Monkey King: Hero is Back (don't laugh) has broken box office records in China since its release on 10 July, grossing 730 million yuan ($117.6m) and handily beating Kung Fu Panda 2 as China's highest-ever earning animated feature: http://www.animationmagazine.net/features/monkey-king-hero-is-back-sets-chinese-animation-record/
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>>237707 Only thing I'm worried about is how much artistic freedom the writers have to express their messages and how much the government sticks their noses into things. Granted all countries have that problem but the West has seen its share of successful works with explicit anti-government themes.
>>237718 The authorities are pretty hands-off when it comes to censorship, it's more about terrifying filmmakers into making changes themselves than fiddling around directly. One of the quirks of the Chinese film market is that there is no rating system - no age restrictions, no parental guidance, no nothing. The state film board ("SARFT") either clears a movie for everybody or clears it for nobody, there is no in-between. SARFT's guidelines for what is allowed and what isn't are arbitrary and known only to them, so filmmakers are left to second-guess what SARFT will greenlight and what they won't. For example, it's a-okay for wee tykes to see Japanese soldiers bayonetting babies out of pregnant stomachs, but it's probably best to leave on that one frame of two ladies in a Shanghai nightclub kissing on the mouth on the cutting room floor, that sort of thing. For a long time Chinese studios shied away from time travel because SARFT criticised how it indulged in nostalgia for despotic feudal pasts, and there was a general fatwa against ghosts because of official edicts against belief in the supernatural. Nevertheless, you will still see the occasional movie, TV show or novel that gleefully delights in ghosts and time travel...because there is no official restriction that can resist the power of bribery. 70% of the current box office smash Monster Hunt was reshot because the main star (Kai Ko) was arrested on drug charges and SARFT rules state that movies should not star actors indicted of offences. But two movies that starred Kai Ko were released after his arrest just fine with no official backlash. Why? Search me. Whether SARFT allows or bans a movie seems largely dependent on whether the censor had a cooked breakfast that morning.
One thing you may notice about all of these projects is the heavy emphasis on traditional Chinese fantasies and fairy tales and kung fu hijinks. Very little modern day concepts, very little sci fi, very little based on anything outside China's borders. You may remember some years back that the Chinese media establishment had a bit of a collective nervous breakdown over the break-out success of Kung Fu Panda (especially the sequel). Even before that, Chinese filmmakers and opinion-formers have had a bee in their bonnet about Disney's and Dreamworks' ability to package a flanderised chop suey version of their culture and somehow sell it to Chinese audiences better than Chinese companies themselves could. It prompted a lot of soul-searching, a lot of incompetent attempts at aping the Dreamworks style in a passive-aggressive way, and most importantly a concerted attempt to study what the secret to Kung Fu Panda's was and see if they could tap into something uniquely Chinese that offered the same appeal. I'm sure, once Chinese studios have found their feet and created their own homegrown success stories, they'll start to branch out into fresh areas and experiment with concepts that can strike a chord with the international market.
I think part of the nineties aesthetics have to take in the kind of gravitation to geometric design and clean gray shades that came from the architecture and interior decoration considered professional. The kind of stuff they saw as cutting edge technology back then. There was a lot of office aesthetics that were considered earmarks for technology, as a sort of counter to the RADICAL social design.
It's a sort of growth from designs started in the eighties, but slimmed down and brightened for the nineties.
>>237664 The diversification of media and sub-cultures in the '90s does make it hard to pin down a distinctly '90s "style", but if we're sticking with kids' stuff I do agree there was a tangible shift towards "XTREEEME!" concepts and trappings. More specifically, the co-opting of rebellious imagery by corporations and the establishment to either sell brands or push conformist messages (y'know, "radical dudes don't do drugs", that sort of thing). Kids my age didn't buy it because the stuff being pumped out was always a bit too sleek and colourful (before the grime filter came down in the noughties). It was like a game we all played with the brands being shoved on us, where we took pride in being smarter than the media we consumed and yet still consumed it, which is where the "irony" part comes in.
One of the things I really like about this show is every now and then they produce a contextualizing episode. At first I wasn't overly fond of Historical Friction, but then I realized it was meant more to shine a light on Pearl than stand on its own.
They're basically directly addressing the issues fans had been complaining about with this sort of demonstration that Pearl had flaws and it was starting to bother them. Which, honestly, is fairly clever story telling in its own right, but still, it made me develop a further appreciation for what they're doing.