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Reflections on Mandarin Blockbusters


On Tuesday afternoon (half-price movie day), Sandra and I decided to go see Star Trek. Sandra had never been to the Yichang movie theater and I had only been twice. But, for whatever reason, that day the theater wasn’t showing Star Trek. Well, we already had a sitter and were downtown, so we decided to continue with the plan of watching a movie. The choices were between Night at the Museum (with 500+ elementary children showing up to watch) or Wolverine. We weren’t feeling like trying to translate Chinese into American humor, so went to Wolverine.

Not exactly an intellectual movie, but it turned out to be a good movie for the testing of our language ability. For those who haven’t seen the movie, let me just spoil it for you with this simple synopsis:

Wolverine “Jin Gang Lang”: You killed my girlfriend. I now have these fancy metal claws and I’m coming to get you.

Needless to say, we were able to understand the movie and what happened.

Several days later, Star Trek was showing at a morning matinee. Sandra gave me permission to go see it before it left the theaters. (Can you tell that I’m a novice Trekkie?)

Now, Star Trek was a bit more challenging to understand:

Spock “ShiBaKe”: The Romulan miners are aiming a high-intensity particle beam into Vulcan’s core in order to inject a minute amount of black-hole forming red matter, thereby collapsing the planet in upon itself. By the way, I’m half-human so don’t make me angry.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the movie and special effects. But there is no such thing as a Scottish accent in Chinese. Live long and prosper, ShiBaKe.

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