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2-D Avatar To Be Pulled From Theaters In China

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the hard-to-be-blue dept.

Censorship 344

SimonTheSoundMan notes that Avatar is being pulled from screens in China for being too successful, and too provocative in its anti-authoritarian message. (The 3-D and IMAX versions will remain.) "The communist nation's state-run movie distributor China Film Group is unexpectedly yanking the James Cameron-directed blockbuster Avatar from 1,628 2-D screens this week in favor of a biography of the ancient philosopher Confucius starring Chow-Yun Fat. ... According to a report in the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, the move was made at the urging of propaganda officials who are concerned that Avatar is taking too much market share from Chinese films and drawing unwanted attention to the sensitive issue of forced evictions."

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344 comments

Error (2, Informative)

Silm (1135973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825846)

It might be wise for editors to check the link before placing a story - just a suggestion of course.

The link is broken (1)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825852)

Your link is broken. You added an extra h to the front. Potentially for hyperbole? I don't know, I'm not a computer geek.

Re:The link is broken (1)

kclittle (625128) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825904)

Hidden Hypertext Transfer Protocol?
Hyperbole Hypertext Transfer Protocol?
Hardly Hypertext Transfer Protocol?

Re:The link is broken (1)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825948)

Not only that, but even if you fix the double h and put the requisite slashes after the colon, you get this [latimesblo...rnmenthtml] [warning, link doesn't work]. So you think, "oh I see, they forgot to put the dot in between 'government' and 'html'!" It is then that you realize the url has no slashes or periods at all.

For everyone's hilarious enjoyment, here is the full text of the broken url

hhttp:latimesblogslatimescomentertainmentnewsbuzz201001avatar-pulled-from-2d-screens-by-chinese-governmenthtml

Re:The link is broken (2, Funny)

xOneca (1271886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826210)

How can a correct URL become that "thing"? The initial "h" may be a misspelling, but who has removed all slashes and dots!?

Re:The link is broken (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826402)

slashdot of course. It eats slashes and dots.

Re:The link is broken (1)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826422)

but who has removed all slashes and dots!?

slashdot must have encountered an anti-slash&dot particle.

even if Avatar is out of the theaters... (5, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825888)

This just means it'll spread all the more fervently via sneakernet. That we're doing business with this government while calling Cuba an international pariah is all the more disgusting. Maybe if the Cubans had oil or massive quantities of cheap labor rather than cigars and a nice view....

Re:even if Avatar is out of the theaters... (4, Interesting)

zblack_eagle (971870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826276)

I thought that the Cuban export of importance to the US was a large vocal population of disenfranchised Cuban expats in a swing state

Re:even if Avatar is out of the theaters... (2, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826566)

that's pretty much the difference. when people talk about US/Cuba relations without acknowledging it, it's pretty safe to assume they don't really know anything about the situation.

Cuba vs China (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826392)

Cuba is small and within our sphere of influence. Therefore, it can be abused as much as we like, maligned, embargoed, scapegoated, and even invaded. After we tried to turn it into a puppet state, the local population revolted and threw us out. It continues to remain a symbol of successful resistance to American control. (Critics will point to it's economic failures, which have almost everything to do with the results of our desire to crush it.)

The West tried to the same intervention in China, and the result was the Boxer Rebellion. If China were smaller and closer to the United States, there would be no difference in the way they are treated. Now China has money and a manufacturing sector, so they are "worthy" of being dealt with. So much so that even the hardline nationalists don't dare to insult China and publicly restate their support of a "One China" policy, so when Beijing absorbs Taiwan, America will be able to save some face.

Decades later we are still somehow surprised by the ferocity of indigenous revolt to foreign rule. Though we can turn to romance when it's our ancestors who are doing the revolting. [wikipedia.org]

Twas hard the woeful words to frame
To break the ties that bound us
But harder still to bear the shame
Of foreign chains around us
And so I said, "The mountain glen
I'll seek at morning early
And join the bold United Men
While soft winds shake the barley"

Re:even if Avatar is out of the theaters... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826396)

But it's not even out of theaters in China; they're still running the 3d version on 900 screens. I think what China is defending is national pride, trying to artificially level out the success of foreign vs. domestic films, and preserving the traditional Chinese identity.

