First, China only releases a total of 20 (now supposedly the number has gone up to 34) foreign films a year. That is 20 foreign films total from all over the world and not just Hollywood films. Hollywood has lots of issues here in doing business with the China business system and I may or not explore that later. It seems a little boring really but of course issues like that influence what films I am going to be able to se, and what condition (as in editing) they will be in when I do. Second, lots of foreign films here are dubbed in Chinese. I went to the theater closer to my apartment here and they only had Chinese dubbed versions of Jurassic Park. We had to go to the larger Cineplex place downtown to get an English version of the film. I don’t want to see an American film dubbed into Chinese and there are issues with the dubbing here I may explore later in another post. In any case, I don’t want to see anything like that. Third, and last for now, is while most of my movie going experiences here (all six or so) have not been too bad, Chinese people are infamously noisy in theaters. Cell phones go off and people chatter, though they try to whisper. But Chinese people often whisper louder than most western people talk. So it can be frustrating. But I can’t say it has been too bad.
Today my wife and I went and saw the 3D release of Jurassic Park film (which I am sure I have seen about ten times already but had to see this version if I could) and we had a good time. The audience was okay but a little chatty towards the end. Hardly anybody in China speaks English and so they may be getting bored, but younger college type people prefer seeing foreign films in their original languages. We went to the big IMAX theater but selected the smaller and cheaper non-IMAX version. The cheap version was ten US dollars and the IMAX was over twice that. I am not a huge IMAX nut anyway. My only complaint was that a few scenes were edited. Like the lamb leg falling on the jeep window, and the blood sucking lawyer getting eaten and Samuel L. Jackson’s chewed off arm falling on Laura Dern’s shoulder. That kinda’ pissed me off, as if Chinese films never have any violence in them. The lamb leg is classic Spielberg shock. But the movie looked nice and the crowd behaved well. One thing about seeing movies here is that you have to buy a ticket with a seat number. You know, like when I used to go to concerts back in the day and you get a seat and have to sit there. The same here with movies. And while the theater is less than half full nobody will sit any place other than their assigned seat number. Ludicrous. Once at another film I told my wife I wanted to move because the girl behind me was tapping her foot on the back of my chair. There where tons of empty seats and better than ours, but there was no way she was moving. I finally had to try to tell the girl in my less than delicate Chinese to “STOP!!!” To which I could hear her asking her boyfriend, “Stop? Stop shen me yi si?” (What does stop mean?) Anyway, that was only time that ever happened. I was going to try and het some pictures of the snack area but spaced out. Just weird to see the snack section filled up with stuff like dried squid, seaweed crackers and preserved duck eggs. After the movie I had an ice cream from McDonalds then we went to a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant and had some veggie food there and took a taxi back home after a long walk. Lot of talk here about more movies and such, but I will have to wait and see what happens. Selections are mostly blockbusters and money makers and still pretty controlled in terms of where and for how long they will play. Including a few pictures here of today’s adventure.
NOTE: This post really took off in an amazing way. In the short time it has been up it has gotten almost 2000 visits. It is a little bit of a record here. Of course as is typical there is not one friggin' comment but I gave up on all of that long ago. I should say no printable comments since a couple freaks had some odd things to say that I won't even go into. Such comments are never published and the sender is marked as spam. But that aside, thanks for all the visits and I will explore this topic more, since watching movies and TV shows is not the same in China and if you are not resourceful you simply will have to learn to do without many of the rarities I post about here and at Necrotic Cinema. (Bill 20 Sept 2013)