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ALEXANDRA DuPONT Takes A Belated Look At The CROUCHING TIGER DVD!!

I am – Hercules!!

She’s taller than Ang Lee, cute as Zhang Ziyi, a three-time polo champion and the finest purveyor of Scandinavian cuisine in the Western World.

After a two-week layoff, Alexandra DuPont returns to her Sunday night DVD reviews with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” a film far far far more deserving than “Gladiator” of any best picture award. Or am I crazy?

Thanks as always to The DVD Journal for the regular loan of these reviews. Here now the Mighty Alex’s take on the highest-grossing foreign-language movie in U.S. history:


Review by Alexandra DuPont                    


"In the past, some of the period films that I've done — like Tai Chi Master or Wing Chun — the focus was more on the action, rather than all these stories, the emotional side, the self-sacrificing — you know, all those very in-depth feelings that are so apparent in these kinds of myths. But here in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang has brought out the very lyrical, the very romantic, and at the same time the very powerful martial arts that it needs to have."

— Michelle Yeoh

"Daoist philosophy was both the greatest enemy for this story and the greatest nourishment for it, too."

— James Schamus, CTHD co-executive producer
and co-screenwriter

"Crouching Tiger is almost the first chick-flick action film — actually Deep Impact was, but that's another story.... The action invariably stops so that the girl characters can 'examine their feelings.' None of the fight scenes is resolved — girls so like to go on to fight about the same thing another day. The only male dies. With all its sharing of feelings and irresolution, it's the first psychobabble action film."

— My little brother Maximillian


*          *          *


I. Introduction

[tiger!]What I love about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is that all three of the above introductory quotes (even Max's gender-insensitive rant) can be argued with varying degrees of passion. The movie transcends its wire-fu epic conventions and emerges as a faceted thing — chop-socky you can pick apart over lattes.

To be sure, CTHD has been endlessly praised (and showered with Oscars) for its beauty, its lyricism, and its general tragi-romantic vibe. It's been called everything from "Titanic for smart people" to "Sense and Sensibility with martial arts," such is the ache and thrill it produces. But for me, the lyricism of director Ang Lee's achievement really becomes impressive when you consider the sheer amount of tension he's so prettily exploring.

Underneath all its formal beauty, Crouching Tiger is at war with itself on nearly every level. The characters all have differing agendas, and when they're not fighting each other, they're fighting the stifling mores of the film's fantasy Ching Dynasty. Duty conflicts with love — and when it doesn't, vengeance conflicts with love. The fast-and-furious action (which, as Max points out, seldom brings closure) is in conflict with the lush surroundings. The Daoist grace of the heroic Wudan warriors is in conflict with the Giang Hu "kill or be killed" philosophy of the villains — which perhaps mirrors the East/West tension that informs CTHD's dramatic structure and even its musical score (which after all features the Eastern instrumentation of Tan Dun interwoven with the classically trained cello of Yo-Yo Ma).

But that's all navel-gazing fodder. What really counts here is that the all this tension serves to deliver an utterly unique visceral kick. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is that rarest of turn-ons: a mythological romance that also puts substantial amounts of foot to ass — all without insulting your intelligence.

(By the way, if you don't want to read yet another gushing review, do please skip ahead to the section devoted to the extras. I have a few unkind things to say there.)

II. What's the story?

Well, it's complicated. Ang Lee (Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Eat Drink Man Woman) — working with a team of Eastern and Western screenwriters — has compressed the latter sections of Wang Du Lu's five-part novel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon into two densely plotted hours. The result is something of a structural oddity — e.g., the movie plops a 20-minute flashback right in the middle of a dramatic lovers' reunion — so perhaps the best way to approach the story is to describe its five principal characters:

  1. Yi Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh, never better) is the closest thing the Ching Dynasty has to a liberated woman — she's a duty-bound warrior of supernatural skill who can skip lightly from rooftop to rooftop (thanks to the digitally removed efforts of Yuen Wo Ping's wire stunt team). Although honor and hesitation keep her from doing much about it, Lien is in love with ....

  2. ... Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat, in his first martial-arts role and oozing gravitas) — a flying Wudan swordsman who seems like he's just about to declare his love for Lien, except that he's continually distracted by (a) the need to avenge his former master's death and (b) the desire to make a disciple out of the thief who stole his magic sword, that thief being ...

  3. ... Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi), the film's fulcrum character — a governor's daughter rocketing toward an arranged marriage. Jen is something of a talented flake: She was secretly trained in the Wudan way and can fly around like Li Mu Bai and Yi Shu Lien, but for the moment she uses these skills to steal magic swords for kicks and lay waste to countryside taverns.

    (Parenthetically: I love that Jen — though clearly a protagonist — is also quite a narcissistic twit, destroying the lives of her more conventional mentors in the name of "personal freedom." [She's Kate Winslet to Michelle Yeoh's Emma Thomspon, if you will.] Had this movie been made in Hollywood, I suspect she'd have been a far more sympathetic — and uninteresting — heroine surrounded by stuffed-shirt adults. But in the Confucianist East, even in the movies, adults are regarded with a bit more nuance and respect.)

    Anyhoo. Complicating Jen's impending nuptials is ...

  4. ... Lo (Chang Chen), the desert bandit Jen fell in love with after he raided her entourage. Lo wants Jen to come back to the desert and live with him — but to possess her, he has to compete with Li Mu Bai's desire to instruct her and the more sinister intentions of ...

  5. ... Jade Fox (Pei-pei Cheng) — the illiterate master criminal who trained Jen and killed Li Mu Bai's master. Ms. Fox resents the Wudan for not training women, and resents Jen for surpassing her. There are at least a couple of people she'd like to kill.


As these five interact in increasingly tragic circumstances, swords are stolen, loyalties are shaken, lives are taken, and hearts are broken. As you can see, it all gets a bit thick — which is very much in keeping with the heavily plotted Wuxia epics Ang Lee is honoring with this movie.

III. However

Unlike many (if not most) Wuxia flicks, CTHD indulges its characters and themes to a surpassing degree — the degree one finds in, say, Ang Lee movies. In keeping with Lee's pet themes, all the above mayhem stems from one form or another of repression, impetuousness and class resentment. And when characters do battle, the beautifully staged mayhem is informed by two things not commonly found in kung-fu fight scenes: thematic subtext and high-caliber acting. This is most notably true in the case of a stunning battle between Lien and Jen in a training gym — with the seasoned warrior pulling out weapon after weapon in an effort to reclaim the magic sword for her unrequited love. (Yes, the sword-as-phallic-symbol imagery runs rampant here; Ang Lee actually has a pretty good laugh about that on the DVD's commentary track.)

IV. That said

A brainy kung-fu flick is still a kung-fu flick — so it doesn't hurt that the mayhem is choreographed by the legendary Yuen Wo Ping, an accomplished director in his own right. It's rumored that Wo Ping and Ang had conflicting on-set philosophies, but their creative synthesis leads to some of the most queerly elegant wire-fu ever — climaxing in a dreamlike fight in (or, should I say, atop) a bamboo forest, with lazy, counterprogrammatic music to match.

V. So how about those extras already?

The movie alone makes this disc worth owning, of course, but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I'm more than a little disappointed by the extras on the Crouching Tiger DVD — to the degree that I'll confidently wager a two-disc deluxe edition is already already in the long-range planning stage. (One telling clue fueling my suspicion is the fact that this DVD's packaging isn't festooned with any sort of "Special Edition" or "Collector's Edition" label.) Anyway, nearly every supplement here is either a tightly scripted piece of advertorial or deeply annoying on some implacable level.