As for Cuba, I guess it's the same thing on our part. Our pride can't tolerate Cuba's defiance. Look at Vietnam, and how long that dragged on even though the outcome was more or less certain, because each President knew the American people would hate a "loser" President. Quite a few people consider national pride alone enough of a reason to keep sending people to their deaths, rationalizing that weakness invites aggression.

Piracy (5, Funny)

BiggoronSword (1135013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825896)

Well this is just going to increase the amount of piracy in China. Which of course will piss off the US and the MPAA even more. Great job China!

They've gone too far this time. (1, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825900)

...in favor of a biography of the ancient philosopher Confucius starring Chow-Yun Fat

I expect an outpouring of sympathy from the international community at such a flagrant disregard of the basic human right to not suffer through another Chow Yun Fat performance.

Gee thanks China. (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825918)

This just validates that Avatar has any kind of noteworthy message that we haven't heard before.

Re:Gee thanks China. (5, Insightful)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826266)

Personally, I'd much rather see the biography of Confucius.... Presumably there are like minded people living in China -- so there is an up side.

Re:Gee thanks China. (2, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826448)

Personally, I'd much rather see the biography of Confucius....

I bet you're great fun at parties too.

Re:Gee thanks China. (4, Insightful)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826704)

Are you from one of those jock movies where the only way to be cool is to be completely brain-free? Sorry, but the world doesn't work that way anymore, at least not where I live.

Re:Gee thanks China. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826522)

Personally, I'd much rather use Windows than Linux... Presumably there are like-minded people posting on Slashdot -- so there is an upside to the Microsoft tax.

Re:Gee thanks China. (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826656)

Hey, it does have Chow-Yun Fat in it. It's probably an action flick.

Confucious say respect your elders!

Re:Gee thanks China. (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826666)

Argh... it ate my lt/gt

Confucious say <pulls out retro-styled pistols and shoots some punks in slow motion> respect your elders!

3d (5, Funny)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825922)

So the extra D in 3D is "dictatorship"?

Re:3d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826130)

"Dictatorspaceship"

Re:3d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826188)

no it's Diethylamide. They're turning on this movie like it's lsd. Hippy power!! That' what the Chinese need

Sure the MPAA wasn't worried about piracy? (5, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825936)

Maybe the PRC government did it at the request of the MPAA to cut down on piracy? You can't video tape a 3D movie from your seat. Seriously, when are corporations going to realize that the PRC is an oppressive government and no matter how much they let Wal-Mart grow, or let us feed them KFC, or build our toys for us, we are not making them more free? They are playing capitalist so they don't go the way of the Soviet Union, but if you threaten their leadership, they will shut you down.

Re:Sure the MPAA wasn't worried about piracy? (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826528)

You can't video tape a 3D movie from your seat

I wonder, could you? If you broke the polarizing glasses they give you in two, and put one lens over each of two cameras, mounted a specific distance apart?

I suppose maybe the result might be too lossy to achieve a workable 3d effect. And of course, projecting the resulting recordings would have its own challenges.

Re:Sure the MPAA wasn't worried about piracy? (1)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826658)

Why would you need to place cameras some specific distance apart to record what is essentially two constant stream of frames?

It's relatively trivial to replay the capture, all that is required are two projectors with a polarizing filter over each lenses turned in a way that so that it would work with the users' polarized glasses. Then synchronize the two streams temporally and spatially onto the screen (and play it out of the correct projector), and enjoy your 3D movie.

Re:Sure the MPAA wasn't worried about piracy? (4, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826590)

Seriously, when are corporations going to realize that the PRC is an oppressive government and no matter how much they let Wal-Mart grow, or let us feed them KFC, or build our toys for us, we are not making them more free?

Corporations know that. They also know that China is where they make money. Try explaining to someone that they're doing something wrong when they're paid well to do what they're doing. Doesn't work.

More to the point, corporations *like* China. It is an entire country run as a corporation: a corporation with laws and guns to enforce its profit margins. Individual corporations don't like China so much when their interests collide with China's interests and they get mangled, but right up to that point it's a fabulous situation for them. It's like being the henchman of the schoolyard bully. If you can't be the bully, the henchman is definitely the next-best option.

Re:Sure the MPAA wasn't worried about piracy? (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826600)

Put one lens of the 3d glasses over your cam, and bingo. Ok, so you end up with one of two subtly-different rips, but meh.

Re:Sure the MPAA wasn't worried about piracy? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826606)

You can't video tape a 3D movie from your seat.

