Chinese movies cover similar ground

By Yang Xi
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, February 25, 2011
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Chinese movie fans have grown accustomed to seeing films of similar style that present different versions of the same story—and that will be intensified in 2011.

According to the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, several Chinese films with the same subjects have gained their permits. That means audiences can "look forward" to three versions of Guan Yu [a well-known general living in the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220 AD)], four versions of Monkey King (the protagonist in the classical Chinese epic novel Journey to the West) and three versions of Mu Guiying [a famous female general in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) ]. The repetition may end up boring audiences.

In addition, HBstars plans to make the movie Taiji, to be produced by Kuo-fu Chen and Jet Li; however, Stephen Chow has also been planning his own version for two years, but it has been delayed because while producers search for an improved script.

HBstars said it will invest at least 100 million yuan ($15.2 million) in its version to compete with Chow's. The script has been finished and the shooting will start in the first half of the year.

Chow is currently busy making Chinese Odyssey Part Two: Cinderella, which is loosely based on the classical novel Journey to the West. Chow says the different versions will compete to see which is best.

"There will be winners and losers…but the winners are in the minority," Chow said.

A lot of money has been surging into the Chinese movie market as the country's film industry expands, but that money hasn't led to diversity among film topics.

"Movie makers believe that a successful film is only attributed to a good subject, so they just make similar movies," said Ge Ying, a professor from Shanghai University.

Some have been more critical of this trend. Film reviewer Lang Nuolin says it indicates that movie makers have a narrow vision and lack creativity.

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