Let's start with the most grievous offender: the commentary track featuring Ang Lee and co-executive producer/co-screenwriter James Schamus. It's a jarringly jokey affair, thanks entirely to the dorky, attention-hogging antics of Schamus.

Now, I've never met Schamus — and I certainly won't begrudge the man his talent or his commitment to producing this picture. But because of a well-intentioned desire to bring levity to the proceedings (or a sinister desire to gain some sort of Hollywood-y social advantage over Ang Lee), Schamus spends much of the Crouching Tiger commentary cracking wise and belittling the movie at every turn. Among his finer moments:

  1. James Schamus opening the track by saying, "Six minutes of dialogue with two people sitting in a room — now that's the way to start an action movie!"

  2. Ang Lee mentioning the two months of embroidery that went into one of Jen's ceremonial dresses, to which James Schamus replies, "And I've never noticed it" — only to follow up with a witty comparison of Chow Yun-Fat's costume to a pair of pajamas (which inadvertently evokes some Coolie-era cultural elitism);

  3. James Schamus making such astute observations as "Michelle looks very wistful here," and actually asking whether Ang Lee designed the centuries-old martial-arts weapons;

  4. James Schamus picking needlessly at a bit of background action that's visible for about three seconds, saying: "And the usual lousy background action. Sorry. Some things will just always bug me. Those two guys fighting back there — what is that? What were you thinking?" His question goes unanswered.

  5. James Schamus bitching about the art department over the rendering of Jade Fox on a poster;

  6. James Schamus making fun of Ang Lee for exploring his pet themes in the film, going so far as to mockingly say, "I'm repressed — I'm in an Ang Lee movie!" and pointing out some apparent foot-fetish imagery;

  7. And, worst of all, James Schamus making fun of the action scenes and dialogue — calling Jen and Lo's horseback chase/courtship "boring" and "fake," a close-up of Jen floating through bamboo fields "cheesy," and, after Ang Lee describes how grueling the film's tragic death scene was to shoot, saying, "For me, it was gut-wrenching to actually write a line like 'With my last breath, I want to say "I love you."' I mean, I have some self-respect." Rather too much, to my thinking.


Somehow, amid all the appalling wisecracks, a few interesting bits filter through. In mildly shaky English, Ang Lee talks about the many film references and martial-arts clichés he just had to incorporate into CTHD; he briefly explores the culture of the Ching Dynasty and the myths that inform the film; and both men discuss the tensions of the joint East/West production as well as the bizarre financing, the rigorous genius of Yuen Wo Ping, the film's cultural anachronisms (basically, Lee says, any blunt discussion about relationships in the movie would never have happened in real life), and their interpretation of the movie's enigmatic ending (they call it a "liberating" Daoist expression, which is rather more uplifting than my take).

Compared to the blistering annoyance of the commentary (which I would have shut off after 10 minutes were it not for this journalistic assignment), the rest of the extras are positively tranquil. But they're also a bit self-serving.

The "Bravo Making-of Special: Unleashing Dragons", produced and directed by Christian Barcellos, is 20:44 of barely-disguised advertorial for the film. Still, it's worthwhile for Ang Lee's self-effacing discussions of the Wuxia films he grew up with, plus Chow Yun-Fat (whom Ang gushingly declares "gorgeous") cracking up as he recounts the difficulties of engaging in swordplay while trying to remember his lines. One comes away impressed with the unpretentious professionalism of the Asian cast and crew — but wishing that the doc had the guts to explore the rumored tension between Ang Lee and Yuen Wo Ping (Wo Ping is conspicuously absent from the DVD's extras, BTW, save in the many behind-the-scenes shots of his wire stunt team at work). Oh, and if I may pick on Mr. James Schamus a bit more: He wears a pretentious bow tie in his sound bites here, takes credit for convincing Ang Lee to hire Zhang Ziyi and declares that CTHD "has the chance to become the first worldwide hit to come out of Asia" — which leads one to wonder whether Schamus was in some sort of cryogenic stasis during the 1990s, when Jackie Chan was gleefully taking our planet by storm.

Moving along, we find a 13:48 "Conversation with Michelle Yeoh" that's pretty obviously taken from an Electronic Press Kit (Face turned 35 degrees off center to the viewer's right? Framing starting at high chest level? Movie poster in the background? Warm lighting? Check!). It's punctuated by relevant action clips and behind-the-scenes shots and of course the lovely and intelligent and apparently fiercely driven Ms. Yeoh — who speaks in cultured English about her careerism, her respect for Ang Lee, her Crouching Tiger-catalyzed ACL injury (sustained during a relatively easy stunt, natch), the differences between a "modern woman" such as herself and her repressed Ching Dynasty character, Chow Yun-Fat's acting skill, the challenge of learning her lines in Mandarin (which she barely speaks), her love of the action genre, and the fact that she and Chow are petitioning Ang to make a prequel that incorporates the earlier bits of the Crouching Tiger novel, which apparently boast considerable Li Mu Bai/Yu Shu Lien backstory.

As for the remainder of the extras: There's a non-navigable, 6:43 "Photo Montage" of production stills and behind-the-scenes shots; over the gorgeous soundbed of Tan Dun's soundtrack, the camera slowly drifts across the photos in a decidedly Ken Burns-esque manner. (The last shot, BTW, is of Chang Chen — romantic bandit warrior — in curlers on the set.) Then there are selected filmographies for Ang Lee, Chow-Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, James Schamus, and Yuen Wo Ping. And finally, we find American and international theatrical trailers, each 1:23 in length. Annoyingly, the American version is pan-and-scan, and it's not the explicitly narrated trailer I always saw in theaters (and on my Total Movie DVD). But I'll never be looking at these pallid extras again, so who cares?

Oh, and one final note about the language tracks: This DVD presents you, for the first time, with an opportunity to watch Crouching Tiger dubbed — and dubbed about as well as those Miramax repackagings of Jackie Chan movies — in English. But I'd argue that it's better if you go with the subtitles; the film's poetry seems a lot less ... artificial when it's printed at the bottom of the screen and not spoken by second-tier voice talent.

Anyway. You have been warned. I'm betting heavily on a future two-disc "Special Edition."

— Alexandra DuPont
dupont@dvdjournal.com

  • Color
  • Anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1)
  • Single-sided disc
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (Mandarin, English), Dolby 2.0 Surround (English, French)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Commentary with director Ang Lee and co-executive producer/co-screenwriter James Schamus
  • American and international theatrical trailers
  • Featurette: "Unleashing Dragons" (20 min.)
  • Michelle Yeoh EPK interview
  • Photo montage
  • Keep-case


Readers Talkback
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  • June 10, 2001, 10:07 p.m. CST

    First

    by 14 Swingers

    I just got it a couple of days ago.. I actually wished that they would have put the English Dubbed [the spoken script] as the text script. It would have gotten the poetic side of the dialoge across. The subtitles were a little dumbed down and the finer pts of the themes and stories weren't carried across as well as it could have.

  • June 10, 2001, 10:07 p.m. CST

    First

    by 14 Swingers

    I just got it a couple of days ago.. I actually wished that they would have put the English Dubbed [the spoken script] as the text script. It would have gotten the poetic side of the dialoge across. The subtitles were a little dumbed down and the finer pts of the themes and stories weren't carried across as well as it could have.

