‘Avatar’ Movie, Chinese Reactions & Long Lines In Shanghai

James Cameron’s latest film, Avatar, was released in China on 2010 January 2. Many Chinese are familiar with and loved James Cameron’s previous famous film, Titanic
, which is still the number one most successful movie in history. Although Avatar or 《阿凡达》 (“ā fán dá”, in Chinese) has premier two weeks later in China than the rest of the world, it has become very popular and successful as many Chinese are waiting in lines every day to buy tickets to watch the movie.

The Chinese people who have watched Avatar have praised the amazing computer special effects, but this is expected. What is more interesting is how many Chinese people feel the story of Avatar is very similar to a controversial social issue in China.

In the movie, humans use violence to take the land of the Na’vi alien residents on the alien world of Pandora. In China, there are news reports and internet postings about local Chinese governments using violence to forcefully evict residents from their homes (to demolish the buildings and redevelop the land). chinaSMACK translated and reported some of these stories in recent months, such as  Woman Sets Self On Fire To Protest Demolition Of Home and Kunming Residents Believe In Brother Chun To Save Homes.

Now that you are aware of that background, you can understand the sarcastic reactions that many Chinese netizens have posted on BBS forums after watching Avatar

Comments from Tianya (1, 2, 3):


Strongly condemn the Western director for using Avatar to allude to China’s current situation!!


Avatar is the story of violent eviction and demolition [of people’s homes] in China.


The humans actually failed to successfully evict and demolish [the aliens]?
Truly embarrassing.
Why didn’t they send China’s chengguan there earlier?

“With the chengguan, the world is mine, hahahaha…”


On what basis/authority do they openly demand to leave the land and homes they have lived in for generations?


China’s demolition crews must go sue Old [James] Cameron, sue him for piracy/copyright infringement.


Stop making a fuss brothers!

Keep making a fuss and it will be banned like “Dwelling Narrowness“!

And then we will only be able to watch recordings of Mao Zedong.


This film is too reactionary,
encouraging China’s ordinary common people
to use violence to resist demolition!!!
[It is an] attempt to subvert the great China!!


I was shocked by the special effects.


I went to see the first showing of “Avatar” yesterday and was completely shocked! Pandora was so realistic, and [I felt I] could touch it…
After I came back, a coworker’s comment about the movie gave me another level of understanding:
“Avatar” shows the director’s deep understanding and concern for the (forceful) eviction and demolition [of people’s homes] in China!!


Seeing Pandora’s beautiful scenery, I think of the environment around me that has suffered serious destruction.
Seeing the main character’s dauntless energy in fearlessly raising the resistance against the powerful, I think of of the LZ and similar people reacting to society’s injustices only by hiding here [on a BBS forum] and spitting [their complaints].


Looks like American chengguan‘s characters aren’t that much better. Just using a beauty trap, he betrayed [his own].


Epoch-making masterpiece. China’s bullshit directors should go be their apprentice [go learn from them].


Recommend the Celestial Kingdom [China] quickly blacklist such inharmonious movies.


Towards [foreign] devils’ films I have always been critical. No matter if it is good or not [to watch], I refuse to go to the cinema to contribute to the [foreign] devils’ box office. I will keep my RMB to contribute what I can to the country’s economic development. Why should I give the foreign devils’ military funds my blood and sweat money, and then let them fly their planes carrying bombs terrorizing my land. I would definitely not do such a beastly thing.


“Avatar”, Chinese name “A Chengguan’s Vindication/Confessions”
District 9“, Chinese name “Director of Demolitions”
“The Matrix”, Chinese name “State Apparatus”

Welcome those below’s creativity~


EastSouthWestNorth has translated a few more reviews and reactions to the movie Avatar from some more famous Chinese people. Also see this new post by China Real Time Report (added 2010/01/08). More Chinese blogger reactions on GlobalVoicesOnline (added 2010/01/11).


Have you seen Avatar?

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Unfortunately, I have not yet seen it and this is why…

From Liba:

My alarm was set for 7:00 in the morning, but I couldn’t get up, only getting up at 7:30, getting there at 8:15~ [Peace Cinemas in downtown Shanghai, by People’s Square, yesterday Wednesday 2010 January 6]

I was startled when I got there. By the time I was in line, the line had already turned four times. 吐血

There was nothing that could be done except stand in line honestly, but to tell the truth, this kind of spectacular situation doesn’t come often, all to watch a single movie… hoho~

It happened to be time for people to go to work, so the amount of people passing by were a lot, so basically everyone who passed by and saw such a long line felt it was very interesting and, after asking and learning that it was for a movie ticket, they all felt it was a little unbelievable, haha~ 晕

And what more, those buying tickets were basically all young people, which is also very rare because in the past, it always seemed that old people were the majority of those who line up. Of course, there were also a lot of older people, entrusted by their children to come buy [tickets]~ Poor parents, on such a cold day… 爱死你

By the time it was my turn, there wasn’t much to choose from, only morning [showings] and seats on the left and right edges of the middle 10 rows, so I bought them~!! My precious tickets~ 拍手 亲


Let me contribute a photo, taken this morning. 狂笑

The above photo is the Hersey’s World next to Peace Cinemas at Raffles City Mall beside People’s Square in Shanghai. Peace Cinemas is one of the few cinemas with IMAX. It is really difficult to buy a ticket right now and I have decide I must go see it in 3D IMAX. Therefore, I am waiting for the movie to cool down and there are less people later before I can go watch it. :(

From KDS, this morning on Thursday 2010 January 7:

A video if the photos are not enough to show you how crazy the situation is:

Some people like to show off their tickets:


[replying to the commenter who posted the above tickets]

Third row? Brother, I feel sorry for you! Third row, you’re just waiting to get a neck sprain, looking up like that. What more, the upper half of the screen pretty much will be completely unrelated to you.

2009 January 8 UPDATE: New pictures from KDS of people camping overnight to buy tickets…

Avatar movie Neytiri

Aliens to rescue. chinaSMACK personals.

