles she always played. During the entire movie, the center of attention was not focused on Kim Tae-ri, so there was no big impact. Another actress, Park Ye-rin, played the role of Kkotnim, acting in a very short supporting role. However, the impact was strong. The cuteness of the child actor and the strong role of a daughter caught people's attention.
The movie Space Sweepers changed the idea that SF movies are difficult and unrealistic. It is no exaggeration to say that the flawless computer graphics, rich in contents, elements that express Korea, and talented actors were successful from the beginning. With the success of Space Sweepers, those who had prejudices against the genre or worried about the first start of Korea will feel fresh. As a result, Korea has taken a successful first step in the space film industry, and it is expected that there will be endless movies in the future.