  • June 10, 2001, 10:44 p.m. CST

    I think you're making a big deal out of nothing, frankly.

    by Andy Travis

    It's obvious both men have known each other for awhile, and I doubt most of Schamus' comments were to be taken completely literally. The shot in the bamboo forest scene you refer to that Schamus calls a "cheesy Hong Kong shot", is obviously a beautiful shot. He knows it. He's kidding Ang. Ever heard of two friends sitting around, one poking fun at the other? And by the way, his question about Ang designing the weapons isn't so crazy. If you listened to the whole commentary, Ang mentions that he personally designed that small needle-firing weapon that Jade Fox uses.

  • June 10, 2001, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Wow! A Keep Case is a special feature included? A Keep Case!? Co

    by Sith Witch

  • June 10, 2001, 11:03 p.m. CST

    I apologize.

    by Cutter20

    I was rooting for Gladiator to win best picture at this year's Oscars, and for that I'd like to apologize. I realize now, in retrospect, that Crouching Tiger was in fact the better film... maybe I'm just not at the point as a film viewer that a foreign film can wrap me up as much as a film such as Gladiator. Ah well...my chance for redemption has arrived. Without irony, Ms. DuPont, thank you for showing me the way :) ...is he being facetious...?

  • June 10, 2001, 11:18 p.m. CST

    it's "Taoist" not "Daoist"

    by Pagz

    Just a nit pick, but come on. If you're going to write a review as a professional and put it up for the world to see, the least you can do is spell check. The T is pronounced D. Let's get on the ball shall we

  • June 10, 2001, 11:26 p.m. CST

    A.DuP. responds re: "Tao" vs. "Dao"...

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    (Of all the people to pick on at AICN for their spelling....) Actually, Pagz, I've seen "Dao"/"Tao" spelled both ways, in official capacities. It's not as cut and dried as all that, methinks -- though I certainly welcome any Talk Backer to convince me otherwise. Believing in the perfectability of man, Alexandra DuPont.

  • June 10, 2001, 11:34 p.m. CST

    My sincere appologies...

    by Pagz

    I have never come across Taoism with a D, but if you have then my appologies. Every book or reference I've ever read is with the "T" spelling, but perhaps that has been allowed to slide considering how many people are unable to wrap their heads around pronouncing T as a D (It confused me for a while too). Getting past the minor spelling quibble, I have top whole-heartedly agree with your comments on that annoying schmuck James Schamus. What an appalingly annoying man. Unlike you, I had the freedom to chut his gawd awfull gibber off and just enjoy the film. Why he is included on this disc when he seems to have very little good to say about the film I don't know. Looking forward to your next review.

  • June 10, 2001, 11:34 p.m. CST

    The Tao of Dao

    by XAOS

    Pedantry alert: Yeah, since Chinese isn't normally written in Roman characters, both Dao and Tao are acceptable spellings, depening on which of the half dozen or so major systems of Romanization you are using. So there.

  • June 11, 2001, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Where's Chow?

    by WolffmanJack

    I can't believe there's no commentary or at least some soundbites from Chow Yun-Phat. I would love to hear him describe the differences between a director like John Woo and Lee. And besides that he's just cool. I'm hoping Alexandra is right about the two-discer. Forgot the extra's and just watch the film again, it's a better use of your time. Peace

  • I rented the Dvd and clicked on the commentary to hear what the director thought the ending was conveying-instead I get smug little Seamus saying some crap about Daoist "liberation"-I have no idea what the hell that means=please anyone for the love of God please tell me what that means-or whatever you think the ending meant-please?

  • June 11, 2001, 2:08 a.m. CST

    Potatoe

    by Vance Castaway

    For Pagz: "Things have come to a pretty pass - Our romance is growing flat, For you like this and the other, While I go for this and that. Goodness knows what the end will be; Oh, I don't know where I'm at .... It looks as if we two will never be one. Something must be done. Refrain You say eether and I say eyether, You say neether and I say nyther; Eether, eyether, neether, nyther - Let's call the whole thing off ! You like potato and I like po-tah-to, You like tomato and I like to-mah-to; Potato, po-tah-to, tomato, to-mah-to - Let's call the whole thing off ! But oh, if we call the whole thing off, then we must part. And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart. So, if you like pajamas and I like pa-jah-mas, I'll wear pajamas and give up pa-jah-mas. For we know we Need each other, so we Better call the calling off off. Let's call the whole thing off ! Second Refrain You say laughter and I say lawfter, You say after and I say awfter; Laughter, lawfter, after, awfter - Let's call the whole thing off ! You like vanilla and I like vanella, You, sa's'parilla and I sa's'parella; Vanilla, vanella, choc'late, strawb'ry - Let's call the whole thing off ! But oh, if we call the whole thing off, then we must part. And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart. So, if you go for oysters and I go for ersters, I'll order oysters and cancel the ersters. For we know we Need each other, so we Better call the calling off off. Let's call the whole thing off ! And life is a road that I wanna keep going Love is a river, I wanna keep flowing Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey I'll be there when the world stops turning I'll be there when the storm is through In the end I wanna be standing At the beginning with you." Words by Ira Gershwin

  • June 11, 2001, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Loved the movie, hated the DVD...

    by Lily Drop

    I did not get the chance to see this in the theatres, so I was really excited to watch it on DVD. What was *really* anoying was that the DVD shows action sequences before you get to a menu... I am one of those people who, when I don't want to see spoilers, I DON'T WANT TO SEE SPOILERS. One of the shots they show is Jen leaping off the bridge... as soon as Lo told Jen about the mountain, I knew instantly where that sceen was from and how the movie was going to end. ARGH!! I mean, I figured it wasn't going to be a happy ending, but knowing she was going to jump off the mountain, I was robbed of any hope... STUPID, STUPID DVD PRODUCERS!

  • June 11, 2001, 3:28 a.m. CST

    About the ending....***SPOILER WARNING***

    by XTheCrovvX

    The controversy about this thing stems from the question of whether or not Jen's wish came true or not....remember the legend....a boy jumped from a mountain once, made a wish, and didnt get hurt....his wish was granted....this scene represents Jen's decision to just undo some of the pain she has caused...but there's the idea of reality setting in....this doubles as an attempt by Jen to commit suicide after the death of Li Mu Bai....so, depending on your personal interpretation of the act, Jen ends up with her love, or she's dead....it's left open ended just for you to make that interpretation....at least thats how i saw it...Revolution is my name...

  • June 11, 2001, 4:47 a.m. CST

    The opposition

    by mjbok

    Never saw the movie until this weekend, when I got the DVD to see what all the hype was about. A beautifully shot movie, to be sure. Entertaining...marginally. It was an okay movie, nothing special. The action sequences were incredibly well done, but much like Charlies Angels the wire-fu was overdone. Whereas CA was unwatchable crap, this movie was a not too unpleasant time killer, but nothing else. Should Gladiator have won best picture? Probably not, but it definately was a better movie than CTHD. I don't have and adversity to foreign films or subtitles, but there were stretches of time watching this film where I found myself looking at the time elapsed on the DVD player, which is never a good sign. I should have learned that any movie that Harry loves so completely will be a letdown. Perhaps if I watched the movie expecting nothing I would have enjoyed it more, but I doubt it.

  • June 11, 2001, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Better in subtitling?

    by kid_ego

    The dubbing is actually more accurate to the chinese script than the subtitles! How can she possibly say that this is like the Jackie Chan dubbings? I was thinking this reviewer knew what the hell she was talking about until I heard that line...