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  • winshu

    Avatar deserve his popularity, it was an amazing movie!
    Hope chinese movie will reach hollywood one day…

    • Marx

      Normally I wouldn’t be supportive of the US, but I agree it was an incredibly entertaining movie to watch.

      This sort of cultural contribution is something the Americans could only accomplish – no other country on earth has the sort of funding, creative ambition, and resources with which to make such a production.

      Maybe that will change in the future, but until then, US culture is incredibly innovative.

      • B. Prichard

        As a piece of technology, this film succeeds. As a film, it’s a trainwreck.

        I’m not sure why the US got dragged into this argument, but, regardless of that, this film, of the three I saw while back in the states (the others being The Road and A Serious Man) was by far the dumbest, most shallow and least satisfying.

        To say that any country is good at creating art in comparison to others is ridiculous. Feel free to take issue with Hollywood blockbuster type movies such as this one, but to suggest that these are made as art rather than a (hugely successful) capitalist endeavor reveals very little thought about the subject at hand.

        One thing that is constant as far as I can tell in both the US and China is the audience’s limited appetite for thoughtful movies. Dopey companies and empty action flicks seem to be the most beloved genres everywhere as far as box office is concerned.

        • B. Prichard

          Companies = comedies. Near homophones trip me up on a near daily basis.

        • hellomoto

          I couldn’t agree more

        • Rick

          B. Prichard,
          Com’on B, you’re being a self righteous, intellectual, better than everyone else jerk… The movie was just pure entertaining, and sent a simple message everyone understands! If you want intellectual movies go to Canes or some place like that to see movies that don’t make $, don’t impact the world, and no one remembers but your type.

          • B. Prichard

            I agree, Rick, but I genuinely AM a self-righteous, intellectual, better than everyone jerk. Also, I think there are much better examples of the blockbuster genre, such as The Lord of the Rings or the Nolan Batman movies. I’m not willing to look down my nose at all movies of the sort. I did think Avatar was a big ball of stink, though.

    • Roark

      A chinese movie has reached hollywood, actually many epic chinese films have (hero for 1 example) have. even a remake of a chinese movie “Infernal affairs” a hong kong film got remade into an hollywood film know as “the Departed.”

      • shanghai Hiro

        Infernal Affairs was a Korean movie!

        • Nagexingqisi

          Some people obviously don’t get this…

  • Walter

    Actually, I was surprised that Avatar could be released in this country. Although, already surprised me that China has cinemas at all. :)

    • C

      Oh my god…living under a rock much?

      Though I guess being on chinaSMACK is the perfect site for you then: bringing China in a modern perspective to people who don’t speak Chinese.

      But then more than half the stuff on this isn’t positive. Ah well. Reality.

      • Walter

        No. Living in a developed democracy much. And China is not that.
        And I can speak Chinese… :)

        • C

          China is not what

          • Foreign

            developed democracy

    • whichone

      You started with a sarcastic commentary on the restrictive expression in China, went to far and now come across as an ignorant hick. I’m surprised you have heard of China.

      • Apple Bee

        Walter the film has as much right to be aired in China, then any other country in the world. And as for China not having any Cinema’s, have you ever been to China? You take the all generalisation are true argument to a new level… Well I can honestly say that all of the east coast cities i have travelled to in China have cinema’s.

        • Walter

          “Walter the film has as much right to be aired in China, then any other country in the world.”
          Wow! And you REALLY believe what you say????
          Think this trough once again, please. Suggested keywords: cum-munism, reg*ime, dick thatorsiph, cenhzursiph, braynwashin propuganda. (sorry for my writing, I guess you understand why I write like this :))
          “…as much right…” Check this please: according to the existing and operative laws of PRC, NO MORE than 20 (TWENTY) foreign movies can be released PER YEAR. Check the list of the banned movies too, please. As much right. Sure.
          “…then any other country in the world.” Any. Sure. Like N-Korea, Cuba, Chad and Iraq. Not I am the one who is generalizing. :)
          Watching the Avatar movie in a cinema is absolutely not as self-evident in China as you think.

      • Walter

        No sarcasm at all. What we have here is a country with the lack of clean air, clean water, basic hygiene, female orgasm, dignity, honour, proper education, heating system, human rights, etc.
        Meanwhile we have poisonous milk, fake and harmful products, stenching(!) female university students, racism, stone-age-like dark primitiveness (ignorant hicks?), cenhzursiph, starving and freezing children and misery.
        No, as practically the whole first level of the Maslow-pyramid is missing, having cinemas in this country, is way not obvious.

        • Hongjian


          ignorant nut actually knows about maslow pyramid? respect.

          Your stupidity is a waste of precious genetic material, natural ressources and living space. It should not be allowed.

    • Mike Fish

      To all the people voting this comment down… ever consider it might be sarcasm? Isn’t it obvious?

      • Hongjian

        only a fish like you would understand his true intentions… nothing to be proud of, actually.

    • Promo

      Dude!! U are really a disgrace to the American people. When people say Americans are so close minded, it’s not wrong. What u know is just what is in ur country. U need to travel around the world and stop being stereotypical.
      Jeez,u’re a disgrace to we foreigners!

  • Rick in China

    Many of the comments show the small-mindedness and self-centered “me me me” mind-set of those who posted along those lines.

    The story much more closely resembles the global problem of countries (US?) invading other countries for natural resources without really giving a shit about the local people, only to the extent that the people/investors back home don’t have a guilty conscience for using whatever was pilfered from their invasion. Military/corporatism hand-in-hand, etc.

    • Rick in China

      Instead of “Pandora”, call it Iraq, instead of Unobtanium, call it oil, instead of whatever corporation it was in Avatar, call it Halliburton, etc..etc..just a representation of what’s happenin.

      • Marx

        Ok. So.

        1) Iraq had a pretty bad dude who ruled the country and had threatened peace in the area many times in the past. The Na’vi didn’t have a strong-arm dictator with a sketchy past.

