Saturday, January 9, 2010

James Cameron is China's Eywa

I saw Avatar a few days ago at a Cleveland 3-D theater and must admit to really liking it. The highest superlatives don't do justice to the beauty of the visuals -- which, it must be duly noted, cover up the paper-thin storyline, the much-too-obvious Native American vs. Colonialism/Blackwater allegory, and unpaid homages to Dances with Wolves, The Last of the Mohicans and Lawrence of Arabia -- and I was exceedingly touched by a few of the scenes.

That said, I don't think I'd ever have waited in line all night to buy a ticket for a showing three days later. From Wall Street Journal:

In Shanghai, to get an IMAX ticket for Avatar can mean waiting in freezing weather all night for a show three days later. Shanghai local media reported that on Friday, around 500 people were queuing for tickets at 8 a.m. in front of the downtown Peace Cinema, including some who had waited for 12 hours. Movie fans came equipped with quilts, wooden stools and snacks, in a scene reminiscent of that at train-station ticket windows before the Lunar New Year holidays in China, when huge numbers of Chinese travel to be with family.

A friend of mine at China Daily also wrote about Avatar a few days back, in a front-page story no less.

The WSJ article also says:

As the year’s first foreign movie in China, the sci-fi film has grabbed the imagination of tens of millions of Chinese. China Film Group Corp. Estimates are that the total box office take may ultimately top 500 million yuan. So far, the Hollywood disaster film 2012 has fetched the most at the box office in China’s history at 460 million yuan.

Not sure if the writer was punning on "disaster film," or smirking at least. I thought 2012 was pretty good considering its genre.

POSTSCRIPT: I also saw The Road, which is, of course, based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by my favorite author, Cormac McCarthy. There's less-than-zero chance that film will ever make it into Chinese theaters, but if you see it at a DVD store, consider buying it. (Please keep in mind I'm hopelessly biased towards all things McCarthy.)

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