  • June 11, 2001, 5:06 a.m. CST

    and, yes, I prefer subtitles on a foreign film...

    by kid_ego

    I just know the english dubbing is a bit closer to script than the subtitle.

  • June 11, 2001, 5:07 a.m. CST

    CTHD vs. Gladiator

    by Tar Heel

    Only time will tell, but I predict that years from now CTHD will be regarded as a classic, whereas Gladiator will be seen as a Russell Crowe action flick. The difference? CTHD is enfused with the passion and craft of its makers, whereas Gladiator is uninspired and self-important.

  • June 11, 2001, 6:13 a.m. CST

    Dubbing vs. Subtitles

    by Sidewinding

    The first thing that bugged me was that the DVD film defaults to dubbing with no subtitles. I haven't watched the whole movie with the dubbing because generally the voices are off. I just thought it strange that it defaulted to Dub rather than Mandarin with subtitles.

  • June 11, 2001, 7:07 a.m. CST

    Straw Dogs and other Deaths:On the Ending

    by TectorGorch

    From a strictly acedmeic point of view the final sacrifice was quite literally that. The guts of Taoist (Daoist- equally correct) belief systems is the denial of the self. Jen spent the entire film in service to her own wants and desires. Through the benevolence of Li she has been given the life of adventure she seaks (New life with the Wudan), freed from the evil influence that has turned her (Jade), and reunited with her lover completing her circle. His lesson of sacrifice has tought her that her previous centering on herself at the expence of others was wrong and cruel. Having recieved all of her wants she must turn her back on those things she has gained because they are at the expence of others, sacrficing the life she now has, denying herself, and becoming part of the whole. (if your a Joseph Campbell follower you know she's realizing her personal mythology where this sacrifice makes her a hero rather than a villian ie. Dath Vader in "Jedi".) Her death also represents the freeing of her body from the temporal relm where the desires for sex, freedom, fame, wealth, personal happiness are the corruption in which we all live. At the beginning of the film Li had returned from his meditations with the realization that questing for revenge was a "want" not a "need". Killing Jade only became a worthy cause when it meant the freeing of Jen's soul from captivity, a self-less act. I could go on but I am taking up too much time. There is a good article in here comparing this mythology with the mythology that George Lucas uses in the Star Wars films, but that is for another time.

  • June 11, 2001, 7:25 a.m. CST

    What bothers me...

    by Dagan

    Is not the Dao/Tao thing - I've seen it both ways, too, and really, there is no *true* way to spell Chinese words in English - it's just whatever sounds close. The actual pronounciation is really somewhere between Dao and Tao, which is where the confusion is - it's like a hard, sharp "D" sound, really. Same for Zhang/Jiang, etc. What DOES bother me is the "switching" of Asian names. Now I can't blame Ms. Dupont for this, because it is very confusing the way some people have it one way and some the other, but she lists "Cheng Pei Pei" as "Pei Pei Cheng". In most Asian languages, the surname, or our "last name" comes first(showing their emphasis on respect for family and lineage ahead of individuality, to my mind). But for some reason many people, including those at the otherwise wonderful Internet Movie Database, think that we Americans will be too "confused" by this, so they switch around the names to put the surname last. It's not really that difficult - all somebody has to do is be told how Asian names are, and then there's no more confusion - but God forbid us Americans actually know ANYTHING about another culture, so many just do a switch on the names. That strikes me as incredibly disrespectful and imperialistic - I wouldn't want somebody switching MY name around. Asians don't do that with American names - they know that our family names are last, so they don't do a switch thing. Why do we? And it's so confusing now - because we constantly hear some of them the correct way, and others the incorrect way. We always see "Chow Yun-Fat", which is correct(though sometimes I shudder to see "Yun-Fat Chow" written in places or a reviewer refer to him as "Fat" or "Yun-Fat"), and usually see Yuen Wo Ping and Zhang Ziyi, which are also both correct.(Even so when people write about Zhang Ziyi, they tend to say Ms. Ziyi instead of Ms. Zhang, like they should) But you'll see these names that are generally spoken correctly on TV or trailers listed on the IMDB as reversed, and thus in other print articles that way(many film journalists use the IMDB for info). So it's just a crapshoot on how the names will be depending on where you look. Other Asian names have been traditionally "switched" the other way, like Akira Kurosawa, which is a switch, it should be Kurosawa Akira, because that's his name. Same for Mifune Toshiro and others. So now you have some names like Chow Yun-Fat, generally spoken correctly, and others like Akira Kurosawa done incorrectly. It's so inconsistent and confusing to people, in addition to being patently disrespectful. I don't think all this name-switching is necessary. We Americans aren't all that stupid. We can handle the name structure of Asian names if we just knew about it. No need to cause all this confusion by all the switching.

  • June 11, 2001, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Dubbing

    by ComputerGuy68

    The subject of dubbing foreign films has been an issue that has always left me with questions. Which version is truest to the spoken language of the film? Take the film Das Boot, which like CTHD, gives the choice of English dubbed (5.1) and its original language with subtitles (5.1). Did you ever watch the dubbed version with the English subtitles on? There are some different things being said which one is closer to the original German? Must go back to my CTHD DVD to try this out too. Is there a website with the definitive answer as to which version to watch? As to the debate as to which movie deserved the best picture award, ***RANT*** I for one HATE all award shows and refuse to watch any of them, they are more about who

  • June 11, 2001, 7:47 a.m. CST

    DVD director et al. commentaries

    by madmartiganjr

    I've got to jump on the bitchin' about James Schamus bandwagon. I do believe that he was just joking and not trying to be insulting, but the fact remains that his "commentary" was irritating and distracting. But there are a lot of those types of commentaries getting put on these DVDs. I mean, for pity's sake, you'd think that the artists behind a film could at least watch it one more time all the way through and jot down some notes so that they could focus their comments on interesting facts about movie-making in general and their film specifically. Far too many commentaries on DVDs sound like the dudes just showed up for the recording and started blabbing about anything that popped in their heads while they watched their work playing.

  • June 11, 2001, 8:21 a.m. CST

    ADuP et al.: what the ending means

    by creamy goodness

    Some background for all of you. Wang Du Lu wrote five books in this series: ***1) Southern Crane Frightens Kun Lun (mostly about Southern Crane and his romance with the granddaughter of Kun Lun, who killed SC's father...Li Mu Bai becomes SC's disciple by the end...And yes, Wang's talent for choosing the titles of his novels improved after this one) ***2) Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin (the backstory alluded to in CTHD... Li and Yu love each other, but Yu is set to marry Meng, Li's good friend... Li tries to fall in love with another lower class girl, but fails... Li ends up in jail after killing someone and prepares to face death, but Southern Crane rescues him) ***3) Sword Spirit, Pearl Light (Li is a fugitive, he finds Green Destiny accidentally, and steals the secrets of the human body's pressure points... SC demands that Li marry Yu, but Li refuses out of propriety's sake...Lo's brother steals a pearl from the Forbidden City) ***4) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Duh...the name comes from the two young lovers: Jen's name means Charming Dragon; Lo's means Little Tiger) ***5) Iron Knight, Silver Vase (Jen and Lo have a boy named Iron Aroma, who is kidnapped and replaced with a girl Snow Vase...when he grows up he looks for his parents and the truth only comes out as they both die in front of him...Iron Aroma and Snow Vase get married) *******When I saw the movie, I--like many people--had no idea what the ending meant. I cobbled together some half-assed explanation that made a modicum of sense (grief over causing the death of Li Mu Bai, etc.) But it didn't really satisfy me. Ang's explanation about Daoist liberation make some sense, but not much more--given what I know of Daoism (some, but not enough admittedly). I thought it must be a part of some kind of narrative tradition in Chinese folk history--say, as obvious to East Asian audiences, as the concept that the bad guy never really dies in horror movies is to Western audiences. *******Well, I was wrong. It's all much more simple than that. Ang changed the ending of CTHD dramatically. In the book, Li Mu Bai doesn't die. He kills Jade Fox outright. Jen, having left her husband and disgraced her family, *pretends* to kill herself to restore dignity to her father and mother. She meets Lo in the desert and they get "married" and have a baby. In Li and Yu's story, there is an element of tragedy, but not until the last book: in IKSV, Yu dies of a disease and Li realizes his foolishness in not marrying her, and regrets it alone forever. ********All the titles have a double meaning (except maybe for the first one, I'm not sure). No, I don't know what they are. ********Hope this helps. No, the books are not available in English (or any Western language AFAIK) yet. Hopefully that will change soon. Each book is about half a million words (the last is around 800 thousand). -cg