        2) I disagree completely with the Iraq war, but the oil argument is completely fallacious. Countries do not buy oil from other countries. Oil is a commodity as is corn or timber. It is bought and sold by the companies who produce that commodity or by traders who own some of the commodity’s rights.

        The US government (as an entity) would not have seen any more oil as a result of the invasion of Iraq.

        3) A more apt comparison would be the relationship between early western settlers in the US and Native American tribes (manifest destiny), or indigenous groups in South America and mining corporations that want to exploit the people living on the lands.

        • gth793y

          1)Do you think U.S. gives a damn that there is a dictator in office? Years back, there was a young man sitting in the U.S. Embassy in Egypt plotting with the Americans to whack the then head of government of Iraq , the same young man eventually became the Kurds massacring dictator, who’s doomed by the same government that helped to put him in power. National interests determines friend and foes, not ethics.

          2)Simply because one is elected as the leader of a country does not mean the interest of the country is his highest priority. What line of business was the Bush family involved in that generated such wealth for them?
          After the elected terms, the president is just another man who will have look out for his interest. Politicians who abuse their powers for personal gain is everyday news, but somehow we can’t really wrap our heads around it when happens on an international scale?

        • Soldier

          Marx, actually it IS oil.
          Not that US can loot oil from Iraq, but it can easily have control of the world’s oil faucet if necessary.
          To make it very clear: China (actually not only China, but let’s simplify the situation here) greatly relies on oil imported from middle east. What if a war breaks out between China & US? US can simply send their Navy to block the gulf and filter oil tankers bound to China. Then the whole China will be out of blood maybe in one months. For US troops, it makes big difference for them to have solid control on Iraq, rather than just having limited control on the waters. You can imagine that even if you are not a military expert. It feels good if you have the ability to grab the throat of your potential enemies anytime you want.
          Iraq is such an important strategic point, just like Panama. Want to know which locations on this planet are of strategic importance? Just check out where US deployed (or wish to deploy) their military bases.
          If it’s really for peace/democracy as the politicians claimed, why don’t they maneuver their large troops to middle Africa, which is a shittier place than Iraq?

          • Soldier

            Jones, you must have finished reading all my comment in 1 second. You didn’t get my points.
            I said it’s not to “loot oil”, but to control the highland over the world’s oil warehouse. That’s to obtain an ability to overawe other contries.
            Stand higher and you will find it’s easier to understand those national strategies.
            Having understood US’s Iraq strategy, you may also understand why China must maintain a cooperative relationship with Iran & Pakistan. (check the map) China wishes to establish a route on land to obtain oil from middle east, as a backup for the route on sea.
            Then, you can see another benefit for US to insert their army into Afghanistan.
            BTW, a few years in the *** University of International Studies is really helpful for me to see more.

        • hitman

          “The US government (as an entity) would not have seen any more oil as a result of the invasion of Iraq”…

          Oil is just one of the reason to invade Iraq.. Do you know how much the US gov made after the 2nd World War on Japanese and German currencies? Before the Iraq war, the dinar is probably 300 to 1 USD.. now its about 1150 to 1 USD.. right after the fall of Iraq 7 years ago, it was 3000 to 1 USD… invest USD 1m on dinar you get back USD 10m..
          Let’s just hope US invade another country again..

        • Rick in China

          Marx, you’re very uh…naive. To put it lightly. I’ll only touch on one point:

          “The US government (as an entity) would not have seen any more oil as a result of the invasion of Iraq.”

          Do you truly think the “US Gov’t” is a separate entity from the corporations that fund the people who run it? Are you implying big oil and the privatised military sector do not gain SIGNIFICANTLY from controlling Iraqi oil? If you agree with the big oil gains but refuse to accept that the US Gov’t *is* corporatised, you clearly have very little insight on how campaign funding and senate/congress relationships with industry works. (ie vote now, cash in later.)

      • Alikese

        Thanks for clearing that up, Rick. I would have never, ever caught on.

        I don’t know if you noticed this, but in District 9, if you really pay close attention you’ll see that it is a very subtle allegory about apartheid in that very same South Africa.

      • Instead of “Pandora”, call it West Indies, instead of Unobtanium, call it new land, instead of whatever corporation it was in Avatar, call it Pilgrims / Conquistadors / (basically the white man), etc..etc..just a representation of what’s happenin.

      • C

        Aw why not just stay within Disney realms?


      • Iraq signed its first major oil deal with a foreign company since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry said Saturday [August 30, 2008].The contract with the China National Petroleum Corporation could be worth up to $3 billion. It would allow the CNPC to develop an oil field in southern Iraq’s Wasit province for about 20 years, Oil Ministry spokesman Assim Jihad said. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/BUSINESS/08/30/iraq.china.oil.deal/index.html

  • John Gault

    Visually the movie was stunning. Definitely the prettiest filming I’ve ever seen.

    Im a bit confused at some of the reactions of Chinese people thinking the movie is about china and insulting the Chinese. I didnt see that, personally: I thought the movie was anti company or private corporation, not government, but thats just me.

    But the most ironic thing about the movie was its anti-corporation, anit-capitalist themes, return to nature, live in harmony with your surroundings, etc. All fine ideas; however, it cost 300 million USD to make, used the latest technology and i dont think james cameron is complaining about the millions he is banking on this.

    It might seem hypocritical – extolling the simple navi lifestyle, compared to the technologically superior humans, while making absurd amounts of money and using technology to make the movie that the movie portrays as harmful.

    will cameron or others who agree with the movie’s themes give up their cash, mansions, cars and computers, and move out in the woods like henry david thoreau (or the navi), and live as they have depicted?

    • Alikese

      I know the Chinese aren’t renowned for their sarcasm, but I think the posters were joking when they wrote angry comments about the movie disrespecting China.

      And I think Cameron has a very serious case of “Do as I say not as I do.” But, then again, the self-important usually do.

