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Chinese Removed Digitally from Red Dawn in Post-Production

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 5, 2011 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 5, 2011 |

The remake of Red Dawn featuring a Chinese invasion of America in the place of a Soviet one apparently lingered in development too long since the Chinese have achieved enough iron control of the world to prevent the originally planned release from occurring. The Soviets sent dogs into space and never could have stopped the original Red Dawn. All the dogs died, which is evil enough until you consider that this may imply that the Soviets perfected the technology for canine space zombies, some of which may still be orbiting, hungering. And yet the Chinese have surpassed them, the student truly becoming the master.

After getting slammed in Chinese state-controlled newspapers and shunned by distributors who are terrified of getting blacklisted out of the fifth largest film market in the world, MGM is now using CGI in post production to change all references to China to references to North Korea. As you can guess, this is quite the process given that the entire film is about China invading the United States. And of course it renders the entire film laughable since it asks us to suspend disbelief as a country the size of Ohio with an economy a tenth its size invades the United States. Yes, Chinese authoritarianism is causing self censorship of American films.

Look, this was going to be a shitty film, everyone knew that going in. Red Dawn was not going to be exhibit A in any argument for the artistic merit of film as a medium, but to actually change a movie about the brutality of a dictatorship because the dictatorship in question raises pinky to mouth is somewhere so beyond ironic that it is classified as a mental disorder in the latest DSM. I won’t even bother arguing about artistic integrity, we all know it’s about the bottom line here, so I’ll put it in terms that MGM can understand.

Want a $100 million opening weekend MGM? Call off the digital editors and make your entire advertising campaign a blaring announcement that Chinese communists tried to censor your film, threatened your livelihood in order to shut you up. Raise the ticket price $1 per ticket, with that dollar going to humanitarian and civil rights groups working in China. Put those digital wizards to work adding a subplot of underground dissidents fighting for free speech in China, because if the Chinese government isn’t going to let your film in, make it something that people are going to smuggle in. A company so short sighted that it can’t turn this opportunity into a Fourth of July release date with crowds chanting “Wolverines!” is too addled to be running a business. But then, they are the company that managed to fall into debt by more money than they actually spent making films over the last decade, so I won’t hold my breath.

And just as a side note, I normally try not to use the same header picture as the source I’m citing, as it just seems like good form not to, but in this case I just couldn’t resist. I had totally forgotten that Borat was in that movie.

(source: LA Times)

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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