  • June 11, 2001, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Foolins, where do I get the program that...

    by kittyboot

    enables you to tell what race the talkbackers are? It would help take all the guesswork out of who to judge negatively and who to blindly agree with. It obviously works for you.

  • June 11, 2001, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Just out of curiosity . . .

    by Ophelia 's twin

    . . . does anyone know if there's an English translation of the novel(s) on which CTHD is based? And has anyone here read it (in either English or Chinese)? *** I know the movie is based on events that occur towards the end of the book. I have my own ideas on what the ending of the movie meant, but I'm wondering how the book ends. Does it end at the same point as the movie, or does the story continue on? *** And to Alexandra DuPont: Thanks for posting your reviews here! Your writing is intelligent, insightful, and sufficiently geeky. And I want to be just like you when I grow up. *g*

  • June 11, 2001, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Creamy Goodness

    by Ophelia 's twin

    Apparently, you were answering my questions at the exact same time I was writing them. <Insert "Twilight Zone" theme here.> Thanks for the info.

  • June 11, 2001, 11:27 a.m. CST

    DuPont: Better Living Through Chemistry

    by Key Grip

    This talkback is why I started coming to AICN in the first place. Alexandra DuPont (a nome de plume, you love-sricken talkbackers--her real name is Merleen Fairweather and she's from Deerneck, Nebraska and she has a goiter; you can look it up) has penned yet again a refreshingly literate commentary that is less review than it is a curriculum for a seminar on the cultural significance of film. Please count yourselves among the blessed, particularly when you click on over to other reviews and see wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth over the Green Goblin's hat or the cri du coeur over the burning issue of whether Jolie's breasts are enhanced in Tomb Raider. Prior to this post, the most intelligent thing anyone really had to say in a talkback about CTHDwas "Chinese, Japanese, diry knees, look at these." Merleen, er, Alexandra abides by an observation she made in her commentary: she regards adults with a little more nuance and respect.

  • June 11, 2001, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Pooh

    by Mr. Biege

    With all of this Taoist talk, I'm wondering if they might try an animated sequel... Crouching Tigger, Hidden Piglet.

  • June 11, 2001, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Guys, It was a hilarious commentary

    by Orpheus

    What is wrong with Dupont? Did she really think Schamus was ... what, making fun of the movie? The same one they all spent years slaving over? Guys, it was a JOKE. And in case you didn't hear, Ang Lee was chuckling in the background like the whole time. After being praised for so long, I loved the fact that these two could get together and not sit there for two hours talking about how wonderful it was. I love self-deprecating humor. And didn't you hear Schamus muttering throughout the movie "God, who wrote that line? That was so cheesy!" Well, DUH, he did. They were just kidding. And they had me in stitches half the time. And they got in some cool stuff about Wudan and Giang Hu, so I was happy. The conversation with Michelle Yeoh was cool, and so was the Behind the Scenes special. And the international trailer rocked. Anyway, the spelling Tao and Dao is both correct. There were two Western guys - I can't remember the names for the life of me - who did a great deal of translating Chinese books and stuff, and they came up with these competing spellings. Neither is incorrect. I personally prefer Tao to Dao. And speaking of the Tao, I think Taoism is one of the best philosophies out there. As someone once said, it's one of the few religious philosophies out there to retain a sense of humor. I highly recommend reading the Tao Te Ching, translated by Geng Hu and Jane English, The Way of Chuang Tzu, translated by Thomas Merton, The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan, and Reflections on the Tao by Alan Watts. All good, good stuff. I've written three articles on CTHD, and yes, one was comparing it to Star Wars (particularly TPM - don't laugh, didn't you see Li Mu Bai's and Shu Lien's "jedi frowns"?). Anyway, the ending was very Taoistic. Ang Lee defines the flying as an act of transcendence, and the final act as liberation. Of course. According to Mircea Eliade, flight is an act of total freedom, and has to do with the desire to see the body in terms of spirit. Jen was no longer part of the earthly plane. She ascended Wudan Mountain in that stunning shot, moved onto a bridge, and dove off into the clouds. It was a going, an expansion, and a return. It was the motion of the Tao as manifest in the universe. Taoism is about striving for an attention or consciousness that can embrace two opposites without being swallowed by either. Jen had such a consciousness. She stood on a bridge - all this time, she had been operating between two worlds. She was light and dark, male and female, warrior and lover, spirit and flesh, etc. She reconciled all these when she dove out and landed in the clouds, assimilating all the warring pieces of her fragmented psyche into a coherent whole. Clouds are often symbolic in Chinese art as representing union. She achieved balance and transcended the earthly plane altogether. I think the quote that really sums it up as the one Confucious gave after meeting Lao Tsu, founder of Taoism - he tells how a bird flies, a fish swims, an animal runs, and how he knows all these things - but how "the dragon's ascent into heaven on the wind and the clouds is something which is beyond his knowledge."

  • June 11, 2001, 12:17 p.m. CST

    my 2 cents worth

    by theharm

    First- foolins- you are a morally bankrupt person- you use inflammatory and hurtful language to grab attention-at least have the guts to admit you are a racist dog-go rent a porno and be one with yourself. Second, thanks for all the insightful commentary above by everyone except the loser-my own interpretation included another possibility- that the younger heroine leapt off the bridge to unite Li Mu Bai with his lover-the Michelle Yeoh character. Oh I'm sorry-how racially insensitive of me I meant BAi Mu li-or Mu Li Bai-or Li Bai Mu or .....

  • June 11, 2001, 1:05 p.m. CST

    what? no ziyi interview in it?

    by mooncake

    hey how could they NOT have a zhang ziyi inteview included in this DVD? in fact after the movie they should have a commentary or short interview with the central characters & memebers of the production team! that's what they should have done. like how peter pau did those amazing cinematography shots during the fight scenes. or what were the thoughts of MASTER yueng woo ping when he designed the fight sequences. & NO ziyi??? how could they? she WAS the star of this movie!!!!