  • Annoy

    Some dam chinese are so self-centered that thought their nation is the core of the world. Why the heck Cameron have to make a movie about home eviction related matter that happen in China?

    • C

      Calm yourself. Sarcasm/jokes.

    • yahoooooooo

      my dumbass meter is off the chart.

  • NuwayFollowMeeeeeeInsteeed

    I’m looking at the pix and I can’t help but laugh. I mean WTF blue aliens braids? ;) Sexy alien chick.

    If I had the equipment in my basement I would pirate your shit in a sec.


    Well, i watched the movie and think that it was really good, the story was not original but the special effects compensate for it.
    Here in china though they charge more for movies in english and EVEN more for 3-d movies which is an absurd in my opinion, but after all it was worth the money.
    If you are not sure about whether or not you watch, i say go ahead, i am sure you will like it.

  • I’m kinda surprised at the ego of these people. What makes them think the movie was about China? Or that Cameron was even thinking about China at all, past ordering Chinese take-out, while thinking up this movie?

    I think this movie is meant to be a wake up call to people that we need to respect the world we live in and stop destroying it. That’s why the Nav’i, who live in peace with the land, are painted as the good guys and the humans, who come to rape the planet for resources, are the bad guys.

    This isn’t about any one country. This is about all of us, as a whole, looking at what we’re doing to our world and realizing that its resources aren’t endless, and that it can be poisoned to the point we can’t live on it. It’s about us finding ways to live in harmony with the world, rather than just trying to dominate it and destroy it.

    • C

      “I’m kinda surprised at the ego of these people. What makes them think the movie was about China?”

      They don’t. They are just making a comparison.

      The comments you see are [the sarcastic reactions that many Chinese netizens have posted on BBS forums after watching Avatar…]

      That’s all.

      • Mike Fish

        and many of the comments you react to so strongly might be sarcasm as well, eh!?

    • bob

      You must be real thick to not see the sarcasm behind the comments; then again, you are not Chinese…

  • Tristan

    The Na’vi alien DO NOT resemble the Iraqi people: The Na’vi are a primitive tribal culture, no dictatorship and was exploited by a powerful interplanetarian corporation with supports of its government. The word “Na’vi” is actually derived from “NAtiVE Indian” of America. Their land and resources was taken by the West Indian Company run by England. Finally United States makes the final blow to the Native Indian race and culture.

    • allrock

      If one takes the word “Native” and drops the letters necessary to spell Na’vi you are left with the unused letters “ET” extra-terrestrial
      The Na’vi natives take there Reflective Cultural “ethos” roots from many of earths “Real” native cultures massive cultural research went into the films fantasy mirrors reality “reflection” so that people all around the world would relate deeply from there own cultural viewpoint.
      It is Not just native American peoples like the Cherokee, The NaVi tribe is Themselves are called
      the “Omaticaya” which refrences two native cultures , the Olmec and the Maya. both from Central and South America there areTribal references from Africa as well.
      Na’vi means “The people” in the films advanced constructed language created by linguist “Paul Frommer.
      Avatar is a Mirror story film on many levels and its symbolic refelctive elements are “seen” by different cultures through there own Cultural viewpoint Lens,

  • VeerLeft

    I had to stop myself from yelling “If you kick them out of home-tree, they’ll have to come to Shanghai and sell meat-sticks!”… or…”Wow…I didn’t know that Tibetans were blue!”

    • FangYao

      bravo….a great example!!!!

      • raab

        Awful example. The Na’vi weren’t peasants taxed extensively by an aristocratic theocracy.

        • VeerLeft

          How do you know? For all you know the Grand Dragon Rider gets all the best cuts of Upulqi (Pandoran Squirrel?).

          The movie is about a failed ‘Liberation’. LOL.

  • Observer

    The Chinese must be very insecure that they think every movie is about China. Avatar is a rehashed version of Pocahantas! It has nothing to do with the Chinese being evicted! It is about people trying to save their society by destroying another society! Same with District 9, it was a fictional take on the events of District Six in Cape Town when people were forcefully evicted through violent and illegal means. Neither of those films are allegories on ANYTHING TO DO WITH CHINA.

    • shantai

      not to be redundent, but, uh, again… the comments are sarcastic.

    • gth793y

      Congratulations! you took a peek into whats on the mind of an average chinese internet users, his world usually revolves around news and inputs he receives daily.Its easy to associate to what is most familiar to you. While he is bombarded with stories of evictions, I doubt he’s ever taken a class in U.S. history.

  • LOL @ the so called adults paying to see a cartoon about blue hippies, no better than Jap men reading Hentai on the train without any sense of shame.

    • SuperTaoyan

      Cartoon about blue hippies? What is there not to love? Just legalize it, Chairman dude!

    • C

      “no better than Jap men reading Hentai on the train without any sense of shame”
      why’s it got to be japanese men?
      my classmates, particularly the guys, can argue the goodness of porn much better than i can. but man, get some. i’m in the states by the way.

  • FYIADragoon

    I thought it was ok. It wasn’t that entertaining for me. I respect the killer cgi work though.

  • It just looks like Star Trek with better special effects. The aliens are still too human looking. Even if they were basically humanoid in shape by convergent evolution they wouldn’t have perfectly human shaped mouths and some of the other features.

    • Destructor

      Dude, are you serious? Everything can’t be totally logical. Being totally scientifically accurate would take away from the story and be annoying as hell. You might as well make the same argument for Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and any other science fiction or fantasy movie. I bet you think they’re all unrealistic, too.

  • dim mak

    “Towards [foreign] devils’ films I have always been critical. No matter if it is good or not [to watch], I refuse to go to the cinema to contribute to the [foreign] devils’ box office. I will keep my RMB to contribute what I can to the country’s economic development. Why should I give the foreign devils’ military funds my blood and sweat money, and then let them fly their planes carrying bombs terrorizing my land. I would definitely not do such a beastly thing.”