Of course you can. Don't be ridiculous. The watching from the video tape is the problem.

Re:Sure the MPAA wasn't worried about piracy? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826710)

Maybe the PRC government did it at the request of the MPAA to cut down on piracy?

Do you realize how stupid that sounds?

This seems stupid. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825964)

My though was the same during the burst of "OMG, Avatar hates American and the Marines!!!!" sentiment.

Avatar is a fairly simplistic (but very well animated) tale of the good guys and the bad guys. Even if the direction hadn't been so heavy handed, the good guys would have been obviously in the right and the bad guys obviously in the wrong. One side was on the other's planet, busy machine-gunning them for their resources. They didn't even have a sincere-to-them-but-monstrous-in-retrospect motive along the "saving the heathens' souls" lines.

Given that, asserting that "OMG, Avatar hates China" or "OMG, Avatar hates America" is basically equivalent to saying "OMG, the policies of the national entity I support could plausibly be seen as being allegorically represented by the cartoonishly evil bad guys in this sci-fi movie!". Why would you admit something like that? Why not just say "Eh, nice pictures, should keep the kids happy, pity the plot was shallower than a wading pool" and keep conversation from drifting in unfortunate directions?

Re:This seems stupid. (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826062)

Because, shallow simplistic plots are sometimes necessary for shallow simplistic leadership to see themselves in the mirror. Even the leadership that thinks themselves so special and smarter than the rest of us.

A movie like Avatar can help people form more complex thoughts and ideas, such as respecting people's "religious" views even if you think they are silly.

Re:This seems stupid. (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826404)

A movie like Avatar can help people form more complex thoughts and ideas, such as respecting people's "religious" views even if you think they are silly.

The Na'vi would be a lot less lovable if they strapped suicide vests on their women and children and sent them toward the nearest Terran checkpoint.

Re:This seems stupid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826596)

The Na'vi would be a lot less lovable if they strapped suicide vests on their women and children and sent them toward the nearest Terran checkpoint.

Oppress them for long enough and they might yet get desperate enough to do it.

BSG bombers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826706)

A movie like Avatar can help people form more complex thoughts and ideas, such as respecting people's "religious" views even if you think they are silly.

The Na'vi would be a lot less lovable if they strapped suicide vests on their women and children and sent them toward the nearest Terran checkpoint.

Like the suicide bombers in Battlestar Galactica?

Re:This seems stupid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826620)

A movie like Avatar can help people form more complex thoughts and ideas, such as respecting people's "religious" views even if you think they are silly.

It's one thing to respect religious views and opinions.
It's another thing entirely to respect the retarded public policy conclusions that they lead to.

Re:This seems stupid. (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826152)

I just considered it a movie. No more. There are a lot of people drawing parallels between the RDA and $group_in_authority and the Na'vi and $persecuted_group. However, I'm sure with any popular movie which isn't using the same stale IP as before, this could be put into place. People alluded the Empire in Star Wars to groups in real life when that debuted.

"Avatar" is a movie, a piece of sci-fi. No more. The RDA doesn't symbolize US marines any more than the UAC space marines in Doom: The Movie.

To me, I was more puzzled by how a race of hunter/gatherers have absolutely perfect teeth to a person, than seeing that fictional sides in a sci fi movie related to real life groups.

Re:This seems stupid. (1, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826412)

I just considered it a movie. No more. There are a lot of people drawing parallels between the RDA and $group_in_authority and the Na'vi and $persecuted_group. However, I'm sure with any popular movie which isn't using the same stale IP as before, this could be put into place. People alluded the Empire in Star Wars to groups in real life when that debuted.

Yeah, I never understood why people compared star wars to WWII. I mean, sure, the "bad guys'" troops are called storm troopers [wikipedia.org], and Darth Vader orders acts of genocide.

That's clearly nothing like Nazi Germany, which also coincidentally had troops called stormtroopers (in English), while Adolf Hitler ordered acts of genocide.

How could anyone possibly compare the two? ...Damn near all themes in science fiction are drawn from present day events, or history. As a child, I too liked to see sci-fi as stories that had no meaningful connection with real life. As an adult, I now see the connections everywhere.

Re:This seems stupid. (1, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826454)

Around the turn of the 20th century, Dr Weston A. Price, a dentist, found indgenous peoples who avoided unrefined foods to
have much better dental health than city dwellers.

