Hi everyone, I am back yet again. Recently, I wrote a blog based on any animated movie from Africa that I enjoy. This time I am writing one about China. Now this one will be a little different than usual. Two (or actually 3) sections will be good movies that I like that take place in China, and the 3rd and 4th will be from video game series, but I'll get to that when I get to that. Anyway, despite some of the sexist cruelty that I personally despise (but to be honest, I despise that anywhere), there are plenty of other things that facinate me about China, like the music, the pagoda architecture, the gongs, and most of all-the pandas! They're one of my favorite animals! So which ones am I going to talk about? Well, let's get started.
China Media 1: Mulan
Whenever I think of movies that place in China, Mulan is usually one of the first that come to my mind. As much as I hate to admit it, there is the Chinese sexism in this movie. The only way a girl can bring honor to her family is if he gets married and gives birth to sons. If they don't then they are considered worthless people! Isn't that a little harsh. Women can't even say anything in front of men, and if they fight in the war, they get excecuted-yeesh! This might seem wierd coming from me because I am actually a man, but I don't like this sort of treatment. Most of it comes from Chi-Fu, whom I heard a lot of Mulan fans hate. Truthfully, I'm not a fan of him either (although I do kinda like his design and his voice actor James Hong). However, for me, the focus of the films is what its supposed to be-Mulan's adventure disguised as a soldier along with her three animal sidekicks, the war horse Khan, Cri-Kee the not-quite lucky cricket, and Mushu the loud mouthed dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy! Trying to make sure Mulan's secret identity as a woman had some rough turns, but it eventually showed that one should be judged by their talent, not gender. Mulan was willing to take the risk of being who she wanted to be, not what her culture wanted. That's what makes Mulan a great heroine in my opinion! Then there's Yao, Ping Ling, and Cho (sorry, I forget the wise fat guy's name), the "Chinese Three Stooges" as my friend Tigerfan45 calls them. Stereotypical men are supposed to strong and mighty. These three guys lived up to Shang's expectations as that stereotype, right? WRONG! They were thought of as weak flops in the beginning of their training, such as the pole climbing, the brick smashing, and so forth. Eventually, they did get as tough as they could, but when assisting Mulan in the climax, they followed Mulan's ideas to kick the Huns' butts and save the Emperor. It shows that brains are one of the best ways to win fights. So yeah, this is certainly a great example of why being yourself is important, whether people around you agree with your choices or not.
China Media 2: The Kung Fu Panda Movies
10 years after Mulan came another animated film that took place in China, which is fun in a cartoon style and emotional like a great motion picture should be. I've said this plenty of times before, but Kung Fu Panda along with its sequel is one of my favorite animated films of all time. If you're guessing its because of Po the panda and Tigress, well,yeah, its partially it. But there is plenty more two it than that. This time, its another one of those worlds where every person is an anthropomorphic animal. The main characters are different unique animals, and the minor background people are usually whatever, sort of like in Spongebob. The films' computer animation gets the details in the background perfectly, including the interiors of various buildings. Like most martial arts movies, the Kung Fu Panda films delivers great fast action-packed fight scenes, sometimes silly but other times intense. Also, they show martial arts lessons based on what the characters are dealing with, like in the first film how to believe in yourself or in the sequel that one must first conquer themselves before conquering the enemies. Also, the Furious Five match some of the martial art styles by being the animal and moved they are named after. Now usually whenever an animal character is just named after the animal they are, like an owl "Owl", or a zebra "Zebra", I find it very lazy. However, since it is only those 5 and they are named after their own martial arts moves, I let it slide. In addition, the music is done by two of the greatest film composers of all time- Hans Zimmer and John Powell. Part of the orchestras are their epic-hero style like what you usually hear from their movies, but also some Chinese orchestra as well. Infact, I researched that Hans Zimmer had to go to China to learn about their music. I've pretty much covered up how these movies relate to China, so I don't really know what else to say. Well, I could just say that I love these films! Skadoosh!