  • June 11, 2001, 1:43 p.m. CST

    foolins:

    by Speaker Wiggin

    i'm a white boy who speaks chinese... well not FLUENTLY but pretty good, i've taken it for 3 years, my japanese is much better though :-)

  • June 11, 2001, 1:51 p.m. CST

    language stuff

    by Speaker Wiggin

    I don't think it's racially insinsitive to complain about that kind of stuff...i mean it can be annoying. I don't mean EVERYONE i just mean like on the MTV Movie Awards everytime the man said Jeyng Z Yee I cringed, because at least her sir name is simple to pronounce, and this was a professional program. it's almost Johng Tz ii. Now her first name i agree takes some practice and that's not that bad but what about words like Karaoke. It's very simple to pronounce. Ka Ra Oh Kay. there is no "Y" or "I" in there so where does Kary Oky come from? I know it's stupid gripes but oh well. I guess i shouldn't gripe cuz people get annoyed at me too if i don't know every little rule about sports games. "What you don't know how many points THAT was worth, come on!":-)

  • June 11, 2001, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Carrie-Okie

    by human2

    For the same reason that Karate becomes 'karoddy', Zhang Ziyi's name will never be pronouced correctly. Americans are too fucken lazy. ---------- And the ending of CTHD? It relies on some philosophy only hinted at in the movie. When Mu Bai announces that he had almost reached ...'something' in his meditations, he means that he nearly threw off his earthly chains to become somewhat more than human, a state where hunger, love, desire are all irrelevant. Once you do that, you can fly all day and gravity has no hold on you. Well, that's pretty much what Jen did. She renounced her earthly loves in penitence for her earlier selfishness. She's turned from caterpillar to butterfly. She doesn't die, she merely leaves a shell behind.

  • June 11, 2001, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Crouching Tiger and Gladiator BOTH sucked

    by Blok Narpin

    O Brother Where Art Thou was the best movie of the year. Unbreakable was a close second.

  • June 11, 2001, 5:19 p.m. CST

    was PolarBearx but changed...Re: Goiter

    by Speaker Wiggin

    a Goiter is basically when you have too much iodine, you're thyroid swells up and it looks like you've got a neck like a fog after it fills it up!

  • June 11, 2001, 5:28 p.m. CST

    I saw CTHD in the Theatre 3 times...

    by Rugose Cone

    ...and I was blown away by the quality of the DVD picture. The first couple fights in the movie take place at night, and I thought they were slightly too dark. This is not the case with the DVD. Beautiful.

  • June 11, 2001, 6:23 p.m. CST

    My one problem with the DVD

    by Orpheus

    It won't play on my damn DVD-ROM. And this is a brand new computer, less than a month old. It'll play every DVD I can find, all day, every day, but the one movie I love more than life itself ... won't work. And then I e-mail the manufacturer and a lot of people are apparently having problems. They say they are talking to the DVD people and will get back to me within seven to ten working days. I'll probably never hear from them again. My friends that is not fair. And oh yeah, Jen did shrug off her earthly shell. Nice way to put it. Zhang Ziyi is SO awesome.

  • June 11, 2001, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Several Comments

    by JasK

    First, I haven't watched my DVD yet. But from all the comments quoted by Alexandra and Schamus's past interviews, he apparently was making fun of all the negative comments naysayers made about CTHD. He's definitely not putting down CTHD or Ang Lee. He has a quirky sense of humor. He and Ang Lee have known each other for 10 years. They basically "grew up" in film business together. They are business partners and good friends. They understand each other. Take it from this light and rewatch the comments, you may think differently. Creamgoodness, your summary of the books is off, especially the ending of CTHD. If anyone wants to read a comparison between the books and the film and a summary of the story in the books, please check out IMDB board's CTHD message board. It's way too long for me to rehash it here. Foolins, you embarrased other Chinese online. Speaking Mandarin doesn't mean you understand Chinese. Otherwise you wouldn't use the kind of language you used.

  • June 11, 2001, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Goiters

    by theharm

    A goiter is an overproduction of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland-located on the front side of the neck. The overproduction causes the thyroid to swell up and it appears on the individual as if they had swallowed something huge that got stuck in their neck. You treat with radiation or surgical removal

  • June 11, 2001, 9:22 p.m. CST

    and, Fatboy...

    by human2

    her handle is 'Dupont', not Dupaul.

  • June 11, 2001, 9:28 p.m. CST

    "wo shi yi ge mei guo ren" from pearl harbor

    by Speaker Wiggin

    alec baldwin must have practiced his chinese over and over for Pearl Harbor........at least it was better than Richard Gere's(spelling?) in Red Corner wo xi huan zhong guo hua~!!!

  • June 11, 2001, 10:31 p.m. CST

    shee-shee ni

    by tongxinglian

    What made me cringe was when Chris Tucker tried to say "thank you" in Chinese.

  • June 11, 2001, 11:51 p.m. CST

    actually, homo...

    by human2

    tucker said 'ni shee shee'. either way, i admit, it was horrid. "you can't even say sree words! now you know how difficul i am!" *** (Note, the 'homo' in this subject line refers to an inside joke, started by tongxinlian. i do not discriminate based on gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, or veteran status.)

  • June 12, 2001, 2:11 a.m. CST

    Foolins

    by theharm

    I accept your apology for what you consider sarcasm- but you must realize that each word one utters or displays to others is a tool. This tool displays what your personality, thoughts, convictions, and soul. Thus you must use words thoughtfully and responsibly.You say we make assumptions about you but you made your own assumptions of the culture and race of the posters and then conveyed your disgust for their culture-such idiotic irresponsibility or hate can't be tolerated in a civilized world- or even a lowly talk back. That may sound like censure to some of you but when something is not right we have to speak out-for our own sakes and for Foolins.Yes, your post didn't have the worst language-but to put down someone else's culture is simply hurtful and childish. I am not going to hold a gun to your head and force you to think and write happy-happy posts-but don't ever write something or do something that hurts someone else and then think you can laugh it off-because then you will get your ass handed to you-here or in the "real world". BTW I am not white either. Peace.

  • June 12, 2001, 3:33 a.m. CST

    Me Chinese, me play joke, me put peepee in your Coke.

    by Bill Carson

    As a pissed off Asian man, I have to say that a generally non-PC attitude involving good natured humor often defuses potentially tense situations when dealing with the white devil. Having said that, however, Gedde Watanabe must die. He is the Asian Stepin Fetchit.

  • June 12, 2001, 3:35 a.m. CST

    Me Chinese, me play joke, me put peepee in your Coke.

    by Bill Carson

    As a pissed off Asian man, I have to say that a generally non-PC attitude involving good natured humor often defuses potentially tense situations when dealing with the white devil. Having said that, however, Gedde Watanabe must die. He is the Asian Stepin Fetchit.

  • June 12, 2001, 3:45 a.m. CST

    uh, foolins...

    by human2

    why did you make another account here? were you driven out by the backlash to your ealier comments?

  • June 12, 2001, 8:11 a.m. CST

    whatever

    by tongxinglian

    I don't see what the big deal is. All Asians call people white boys. Caucasians sometimes refer to themselves as white boys. I think there's some awful sensitive people here. I'm white, by the way. I think the message here is don't admit your race or assume the race of others in talkbalk.