Re:This seems stupid. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826558)

To me, I was more puzzled by how a race of hunter/gatherers have absolutely perfect teeth to a person,

That's a very odd thing to be puzzled about. Presumably, being in harmony with nature, they have a very good diet and look after their bodies. Do you also wonder why animals have such good teeth, even though they don't have toothbrushes?

Tooth decay. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826720)

That's a very odd thing to be puzzled about. Presumably, being in harmony with nature, they have a very good diet and look after their bodies. Do you also wonder why animals have such good teeth, even though they don't have toothbrushes?

Is it? A friend of mine is an archeologist, she has spent a lot of time studying human remains, she told me that ancient people on average generally had excellent teeth. Their teeth would sometimes be worn down by things like softening leather by chewing it, by grit in their grain due to the way they made flour by grinding grain rather than crushing it or they'd have starvation markings on the teeth but since ancient people rarely had any large amount of sugar in their diet they often had teeth in better condition than those of most modern humans. It was mostly the aristocracy that suffered from tooth decay on anything like the scale that modern humans do.

Re:This seems stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826724)

I've seen animals with horrid teeth. I've seen dogs and cats who don't get dental care get abscesses, dental calcification, gum disease, etc. after a number of years. A lot of wild animals don't live that long, so they don't have time to get dental issues.

Primitive tribes also don't have perfectly straight teeth, as done by an orthodontist.

Re:This seems stupid. (2, Informative)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826154)

I don't think anyone was suggesting that Avatar symbolized hatred for any nation. Rather the discussion dealt with Avatars simplistic criticism of technology and embrace of the unrealistic noble savage.

Although China is a lot closer to how humans are depicted in Avatar than America is I don't think their problem is with the core message of the movie. Rather, the Chinese government and indeed many Chinese citizens have problems with entertainment where individuals rise up against the establishment. It probably wouldn't have been a big deal if it hadn't been for this movie's popularity in China.

Re:This seems stupid. (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826318)

I don't think anyone was suggesting that Avatar symbolized hatred for any nation. Rather the discussion dealt with Avatars simplistic criticism of technology and embrace of the unrealistic noble savage.

It's rather simplistic to think that was the message of Avatar. Notice how EVERY scientist was portrayed as noble, and how the hero was an ex-marine (and proud of it). The villains were corporate and mercenary slimes.

Re:This seems stupid. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826544)

I don't think anyone was suggesting that Avatar symbolized hatred for any nation.

I think you'll find that there were and are people suggesting exactly that. Hell, even the Vatican made a crazy public statement (although it was not about hating a particular nation, but rather about not endorsing the correct religious model).

Re:This seems stupid. (5, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826252)

The summary is wrong. The article states that there are two quotas at work for all movies: how long they are shown in theaters, and how many foreign movies are allowed to be shown over the course of a year. Avatar stayed on screen for the normal time-period in 2D theaters, and is allowed to exceed the normal runtime in 3D theaters. In other words, the Hong Kong daily made some assumptions about why Avatar didn't exceed the normal runtime for foreign movies. The assumptions might be correct, but are unsupported by anything uttered by officials so far.

Mercantilism (1)

thule (9041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826420)

It seems to me that Avatar is a pretty straightforward telling of why mercantilism never really works out like it is supposed to. It takes huge amount of resources for a nation to occupy another nation and subdue it so that it can plunder the resources.

You would think people would know this story pretty well by now, but then again, people still fall for Marxism.

Re:This seems stupid. (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826498)

It is a bit more nuanced than that: no one is thinking that Avatar hates China, the fact is, as a side theme, Avatar features forced eviction. It wasn't Cameron's primary idea to attack eminent domain, but a lot of Chinese have latched onto it because eminent domain is a serious problem in China right now. The government has forced a lot of people to move, because of all the development that's been going on. Here is a picture [wikipedia.org] of one awesome example.

Because most of the people are opposed to developer's actions in such cases, it has created a rift between the government and the people. The government has required all news organizations to stop reporting on eminent domain cases, and now here is a movie that features forced eviction, and shows how to fight against it. People in China have latched on to that theme.

Re:This seems stupid. (3, Insightful)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826560)

Avatar is a fairly simplistic (but very well animated) tale of the good guys and the bad guys. Even if the direction hadn't been so heavy handed, the good guys would have been obviously in the right and the bad guys obviously in the wrong. One side was on the other's planet, busy machine-gunning them for their resources. They didn't even have a sincere-to-them-but-monstrous-in-retrospect motive along the "saving the heathens' souls" lines.