  • Mike Fish

    The idea that government taking away people’s property is exclusive to China is so f-n absurd! Even in the best country now, emminent domain is a part of how occassionaly governments have to get stuff done. Every dam, resevoir, highway, airport, port facility, river embankment, or other major public works project in any place involved somebody, and often many somebodies, having their property taken away by the government. And they likely were neither happy or willing. Sure, hopefully, and usually now they get a could price and there is some sort of due process, but not in the past. Read a book or a newspaper from the US or the UK 50 or 60 years ago. All developed countries have people who have sacrificed their property in the name of the government’s great works. It’s not exclusive to China. People need to stop acting like China’s problems are exclusive to China, that it’s problems are so complex and numerous, as to be un-understandable to non-Chinese. China is not some special victim.

    • Kai

      Dude, Mike, you should know better than this, especially after three people have previously made the same mistake and have likewise been corrected.

      1. It isn’t too strange for people to recognize similar themes to what they are most familiar with in their lives. It is the nature of humans to associate and disassociate, to liken and differentiate.

      2. It isn’t too strange for people to do #1 with sarcasm and a sense of humor.

      I’m willing to entertain that some humor may be lost in translation or in text form where there is no tone of voice, but honestly, I thought the humor AND Fauna’s introduction should’ve made it quite clear.

      The Chinese commenters aren’t so much commenting about the movie as they are criticizing the controversial forced evictions that have been increasingly reported in China’s news. If anything, foreigners should be flattered that the Chinese think such negative and notorious phenomenon only happens with such notability and in such frequency in China, that they think of China first before they think of it happening in foreign countries. If anything, it shows that the Chinese are fully aware that their shit stinks. I thought this would make all the “oh, the Chinese are so arrogant and think they’re the greatest” foreigners shut the fuck up for once.

      • Mike Fish

        “I thought this would make all the “oh, the Chinese are so arrogant and think they’re the greatest” foreigners shut the fuck up for once.”

        Watch out everybody… write something critical of what is a real problem in China, and many other places, namely the perception that one’s own problems are some how different than everybodies elses, and Kai will give you a smackdown.

        Kai, you are making many assumptions. Maybe some of those comments are sarcastic and even funny, but there is nothing that says they certainly are, even in the originals. You just hope they are. It also doesn’t change the fact that many people in China do think that China’s problems are so complex and special. Every place has those kinds of people. What’s wrong with me pointing that out? I didn’t make any broad generalizations, did I? I didn’t say “Chinese people” this or “China does this”! What’s with your knee-jerk reaction? What’s with assuming anyone who questions your view is some foreigner who needs to shut the fuck up? I didn’t call anyone an idiot for thinking that their situation is “special”, did I? Do I have to explain why people think that way? I just pointed out examples, nothing more. Please pick my comment apart and show me where I deserved you telling me to shut the fuck up?

        • Kai


          My comment: “I thought this would make all the “oh, the Chinese are so arrogant and think they’re the greatest” foreigners shut the fuck up for once”

          …was not directed at you personally BUT I do understand how it could be interpreted that way as I was indeed initially posting a reply to you. I just thought you would have known when I’m specifically speaking to you and when I’m just commenting on a general phenomenon. For the misunderstanding, I apologize and I know I could’ve made it more clear.

          I may be wrong, but very honestly, Mike, I don’t remember thinking of you as belonging to that group of people…so I’m surprised you identified with them and thought ME actually telling YOU to “shut the fuck up”. Until now — and again, I may be mistaken — I always thought of you as one of the more reasonable first generation commenters on chinaSMACK. That’s why I said “Dude, Mike, you should know better than this…” because I didn’t expect you to misunderstand the translated comments.

          Unless I totally remember you incorrectly or have you mixed with someone else, you are one of the people I never expect to accuse me of indiscriminately giving people “smackdowns” for saying anything critical of China. I thought you knew me better than that, that you knew my positions.

          Kai, you are making many assumptions. Maybe some of those comments are sarcastic and even funny, but there is nothing that says they certainly are, even in the originals.

          Having read the originals, I disagree. Even so, I’ve stated that I can entertain the fact that sarcasm and humor doesn’t always translate well or isn’t always readily apparent in text form.

          You just hope they are.

          No, I’m much more confident in my understanding of Chinese than mere hope.

          It also doesn’t change the fact that many people in China do think that China’s problems are so complex and special. Every place has those kinds of people.

          I agree that there are many people in China who have a sense of exceptionalism. I agree every place has those kinds of people. I just don’t think anyone should’ve been prompted into thinking that when reading the translated comments. First, I think the sarcasm isn’t that difficult to read. Second, I think Fauna quite clearly spelled it out. I especially didn’t think you would’ve missed it either.

          I understand that not everyone shares the same background familiarity of Chinese netizens OR understands the Chinese language like I do, so there’s always a chance what is obvious to me isn’t to others. I accept that. That’s why I’m responding and sharing why I see what I see.

          What’s wrong with me pointing that out?

          I expect you to not be disingeneous about this. If you want to insist I incorrectly interpreted your comment above as a reaction to the translated comments when you were really just making a separate, unrelated, and non-specific criticism about Chinese exceptionalism, I’ll just have to disagree with you.

          I didn’t make any broad generalizations, did I? I didn’t say “Chinese people” this or “China does this”! What’s with your knee-jerk reaction?

          I didn’t say you did. Why are you applying a common criticism I have towards those guilty of it onto yourself here? You’re misrepresenting my response to you, and personalizing it.

          I apologize again for not making my last paragraph in that first comment clearer. I just thought you’d know when I was switching gears. We’ve seen each other comment for a long time to have a better understanding of each other, haven’t we?

          • Mike Fish


            Maybe a change of words or addition of one or two might have changed the tone of the whole thing. That’s no big deal.