  • June 12, 2001, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Hey Computerguy68 - general dubbing comments

    by Geekgrrl

    Haven't seen the Das Boot DVD, yet, but a lot of German dubs tend to be kinda liberal on the translation. I saw the Run Lola Run DVD. First off, the title is misstranslated. The actual title is "Lola Rennt," which would be Lola Runs or Lola Is Running. There were several other translation differences with the sub titles and the spoken version. I think it is pretty unavoidable. The general meaning was not changed. I bet the CTHD DVD is the same way, but I don't speak Chinese, so I'll have to take someone else's word for it. Actually with CTHD it would be more like the book translation of "The Never Ending Story" (the movie was awful and nothing like either version of the books) The title itself is a double entendre (sp?) - either the never ending story or never ending history. The Childlike Empress is Die Kindliche Kaiserin, which not only has alliteration, but also has a double entendre - the child-likd empress, or the childish empress. There really is no good way to translate these things. We American pigs just have to get off our lazy kiesters and learn an extra language.

  • June 12, 2001, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Enough Gladiator-bashing already

    by Ecliptic

    A) Yep, you are crazy. CTHD is overrated fusion fluff, nothing more than a two-hour cat fight. B) How about just writing the DVD review without whining about what award it did or didn't win? The Oscars are OVER. The year 2000 likewise is OVER. The year 2001 now is half OVER. Get OVER it.

  • June 12, 2001, 2:34 p.m. CST

    tongxilian

    by theharm

    Why get worked up-hell it's just words? Like if I called you a stupid son of a bitch it wouldn't really mean anything-just words right? Yeah-no big deal if I wanted to call a Caucasian a "White Boy" or a "honky" or a "Whitey" or "White Devil" similarly I shouldn't be offended if a Caucasian wanted to call an Asian "slope" or "nip" or "chinky"-yeah on second thought the world is just a better place with all of those words in it-not a big deal at all. Hell, I am betting this diatribe just bounced off of you right-didn't piss you off at all did it you piece of shit? Hell I'll bet your friends and family must call you that all the time-so why shouldn't everyone else? I'll bet you enjoy it-right? After all it's no big deal-it's just words.

  • June 12, 2001, 2:38 p.m. CST

    the message is

    by theharm

    BTW- for morons like tonxigilian the message is that words matter and they can hurt. Don't do it and if you do it be ready for the consequences.

  • June 12, 2001, 4:29 p.m. CST

    JasK

    by Ophelia 's twin

    Thanks for pointing me to imdb for information about Wang Du Lu's novels. If anyone else is interested, be sure to check out the posts by Jasmine Kung (who I'm assuming is aka JasK). The woman knows her stuff, and her comments are amazing.

  • June 12, 2001, 6:24 p.m. CST

    I guess I'll wait to buy this...

    by Batutta

    ...I already have a DVD academy screener of it (I know people who know people), which literally has nothing but the movie on it. No menus, no chapter stops, no nothing! But the transfer and sound are awesome.

  • June 12, 2001, 7:07 p.m. CST

    still, whatever

    by tongxinglian

    I'm not saying that words don't matter. I just don't see where you get off just calling everyone a loser. (btw, theharm, what the hell did i say that makes you call me a loser?) All I'm saying is that you'll have to calm down. For someone who is so against labelling and name calling, you're labelling yourself. That's a double standard right there. People should be allowed to discuss things out. I was just trying to get some middle ground, I wasn't defending anyone. Meanwhile, you're just elevating things. Words do hurt, but it depends on the context. Since no one really knows anyone here, who gives a shit anyway? This has been a dead thread. White boy out.

  • June 12, 2001, 7:33 p.m. CST

    Well Geekgrrl, I guess.....

    by ComputerGuy68

    it's time to pick up German for Dummies, Mandarin for dummies, etc. You know, I find most books made into movies usually suck. E.g. Tom Clancy

  • June 12, 2001, 8:05 p.m. CST

    hmm...

    by jing-mei

    as for what i think is the best book made into a movie, it would be joy luck club .. it's probably more accurate to say that joy luck club was an adaptation because if you ever read amy tan, she's somewhat of a quirky writer .. sometimes what she writes works, sometimes not (imho, anyway); but for joy luck club, they filtered a lot of side stories out (some got in, like the swan feather), so the book didn't get in the way of the movie, if you want to put it that way .. as for which movie is great because it's faithful to the book in most aspects, i really don't have a clue .. battleship earth, maybe ? :) .. as for joy luck club, i think the movie brought a clearer message than the book, but that's just me ..

  • June 12, 2001, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Tongx we meet again

    by theharm

    First off I didn't call everyone a loser-I called Foolins a loser for calling posters above "stupid white boys" and I called you a moron-why?-two reasons :one :because you said that since Asians and other Caucasians call them "white boys" it is okay-that is the old "everyone else is doing it why can't we" routine I remember from 5th grade. Second: it was to show you that words hurt-hell I don't care if people cuss all day long on these talk backs but racial slurs are crossing a line- anything that demeans a person's culture or race is idiotic-even if it meant in jest-this is something you can't choose or change and it just reveals stupidity in the name-caller( It's like calling a short guy shrimp-the hell does that do except make em feel bad for being short?-does it make someone feel good at all? and do they deserve to be shitted upon?). I was an asshole to you to push you to realize that words have power and that they can hurt- and I am particulary thankful to you and Foolins for acknowledging that you got that-it took a lot of guts to admit that I might have a point-thanks. The thing about not knowing anyone-I don't know you either but my asshole comments pissed you off didn't they? Even if you don't know the other person doesn't mean it won't hurt them. And just because you have a secret identity on the net doesn't mean you're freaking Batman and outside of civilization. Foolins thought the same thing with his sentence about "not acting this way in real life"-well what the hell is this? Hell your email is right there! And I applaud the fact that you wanted to find a middle ground-but middle ground must be found only after the debris is settled and all the issues have been hashed out. The childish thing is to just walk away from a fight and hide, hoping it will go away-because shit never goes away. I got nothing against you but the things you say I have a problem with, and frankly calling yourself a "White Boy" does a disservice to the proud cutlutre you belong to. Anyway, peace Lao-wai.

  • June 12, 2001, 9 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Computerguy68

    by wex

    Gee, I dig this idea for a thread. I've got two nominees for good movie adaptations of books. Unfortunately it's been a while since I've read either the books or seen the movies, but if memory serves both "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Color Purple" stayed fairly close to their source materials and were the better for it. This is especially surprising in the case of "Color Purple," since the book was somewhat stream of conscienceness to show the narrator's intellectual development, yet the movie manage to convey that development as well as the text. (Steven Spielberg really did deserve a director's nomination for this, and Danny Glover has never been scarier). Anyhow both the movies and books are fantastic. But I gotta agree with Jin Mei (sp?), the "Joy Luck Club" also captured the best parts of its source material. OK, for a movie adaptation that is nothing like the book and yet is a pretty decent watch in its own right, try the old black-and-white version of "A Tale of two Cities," mainly because of the guy who plays Sydney Carton (who incidentally looks nothing like the guy playing Charles Darnay). It's a fun flick all around.

  • June 12, 2001, 10:56 p.m. CST

    i'm a white boy

    by Speaker Wiggin

    and proud of it

  • June 12, 2001, 10:59 p.m. CST

    i meant that in the sense that...

    by Speaker Wiggin

    i happen to be white (as an adjective) and immature

  • June 12, 2001, 11:52 p.m. CST

    Speaker Wiggin

    by theharm

    I don't get it-you're proud of being immature? Anyway, but then you do get my point that some people use that phrase as a slur-to connote stupidity and naivete on the behalf of Caucasians? would you call that to anyone you didn't know was comfortable with it?