It started out being more sympathetic than it ended up. Specifically, the idea at the start of the movie was "if we give them enough of [something they want], they'll agree to relocate peacefully, we mine the minerals, everyone is happy." The Avatar program was started to find out what [something they want] was. So.. it started out positive and it turned into warfare when the Avatars figured out there really was nothing they could give the Na'vi so they would agree to move. So then the statement became: "If we give them enough of [bombing their asses], they'll agree to relocate." The military even started out in an almost-humane method: use tear gas to get the natives to leave the area while it was cleared. Then, no tree = no home = no reason for the natives to stick around.

In Soviet China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30825972)

Theaters pulls YOU !

Yours In Voronezh,
K. Trout

Puzzling (4, Funny)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825986)

The 2D version is "too provocative in its anti-authoritarian message" and draws "attention to the sensitive issue of forced evictions" but the 3D and IMAX versions are ok? And censors realized it one week after they approved the movie and a lot of people already watched it? I'm puzzled. Instead could that be a not-too-harsh message to the USA and the world after last week Google affair?

3D version (5, Funny)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826080)

"In a follow-up statement, the China Film Group explained that they could not ban the 3D version of Avatar because it was 'too fucking awesome'. They also explained that they were re-shooting the Biopic of Confucious in 3D, and in this 3D version, Chow Yun Fat plays the title role as a 12-foot smurf."

Re:Puzzling (0)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826458)

The 2D version is "too provocative in its anti-authoritarian message" and draws "attention to the sensitive issue of forced evictions" but the 3D and IMAX versions are ok? And censors realized it one week after they approved the movie and a lot of people already watched it? I'm puzzled.
Instead could that be a not-too-harsh message to the USA and the world after last week Google affair?

The thing is, in 2D you realize how crappy the storyline is and are forced to focus on cheezy black&white ethics to discuss it in disgust with friends ! :)

Of course, I saw the film in 3D so I don't even remember what it was all about. I think the Blue Man Group made an appearance at some point, and it was about flying mountains, dragons, borderline strange inter-species sex and Americans going back in a sequel to get some proper ass-kicking done?

demand and supply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826484)

basic economics
1 Avatar 2D only accounts for 1/3 of revenue for Avatar in China
2. a lot fo demand for imax and 3D edition which greatly suppressed the demand for 2D
3. China film group's next big film Confucius is to be released to theater.

Re:Puzzling (2, Funny)

igadget78 (1698420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826520)

The 2D version is "too provocative in its anti-authoritarian message" and draws "attention to the sensitive issue of forced evictions" but the 3D and IMAX versions are ok? And censors realized it one week after they approved the movie and a lot of people already watched it? I'm puzzled. Instead could that be a not-too-harsh message to the USA and the world after last week Google affair?

They only took the 2D version out of the Theatres because its already been uploaded to the Google Servers via the ie6 vulnerability.

No, it's perfectly logical (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826644)

China has almost 1 billion peasants. Peasants are poor simple traditional people who live relatively close to nature. Peasants are also the people whom governments uproot for resource extraction. Sound vaguely like any movies you've seen recently? Good. So now China's 900 screens running the 3D version are located where exactly? I thought so.

Can they handle it? (1)

shippers (1100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30825990)

At first I had thought they had done this to prevent any further deaths [theregister.co.uk] from overexcitable patrons, but they've gone and left the 3D version wide open - risky!

As a 49 year old feminist grandmother (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826022)

I once read HG Wells write an interesting explanation of why the chinese are losers who generally steal rather than invent. You see it all comes down to their very complicated language/alphabet, takes kids forever to learn, not good for doing work with, so young people spend too much of their time mastering it and then it's not so practical for business or science even once they master it. Therefore with little ability to innovate they become giant photocopyers and steal the work of the grigori perelmans of the world etc. Having said that the dalai lamer is no better, running a corrupt fiefdom forever and enjoying the slaves... suddenly becomes a man of peace once he gets booted and has no power left, where were your peaceful intentions when you lacked any concern for your slaves fuelling your life of luxuRy?

Actually (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826036)

I thought Avatar was about the people triumphing over big business. You'd think that would go down well in supposedly communist China.

Outmoded Classifications (Re:Actually) (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826530)

I thought Avatar was about the people triumphing over big business. You'd think that would go down well in supposedly communist China.