            About hoping those comments are sarcasm, I don’t question your Chinese, I mean you hope there aren’t people who actually post such moronic tripe. Also, considering the broad spectrum of people who post on China’s forums, you must admit there are many who themselves wouldn’t get the sarcasm and would then start regurgitating that bullshit. My Chinese is…okay… show me the Chinese comment for the below, I couldn’t find it in Tianya though:

            “This film is too reactionary,
            encouraging China’s ordinary common people
            to use violence to resist demolition!!!
            [It is an] attempt to subvert the great China!!”

          • Kai


            Of course I hope people wouldn’t post such mornonic tripe, but I wasn’t betting or assuming that no one did. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone did because, as you say, there are all kinds of people in this world and amongst Chinese netizens as well.

            The issue at hand is that people, including you, were taking the translated comments above seriously when I’m confident the comments were sarcastic and self-effacing humor. Since Fauna actually spelled it out, I was surprised people still did so. Since you’re an older commenter on chinaSMACK, I especially didn’t think you’d make the same mistake. Now, I’m not saying there couldn’t possibly have been a serious comment elsewhere, but it would be a stretch to now argue that those responding here were responding NOT to the translated comments but were all along responding to something somewhere else that would’ve justified their reaction.

            The comment you quoted is found on the third Tianya link on the sixth page. It does appear that Fauna attributed it to the wrong person though as it was posted by 大漠苍鹰2007, who was 2 comments earlier than shen92512. I’m sure it was just a simple mistake.

            The comment is also sarcastic and mock overreaction.

    • whichone

      That’s funny, I must have missed your comment in the lou jing post about how racial segregation and discrminations was still prevalent in the U.S. 50 or 60 years ago and people should stop making such a big fuss over it.

      • Mike Fish


        Where did I say government taking property from people wasn’t a big deal? I just said it’s happened before, in many other places. Am I wrong?

        • whichone

          Even in the best country now, emminent domain is a part of how occassionaly governments have to get stuff done.

          Mike Fish, the intent of your comment is clear enough.

          You did not explicitly say it was not a big deal. However that’s like a 7 year-old kid putting his finger in front of his brother’s face and repeatedly chant “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you…”.

          • Mike Fish

            Which one,

            … and I did not follow the above comment with “yippee” or “good stuff”. Clear? Are you wearing coke bottle glasses? Seems you added what you wanted to be there. To clarify, I am against people having their property taken away without due process or proper compensation. I totally support people who fight against corrupt government or corporations that try to use imminent domain bullshit to steal people’s property. Clear enough? Or are you gonna put your fingers in your ears and chant “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you”?

          • whichone

            Mike Fish, I did not mean to imply your comment was juvenile, though re-reading it I see it comes across as such. Whatever your original position or intent is on the issue, in your comment it conveyed to me a levity that I found annoying. I admit my 7 year old kid analogy was probably not the best way to show my annoyance, because now that I am on the receiving end, it pushes some buttons.

            Your position is clear, clear enough, even through my coke bottle glasses.( ⊙ o ⊙ )

    • oh, the Chinese are so arrogant and think they’re the greatest

    • Mike Fish

      Guys!!! Take it easy!!! I was just being sarcastic!!!

  • ZeroStar Louhu

    Fuck those tickets are on 45RMB, In Shenzhen (Louhou) I payed 120rmb at Sun Plaza. FUCK

    • bob

      dude, don’t get screwed! There is this thing called the bit torrent. Look it up!

    • Sara

      Shanghai needs 180rmb for one ticket


        180rmb?? damn, do you at least get to hug the actor or director,or maybe a bonus, free meal, nothing?

      • jack butcher

        fuck, i hate this movie, because american will make a lot from it

        • Anon

          I love it that much more for making you feel bad.

  • Bill Rich

    “The story much more closely resembles the global problem of countries (US?) invading other countries for natural resources without really giving a shit about the local people”

    Reminds me of how China is buying up mines and land from Africa and South America now, today.

  • UnclePu

    It’s a good movie. If you have the chance see it in IMAX 3D, it’s worth the extra cost.

    For drawing parallels with current society I found ‘District 9’ better.

  • Bill Rich

    “I’m kinda surprised at the ego of these people. What makes them think the movie was about China?”

    Huh ? Everything ever written or made is about China. If you f**t, it is about China. If you drink coffee, it is about China. If you say hi to your mom, it is about China.

    There is only one subject in this world: China

  • lili

    “Avatar is the story of violent eviction and demolition [of people’s homes] in China.”
    ..obviously….. that’s why is was thought-up ten years ago…

    all i can say is egotistical, uncreative, unimaginative chinese.. gack

    • whichone

      Sarcasm doesn’t always translate well, most these comments were not meant to be taken seriously.

      • ya know. the comments about “this is all about China” are meant to highlight the issues of demolition for all Chinese reading those comments. (i can’t believe i am spelling this out) as in: this story is about the fact that “we are killing our mother” and in our country, we are killing our mother by ….

        i loved the movie. LOVED IT.

        • Somethin Somethin

          Being the only laowei in the theatre I was kind of pondering that line as how it was being translated and how it actually translated to the other people in the theater. I saw it in the frame of being for everyone on Earth, but with the everpresent examples found in Chinese daily life I wonder how it felt. I know its a preachy, hippie, save a tree starve a baby type line but still I like to think good things can come from people speaking the truth.
          When I was walking out (I don’t claim expert translation here) but most of the comments were pretty damn good, both about the graphics and the different characters. I couldn’t get deeper as my chinese just isnt there yet, but I still like to think this movie put a good thought in peoples heads.

      • Mike Fish


        If there was one serious comment among them, does it not deserve a reply?

        • whichone

          This was likely not a response to one comment among many but rather an unfamiliarity with the style of sarcasm prevalent in Chinese message boards.

          Either that or she decided one serious comment was enough to label Chinese as “egotistical, uncreative, unimaginative”, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, you?

    • Kai

      all i can say is egotistical, uncreative, unimaginative lili.. gack

      You were asking for it. It takes an egosticial, uncreative, unimaginative person to not consider sarcasm and humor and fail to register Fauna’s introductory explanation for what the comments are all alluding to. Some of you are far too locked into looking for something to criticize about the Chinese. Come on, just about every translated comment above was self-effacing sarcasm and humor. Chill people.