  • June 13, 2001, 1:49 a.m. CST

    discussion

    by tongxinglian

    Yo man, I didn't say anything bad to you (theharm), so I don't know why you're pissed off all the time. And I'm not pissed off (just look at the tone that you write in). I don't have to be pissed off to criticize, and you don't have to either. You say I'll get your point across if I'm pissed off by the slurs. Well, I'm not. And besides, isn't such that explanation contradictory because Foolins did almost the exact same thing? You don't have to be inflammatory to get a point across, look, people in talkbalk can make their own opinions, you don't have to make it for them. You ever hear what happened in Brown University a couple months ago, when students ripped up all the (school-published) newspapers because it contained a contradictory ad about war reparations, saying they weren't necessary? People have the right to say whatever they want, hurtful or not. Of course you are entitled to your own response to what you think is morally wrong, idiotic, ec. What I think is wrong is that people are usually inflammatory in response (which isn't entirely constructive), and don't bring up much discussion. There's always a need to bitch or yell. Anyway, say what you want because due to the content of all of your messages, I don't think you're pissing anyone off.

  • June 13, 2001, 5:51 a.m. CST

    here I go again on my own

    by theharm

    Hey tongxian, I recognize that you didn't say anything directly to me-I appreciate that-and thank you, but if I had been white you would have been saying it's okay to call me a "White Boy" just because other Caucasians you know call each other that or other Asians you know call em that-that is what I was objecting to-and I am not pissed- I was writing as if I were pissed. I made the assumption that you were pissed because you responded to my cussing you out-and I appreciate that you could respond better without getting mad-I think everyone probably could-but my point was that you didn't understand the visceral impact of words. the thing about getting my point if you are pissed off at my generic slurs will make you realize that racial slurs hurt is exactly the tactic that I accused Foolins of-that was my whole point with the Foolins post-I was giving him a taste of his own medicine. I used the same tactic on you because you espoused that you "didn't see what the big deal was" -I don't seriously think you are an SOB or a Piece of shit-and I sincerely apologize for those remarks-very astute of you by the way-I was hoping you'd get that. like I said I don't care if you curse on these posts-I am not your parent, I don't care how you think,that is not my job-but if you use a racial slur in my prescence and it is in my power, I will call you on it. Of course you can say whatever you want-and I can respond however I wish and I plan to do so constructively-after,-all the feelings and issues have been hashed out-unless you get all the issues out into the open before you start sending out peace feelers then all you have is a crusty peace with a boil of war pussing underneath. Finally, I don't understand your last remark about the content of my posts not pissing anyone off-but I'll take it as a compliment-thanks. As always-peace.

  • June 13, 2001, 8:41 a.m. CST

    of course

    by tongxinglian

    hey theharm - Of course words hurt, but all I'm saying is that it depends on context, and that determines the extent of how it influences one/oneself. No, it is not okay for me to be called a white boy, by friends or strangers, of course I get that. But the impack in this talkbalk, I'm saying it's minimal. Of course there's an effect, because words always do mean something. I'm just saying sometimes an inflammatory response isn't the most constructive way to go, and I'm glad you said you're going to do something constructive now. Of course you can respond in such a way, but the way you were putting it was without much personal context, so you were just sounding like you were raving. The best example I can think of is how people always wanting to censor The Sopranos becuase of language, violence, etc. These people are most notably Italian Americans, but a lot of them haven't watched the show in that much detail. Then they might notice it has that kind of language for a reason. The reason is well, they're mobsters, of course they talk that way, and they're going to come to a bad end. If they called everyone a "bitch" and they become heroes in the series, then that would be clearly wrong. It depends on context, personal context. You can't determine the impact of a situation unless you put it into context. Anyways, this is my last post. I appreciate anyone who read this (for here). And theharm, I love you, and if you know what my name means, let's get some loving done.

  • June 13, 2001, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Tongx-nice post-bury some hatchets

    by theharm

    Thanks Tongx- that was a nice post. I appreciate that you don't think being called "White Boy" is the most flattering thing out there. As for context I must again disagree-respectfully this time since you made your points most eloquently-in my own thinking when someone posts in a public forum then personal rules take a backseat to the rules that general civilized society must adhere to. If this were a letter you were mailing to a friend who as you stated is quite comfortable being referred to as "White Boy" then it would be fine to use that phrase-but when it is sent out to the public that could be offended by it-it should not be-that is why I was disturbed by your defense of the phrase-you seemed to defend it uncontextually"...All asians call Caucasians white boys..." -You have since amended or further explained your position and I thank you. And I do appreciate that your post didn't actually call anyone that. Similarly I don't advocate censorship of any show for any reason-I do recognize that if I wanted to I could choose not to view it. On a personal note: I am not Caucasian-I am Asian-but my best friend is Caucasian. As California has changed over the past few decades more Asians have come here and it has been great for me as now I have others of my own language to speak with- but I have noticed how they treated my buddy-and it hurt me a lot. I am talking about the bravest, most loyal and honorable person you ever met in your life(I mean the guy literally saved my life a couple of times) being dismissed with a leer as being a "White Boy". He took it for months just so we could hang and then when I used that phrase on him he got pissed and told me where he stood on that issue.Needless to say I apologized and redirected my loyalties. Funnily enough-as I have gotten older and moved around the States I have noticed people treating me the same way with their own slurs for me. I know what it feels like on both accounts and I don't wish it on anyone. So as you can see I have a reason to be a raving lunatic about racism but even if I didn't I think my general rule of personal context vs. public forum would apply and I'd like to thank you Tongx for the endless back and forth posts to gel this simple rule for me-although I wish we didn't need those words in the personal context either but that is unrealistic. Anyway-excellent viewpoints Tongxianlian-eloquently stated and well fought-you make an excellent debater. Hope to see you again on the talk backs in lighter and more fun ways-and as always peace.

  • June 13, 2001, 10:53 p.m. CST

    English Dubbed Like Jackie Chan? What? Did You Even Watch In in

    by Fuckleberry Hinn

    Yeah, all that!

  • June 14, 2001, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Screw the racial semantics....i wanna know... just who is Jen re

    by b_mudron

    ...well, it's not really at the end when she screams this, but when Mu Bai & Fox face off for the final time...just who the hell is she referring to as "Master" here? Is she warning Mu Bai of Fox's attack?? What's the sub-text here? Also, i always thought that Jen's jump at the end was tied to Mu Bai's little speech at the beginning of the flick...about his "enlightenment" atop Mt. Wudan...the mention of being surrounded by white light, so quiet, but instead of being jazzed by all of this, he's overcome by feelings of grief and sadness...does he realize that all we work and fight for in this this mortal world still just leads to lonliness and pain, during this enlightenment? If so, it doesnt bode well for Jen during her jump...perhaps, on her way down, she realizes a similar epiphany....and then dies. Or maybe she just goddamn bounces when she hits bottom, like the snowbeast at the end of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Who knows?!

  • June 14, 2001, 10:02 p.m. CST

    "Master"

    by JasK

    What Jen (Jiao Long) called out wasn't "Master", it's "Shi Niang". In Chinese, "Shi Niang" is a respectful title for a master's or teacher's wife. Jen called Jade Fox "Shi Niang" in both the books and the film. In the books, Jiao Long's master was Gao Lang Chiu. Jade Fox pretended to be his wife in order to hide in Yu's household. Hence, the "Shi Niang" title. In the film, Gao wasn't mentioned (he's dead by the time the film started), but they still kept the "Shi Niang" title for Jade Fox. Clearly, Jiao Long's shocked to see Jade Fox be killed by LMB. She still had attachment to Jade Fox.