I'm not sure the old classification schemes, such as "communist" mean much anymore. In the old days political control and economic control went hand-in-hand. However, economic freedom and political freedom have become relatively independent factors over time. China offers a fairly high amount of economic freedom but not political freedom. France is almost the reverse.

(A third factor may be sexual/family freedom, being that some nations heavily regulate sexual and family arrangement issues.)

WTF??? (3, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826060)

Chow-Yun Fat as Confucius? I don't recall Confucius firing away round after round against Ye Old Bad Guy or running someone through with a sword.

Re:WTF??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826172)

Shockingly, thespians portray personalities and figures, historical and fictional, that have nothing to do with the person on stage or in front of the camera. Crazy, I know.

Obviously, we need the zombie Confucius. Who else could be better for the role? But down that path is the slippery slope that can only end in welcoming our zombie overlords.

Re:WTF??? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826202)

Chow Yun Fat is turning 55 this year.

Re:WTF??? (2, Informative)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826588)

So? Stallone is what, 64 this year? And yet he managed to slice and dice (as well as shoot, of course) through a whole bunch of people while looking absolutely badass in Rambo. Not to mention The Expendables, which looks even more awesome [imdb.com], if that is even physically possible.

As long as he has some nice shades, a pair of Berettas, and a cool coat, I have high hopes indeed for Chow Yun Fat, the patron saint of guns and kicking ass. Toothpick is optional, but John Woo is highly recommended.

Re:WTF??? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826608)

Chow Yun Fat is turning 55 this year.

I remember when I saw "The Replacement Killers", all the college girls on the front row were practically (or perhaps actually) drooling over Chow-Yun Fat. Now, I realize that was 12 years ago.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, get off my lawn!!!

Purge the Foreigners - at least, their competition (5, Interesting)

rbrander (73222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826134)

Those who imagined that Google was taking a principled stand against Chinese dictatorship might want to read this article in Foreign Policy:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/14/chinas_foreign_internet_purge [foreignpolicy.com]

It builds a strong case that Google was simply cornered into protesting by an extreme and deliberate provocation - the most recent of many that have chased out by blocking or having their buttons pushed until they walked.

After reading it, I can't help but think that this is yet another case of protectionism disguised as censorship. That sounds strange - to most at /. that's like disguising a common assault as a kidnaping. But, of course, to the money guys at the top, protectionism is by far the worse - and more actionable - sin.

Re:Purge the Foreigners - at least, their competit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826472)

Or maybe Baidu is just doing a better job at slipping money into the right pockets. This is China after all.

Protecting whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826480)

Considering the facts that most large and successful Chinese Internet companies -- Baidu, Sina, QQ, Alibaba, ... -- are actually subsidiaries of corporations registered in the likes of Cayman Island, Bermuda islands, they are strictly Chinese companies. Most like they are protecting the portfolios of the officials.

Mandate of Heaven (1)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826208)

I wonder if the film about Confucius will have any mention of his teaching on The Mandate of Heaven [wikipedia.org]. Perhaps I'm just a Westerner, but it seems toe like Chinese government failed to fulfill this mandate long ago.

Forced Evictions... (4, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826292)

IMHO District 9 was an equally biting movie with its critical viewpoint to modern day government censorship and control, as an aside I wonder how that movie went over in the People's Republic of Corruption.

Re:Forced Evictions... (3, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826406)

It might not have made it in the country at all. According to the article, only 20 foreign films are allowed in China at all every year. Avatar wasn't released there until 2010 because in 2009 the film quota had already been met.

As an aside, this policy may sound harsh, but I had a professor who lived in China 25 years ago, and the movie theater was basically a sheet hung up outside with a projection shown on it. And it was so impressive that the people were willing to sit outside in freezing cold weather to watch it (my professor was not willing to). I'm not trying to defend the Chinese government or anything, but if I were a citizen of China, I would definitely say that things had gotten better, even with only 20 foreign movies allowed in, and would probably be willing to give my government the benefit of a doubt.

Re:Forced Evictions... (0, Troll)

antiaktiv (848995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826426)

I was not a huge fan of District 9, but to even consider the two in the same sentence when it comes to political commentary is just silly. District 9 was an overtly critical action flick, Avatar was platitude-filled garbage.
This decision had nothing to do with politics, just the Chinese film industry looking out for its own interests.