      • Mike Fish


        If so many people can take it the wrong way, then certainly there is something being lost in translation. Fauna didn’t say those trite comments were all sarcastic and left it to everyone to decide for themselves, likely because she herself isn’t 100% certain on some of them. Otherwise wouldn’t she have explicitly said “these comments are all sarcastic or humorous” or she would have labeled them individually. I’d love to hear more of her take on it.

        [Note from Fauna: I wrote…

        Now that you are aware of that background, you can understand the sarcastic reactions that many Chinese netizens have posted on BBS forums after watching Avatar…

        English is not my mother-tongue but my English is not so bad, right?]

        • Kai

          I’m not so certain that “certainly” something was lost in translation. It’s one possibility. The other entirely reasonable possibility is that people didn’t read carefully or they’re making knee-jerk reactions on the basis of their preconceptions and prejudices against Chinese people. I can see this same scenario happening to the French or Koreans in similar circumstances, even if they were being sarcastic, because many people also like to accuse them of being arrogant and narcissistic.

          Too much lost in translation? People looking through colored lenses? I think both are possible on chinaSMACK but I personally feel that the latter is more probable in this particular scenario.

          • Mike Fish

            Kai and Fauna,

            “Now that you are aware of that background, you can understand the sarcastic reactions that many Chinese netizens have posted on BBS forums after watching Avatar…”

            I read the original word-for-word. From this comment, I can either assume that “many” still means, not all, or according to some people on this forum it means all. In that case, I should assume even the clearly not sarcastic ones praising the film are also sarcasm???

            Fauna, your English is amazing; you are MY language teacher. Wasn’t questioning your ability. By the phrase “lost in translation” I meant a subtlety of the language that is difficult or impossible to translate. I did not mean to question the competency of the tranlator:)

          • Kai


            I won’t speak for Fauna but the way I interpreted Fauna’s comment was that many of the comments on the BBS forums were sarcastic, and then she proceeded to give some translated comments that included examples of those sarcastic comments. I think it is evident that she didn’t say all of the comments she translated were all sarcastic either, since some are — at least to me — obviously not (ex. 别再叫我美女 & 今天打死五个老鼠).

            Some people, including myself, were pointing out that the specific translated comments certain people such as yourself took as serious were actually sarcastic. We weren’t saying that the comments you weren’t responding to were also sarcastic. For example, I don’t think you were responding to 今天打死五个老鼠’s comment, right? So how could you say the people correcting you were saying that too was sarcastic?

  • The whole story was actually a perfect metaphor for the CCP’s Tibet/Xinjiang policies. It’s refreshing to see that Chinese audiences are embracing this film.

    And actually queuing to see it.

    • Jay K

      i may not fully agree with your comment, but dude its a pretty good short point there. im surprised no one has commented yet on your statement. i had to give you a +1 just for it.

  • FangYao

    3D Avatar : great entertainment + billions USD
    the information is very simple and generic, nothing is too surprise. for Chinese it is easy to reflect themselves, also it can be a good education.
    still sad…such a simple idea, it supposes be a basic human sense, we are still need to be remind!!!!!!

  • fireworks

    Nice special effects and gizmo stuff…

    The plot is not unique or new. Think of it as the same deal as Dances with Wolves and The Last Samurai with a sci-fi blend to it.

    In Dances with Wolves, Kev Kostner gets to bone a American Indian chick and then fights for them.

    In the Last Samurai, Tom Cruise gets to bone a Japanese royalty.

  • Anon

    The comparison to Native Americans isn’t accurate, either. While popular imagination portrays Native Americans as peace-loving people who talked with trees and cuddled with Bambi, in reality many tribes were constantly attacking and killing one another, running entire herds of buffalo off of cliffs, starving to death through winter, cutting scalps off of victims’ heads, and in some parts of central America performing human sacrifices.

    Hardly the lovely world of the Navi in Avatar.

    This is not meant as a criticism of Native Americans – many Europeans were much worse – but reality is not near as simple as Cameron would like us to believe. The same thing goes for Iraq – definitely not a good place before the US invasion. Again, that doesn’t justify the US going in (although a future Iraq just may), but the lines aren’t as clear cut as in Avatar.

    • Spanky

      I thought the movie was about Pocahantas with a happy ending for the natives and for Jim Smith like after you get a massage in Shanghai.

  • of Canada

    If I was living in CHina I also would immedately think about the situation with the government going into places like Xinjiang where all the oil is and overpowering the Uygers. So I was really surprised this movie was allowed to show in CHina. . since it shows people uprising agains their oppressors. . . . Not harmonious at all!


    There are a few laowais here criticizing china about tibet, xinjiang and associating AVATAR with china`s current situation, this will only make the chinese mad.
    Dont forget that England,France,Portugal,Spain did basically the same during colonialism.
    Take Brazil for example, when the portuguese got there they killed native indigenous people to establish their authority and power.

  • Tins of sardines

    I have been told by a friend who used to work in the film industry in China that Chinese movies must rate the highest watched every year. I don’t know if this means more Chinese made films have to be in the top 10 or no western films at all.

    Regardless, he sad that foreign films will only be shown for a short time to reduce the overall number of seats sold.

    I don’t know if anyone else has any idea about this but it seems interesting that the figures are fudged like this if it is true.

    I remember last year when ‘Jian Guo Da Ye’ was playing that every time slot and cinema screen was showing that film only. It seemed that if you wanted to go the movies, you had to watch that.


      about the ”Foreign films will only be shown for a short time to reduce the number of overall seats sold”.
      i would be surprised if they really do that here in china. They are kind of obssessed for this kinda of ”China has more than” stuff.


        sorry, i mean, I WOULDNT BE SURPRISED.

  • VeerLeft

    Watch out dude!!! That Blue kid is gonna steal your com-link!!!