China Media 3: China Levels from Sly 1 and 3
The next two entrees will be about worldwide travels from video game levels rather than whole movies like the last two. I haven't talked about video games a lot yet, but now that I have the chance, I will tell you that Sly Cooper is one of my favorite video game series of all time. In-fact, I still play these games once in a while, especially on summer vacation! Not only are the the adventures classic and fantastic, but every level is in a different location around the globe and they take advantage of everything as much as possible; the music, the landscape, the architecture, the animal character choices, the accents, the list is endless! But for now, I'm going to talk about the Chinese levels in the first Sly game and the 3rd, both of which have the same goal: going after an anti-hero known as Panda King! In the first game, Sly goes after the Panda King for stealing his inherited birthright known as the Thievius Racconus from him and the other members of the Fiendish Five. It feels great to go to snowy mountains after a creepy venture in a dark frightening swamp, much like the first Jak and Daxter. I love the background music in this part of the game, its both feels like China and winter (I often listen to it around Christmas). Most of the enemies are Asian primates, and to get around SLy has to use fireworks, which is something notable about China, and a specialty of the Panda King. Sly gets to use his Thievius Raccoonus moves on the architecture, and as I go further and further, I see more great visuals! It all leads up to the fight against Panda King who uses martial arts and his demolition skills to fight Sly. And then there's the return to China in Sly 3. This time, the Cooper gang must recruit Panda King to use his demolition skills to get them into the Cooper Vault, much to Sly's dismay. This one shows the matter of "honorable" marriages in China. The evil General Tsao has kidnapped his daughter for a forced marriage, and only treats her like property! He is also sexist thinking that Jing King doesn't know up from down just because she is a woman. I'd say he's Gaston and Chi-Fu in a rooster blender. He even prefers servants and obedience instead of friends and affection. Anyway, the rest of the level has great visuals of the Chinese environment, much like the first game. Also, the guards are different animals instead of just primates. There are monkeys for on the types, but there are also pigs and best of all, tigers serving as the flashlight guards. There's also a fight in a bamboo forest, talk of ancestors, and even a fight with a dragon at the end of the level! By this time, Panda King is more of a good guy now, mainly when he convinced his violent side to become the yin and the yang, which is a very notable Chinese symbol! I think I've talked about as much as I could with these levels. If you want me to talk about Sly Cooper in a different blog, I'd be glad to.
China Media 4: Pagoda Peak from Mario Party 7
Much like the Sly Cooper portion of this blog, this one piece of the game taking place in China...or rather, a Nintendo PARDODY of China. I have played a lot of Nintendo games starring Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and so forth, but some of the Mario Party games are the ones I've played the most, and is another one of my favorite video game series. In the 7th game, Mario and his friends are going on a cruise vacation to Nintendo versions of our geographical locations. As you may have guessed, this is my favorite board in the game. For starters, the music definetly sounds Chinses. On top of that, the board's goal is to seek the wise master Koopa who lives at the top of the mountain, like that "seek the wise master" quest. Players start at the bottom, go through a mini village, and go all the way at the top...that is, provided board-game obstacles don't get in the way. You see other Koopa's dressed up like Chinese citizens, and the whole board has great looks. There's a kung-fu building that has three dueling spaces in front of it and even a Koopa practicing Kung Fu.There's also a waterfall to use kung fu to get coins, and fireworks that can get you to the top (hopefully). A little bit below Master Koopa's place is a trail that looks exactly like the Great Wall of China, one of the most iconic things about China! Isn't that a great idea! When you get to the top, you see the wise Master Koopa who gives you good wisdom like "poverty is ever the foe of need" and so forth and gives you a star...unless you don't have enough coins for one. Depending on past purchases or the gongs that can change the price, a Star costs 10, 20, 30, or 40 coins for a star. But even so, you just go back to the bottom and repeat the process until the numbered turns are over. I will also point out that there is a Chinese dragon-like cannon shown, but it is bad news for you. If you land on its green space, you go back to start. Every time that happens to anyone I think "Oooh! That's gotta hurt!" What else can I say? I've had a ton of fun with board as well as the rest of the Mario Party games!
And that was my blog on China medias. I hope you enjoyed this blog. I know I enjoyed writing about one of the coolest geographical locations I think of. Take care, and I'll see you next time.