Re:Forced Evictions... (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826438)

Since the main villain of D9 was made to be a corporation, I'd say it would go over pretty well in China. I didn't get much of a anti-censorship or anti-government vibe from that film either, it seemed to be a pretty generic "evil corporation and its mercenaries" story. Quite like Avatar, now that I think about it.

Viewing Avatar is a civil right (2, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826332)

The people of China have a natural right to view Avatar. The fact that their current government does not respect that right does not diminish that right's inherent truth.

Re:Viewing Avatar is a civil right (2, Funny)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826432)

The people of China have a natural right to view Avatar. The fact that their current government does not respect that right does not diminish that right's inherent truth.

I let the movie theater know that the last time I had no money and I just wanted a ticket. They didn't bite.

Re:Viewing Avatar is a civil right (2, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826632)

I did not say you could see it for free. I just mean that the people have the right to enter into a voluntary transaction to view the movie for a fee without fear of their government throwing them in jail for having some 'dangerous thoughts'.

Communist logic (3, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826390)

Remember that those theaters belong to "the people" and the representative of "the people" decided it would be a good idea if they were used for something else. There are only 4,000 screens making them a limited resource, after all, and they must be used efficiently. This is strictly an economic decision.

Hey, big Chinese brother is only looking out for you.

Oh, c'mon! (1)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826470)

Look. I can not hold a grudge against any man who takes pride and preference in his own; family, kind, nation, company or foot ball team.

China actually has a good thing in my opinion. While Hollywood moves to feed crap to whoever will watch, they seem to also decide to give those same people something a little less media driven. I wish the United States did something like this, maybe people might gain a sense of patriotism or pride, maybe the United States could make theatres do a mandatory showing for two months out of the year, what Brittany Spears looks like before the plastic surgery, minus the choreography, minus special FX, plus everday cloths. But, men don't like looking at ugly girls is what Hollywood research has found... Point is, a lot of people actually believe something in each one of these movies, and to be reminded of reality isn't such a bad idea. However it might be done, exposure to Hollywood techniques to fabricate sex icons, or diversion into more historical and culturally relevant themes. I mean seriously, it's so bad in America that Americans actually watch "Reality TV Shows"... god forbid they knock on their neighbors door and say "Hi, I'm Jack, how are you?".

Guys, this really isn't a time to try to bash the commie here. China had these cultural integrity programs in place for a long time. Enter Avatar a film that Americans apparently love, slot it to be inevitably cut short by predefined schedules, well known in Hollywood... only to plaster the calculated results across American news outlets to garner a social reaction to the issue. Mean while China is like... what?

I saw Avatar... I thought it was OK. Who the hell am I to get angry because China decides not to show it's citizens something else? This anger steams from some fucked up idea that we have a right to business where ever. You're stealing my customers! This is going to result in potential loss! China has billions of people, I have a right to take a dollar from each of them! This is stupid fellas. It's their decision, and as far as I'm concerned, I applaud their willingness to use the theaters sometimes to give the people something of value, even if it's less "entertaining".

Go China!

Apple Daily... (1)

mldqj (779952) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826534)

I wouldn't take anything Apple Daily says too seriously... The reason that the 2D version is being pulled is that they want to yield the 2D cinemas to the Confucius movie. If they are pulling it for political reasons, why would they leave the 3D and imax version alone?

Violating their WTO obligations (5, Interesting)

sp3d2orbit (81173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30826536)

When the Chinese became part of the WTO, they signed treaties stating:

"China will provide non-discriminatory treatment to all WTO Members. All foreign individuals and enterprises, including those not invested or registered in China, will be accorded treatment no less favourable than that accorded to enterprises in China with respect to the right to trade." - WTO, 2001 [wto.org]

In other words, "all foreign enterprises will be treated the same as domestic enterprises in China".

By pulling Avatar in favor of domestic movies, limiting foreign films to 10 days run time, and limiting the number of screens available China is violating its commitments under the law. It would be like the US banning Chinese manufactured imports because those imports were too successful compared to domestic brands.

China needs to honor its commitments to free trade, or be kicked out of the WTO. Which, coincidentally, would make it legal for the US to ban their imports.

Perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826574)

Perhaps they found unobtanium in 2D film rolls.

Fun fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30826580)

In Avatar, Pandora's atmosphere is deadly to humans due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. That's the same stuff that in real life has been found to be emitted by Chinese-made drywall.

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