  • krdr

    I think that Chinese people often finds parallels in foreign movies/plays/books… with their current situation. It happened with old Yugoslav movies (“Walter defends Sarajevo”, “The Bridge”) and with some Austrian play that was very popular when I was in BJ. It is not just Chinese characteristic. Everywhere people finds connections with art made in different culture. It just happened that Chinese netizens loves to make fun of everything.

    • bleah

      Do you by chance remember the name of the play?

  • chinglish

    i much prefer hong kong action films to american blockbusters.

    • Stop being so nostalgic, this is 2010 not 1990, Hong Kong stopped making good movies when the mainland market opened up and they had to tone everything down to be Commie-friendly

      • chinglish

        firstly,i understand cantonese better than english,despite madarin is more familiar to me.secondly,mainlanders and hongkongers have the same taste.thirdly,the hong kong films are not so bad as you said.

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  • some1inUsa

    Avatar is not directed towards any one group or
    situation. Its directed at ALL of Humanity.

    We destroy ourselves, the animals, and our planet…
    for money, power, and our own selfishness.

    As a species, we Will become extinct should we not
    change our ways soon…

    Doing nothing is the same thing as doing something
    harmful. A unified voice and direction (teamwork on
    a global scale) ,will be the only way we may overcome
    future tragedies.

    Avatar is an epic experience in Imax3D.

  • Agent Zero

    After reading some of the comments above I just realized that Avatar is going through the same reaction that happened with the Matrix in Egypt.

    The Egyptian government refused to distribute it throughout the country because they believed that Keanu Reeves character represented a God-like figure. Apparently, that was a big no-no there.

    Those that look too deep into the concept of a movie have too much time on their hands. I highly doubt James Cameron spent his time thinking over how he could make a political statement about the government’s taking of land from citizens. If this were his goal then this movie would have been banned a long time ago.

    Just enjoy the movie for crying out loud.

  • hoklodude

    I find it ridiculous when people try to relate this China when clearly Sam Worthington plays a US Marine in the movie. Its portraying the US.

    Hollywood films always portray the United States as the superpower in the world and the only country which can defend the world against UFOs, asteroids and natural disasters.

  • John Yao

    Looks like Jimmy Cameron just bite off Pocahontas and renamed it to “Avatar”. Of course in typical white Hollywood fashion, the white dude gets to sleep with the alien girl…just like it happened in Pocahontas. People of China, please stop supporting these Hollywood movie. You will end up being whitewashed.

  • smatter

    I got you.R U a true Korean or not?

    I must say that you are not alike ture Korean,take this as flattery.

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  • Mike Fish

    Hoping that a bunch of those comments were sarcasm or humor, doesn’t make them so. For every sarcastic comment, there was problem one that was sincere.

  • malagebi

    Fuck Avatar. It’s just Dances with Wolves in Space. Ooooooh it’s 3D! OMFG, let’s wait in line for 6 hours to watch it. Crazy ass Chinese people. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean you have to like it. Herd mentality…

  • Beni

    OMG, stop making this about China again! Its jus a movie! Stop politicise it!

  • yournametobynow

    i have one word

    one word


  • Roy

    It kinda reminded me of Princess Mononoke

  • Swatdowg

    Crazy ppl,…it’s just a movie. Gotta admit that It does serves it’s purpose Bcuz 2 hours & I didn’t blink, nice S.E.

  • forget the nationalism, and cultural association,

    this film had alot of allusions to any culture

    victimized by Imperialism-Colonalism,


    Remember our hero with no legs, the first thing that came to my mind, was I U D 铁雷

    then he takes on the “system…and the Man”

    Its hard to draw comparison between the struggle of China and…well anything else…. completely nationalistic nonsense…. This was a direct criticism of American Hegemony,


    I saw a bad copy…. cant wait until my dude down the street gets a good copy,

    because I cant drink beer, smoke and wear no clothes at the theatre….

    • bleah

      because I cant drink beer, smoke and wear no clothes…

      …and stroke the salami.

      • oh ahaha (sarcasm intended)

        that is what my wife is for,

        now excuse me I have some catching up to do with the real Commentators,

        until the next EPIC story

  • Hongjian

    This movie was shit.

    And you should feel shit for liking it.

    It’s just ‘dancing with the smurfs’ while advocating eco-terrorism and treachery.

    If mankind didnt kicked the shit out of their surrounding nature and weaker peers, that Titanic-dude wouldnt be able to make this fricking movie.
    And on what the hell are these Chinese commenters? The 4kg heroin seized from that Akmal Britguy? Are the Chinese suddently becoming eco-retards like the west? Or are these posters just a bunch of these bitter “new-left” people, practicing whining and moral-apostleing?

    I would have loved to see that awesome human colonel calling in a nuclear orbital strike on these foul xenos, erradicating all their trees and magical bungabunga-shit in one strike.


    • Mike Fish

      Since you are a fucking ASS, why are you including yourself in humanity?

      • F ing 天

        I have learnt a new word,



    • Foreign

      you have a lot of hate in you… did your dad rape you?

      • did my dad rape me?

        alas no

        Mao Ze Dong did!

    • dim mak

      Funniest thing I’ve read on ChinaSmack.

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  • Oh come on…

    am in tears, watching you denouce eachother like something from the Cultural Revolution…

    this has been one of the greatest debates, on this side of the pacific… I mean this SMACK forum, the last 72 hours… Avatar!!

    this is a china based internet forum…. not Roman style Collosium

    but on some levels they are alike…

    we are all SAFE behind our keyboards!!

    after seeing the movie again…. 3D style….with clothes on…


  • Evangeline

    OK, so people from other countries are really so bored that everyone has to focus everything on China? Come on, You truly believe A director like him actually will waste all his years on making this movie to against China’s situation?We should stop doing this to ourselves, not everyone think our country is “that important” like most of us think so, PLUS, we do have so many shit going on which need us to make some “great movies” to allude the reality!

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