Xmas movie wrap-up

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, December 23, 2009
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The time slot between November and February has long been a golden time to release films in China. The season is studded with festivals and holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Chinese Spring Festival and Valentine's Day.

This year about 30 films are scheduled to screen in the season, half of which first screened in late November.

As in previous years, the season is dominated by blockbusters, such as Zhang Yimou's "A Simple Noodle Story," which has raked in 200 million yuan (US$29 million) in two weeks, although the film was not highly praised by critics.

Teddy Chan's "Bodyguards and Assassins," costing 150 million yuan (US$21.9 million) and featuring more than 10 stars, took 74 million yuan (US$10.8 million) on its first weekend.

Domestic films screened during the season still lack variety. Costume dramas and kungfu films are still the most popular genres, comprising at least eight movies. In addition, most of them lack a solid storyline, but instead feature a stellar cast or a famous director.

Things get better in January and February, when viewers can pick from science fiction, romantic comedies and a detective story.

China's film market has been booming. The annual box office gross has increased over 20 percent each year over the past five years and reached 4.3 billion yuan (US$629 million) last year.



This live-action film about a young woman disguised as a man and going to the battle-front takes a cue from the Disney animation of the same name: It fleshes out plot and character details from the original poem, which focuses only on Mulan in her home village and leaves the middle section blank. However, it does not linger on the gender trickery, which could be a rich source of comedy. That completely removes the potential of casting the story in a homoerotic light.

Only one day passes after Mulan enlists in the army and the man in her life find out her true identity. The plot revolves around the duo's attitudes toward war. The film is careful not to depict Mulan and her paramour as bloodthirsty warmongers. Their decision to fight is based on defending their homeland and preventing more bloodshed. On top of that, the movie adds nuances to the enemy camp, making sure it also includes peace-loving elements.

The film has enough battle scenes to qualify as an epic, and enough twists and turns to make it unpredictable till the end.

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