OPINIONS Hollywood has no monopoly on heroes


Hollywood has no monopoly on heroes

China Daily

13:38, February 01, 2023

A man passes a poster of Wandering Earth II at a cinema in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on Jan 23, 2023. Photo/VCG

Expectedly, The Wandering Earth II, a science fiction movie released during the recent Chinese New Year holiday, aroused fierce discussions on both domestic and overseas platforms, with some accusing it of being nationalistic.

Critics should be rational in their criticism. By using the word "nationalism", they are in a way criticizing the entire Chinese film industry. They said the same while reviewing the prequel to the movie released during the Chinese New Year holiday in 2019.

Western critics always find a way to criticize Chinese creations. It is difficult to fathom what they are thinking, but almost every piece of art that they accuse of being nationalistic has at least one or several Chinese heroes trying to save the world. In The Wandering Earth II, Chinese scientists are working with global colleagues; in its prequel, it was a Chinese astronaut. It seems some Western critics cannot tolerate the idea of Chinese professionals saving the world, even if they are doing it with the help of global friends.

This problem is deeply rooted in their psyche because for long they have watched Hollywood movies, which have dominated world cinema for decades, in which the heroes are almost always Western, preferably white. So it comes as no surprise that the Western critics cannot imagine a Chinese hero driving a space station into Jupiter to save the Earth as in The Wandering Earth, or Chinese scientists raising the idea of traveling in the universe together with colleagues from every corner of the world in the sequel, The Wandering Earth II.

Captain America is white. Batman and Spider-Man are white. In the Star Wars series, even the extraterrestrial Jedi master Yoda speaks English while the evil leaders issue orders in a fictional language. For too long movies have shown white males saving the world. Critics must stop panicking if the script undergoes a slight change now and then.

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