BEIJING — The latest “Minions” film subtly reinforces a message for Chinese audiences that audiences in other countries don’t. The message is that “crimes don’t pay off”.
An afterword added to this version in Chinese cinemas says that the villain who ends the film as a free man will later be imprisoned for 20 years.
China has long targeted foreign films that mention subjects sensitive to the ruling Communist Party, such as Taiwan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and human rights. In recent years, China’s Film Commission seems to be expanding its reach to ensure that films convey the correct message rather than the one deemed harmful.
This is a difficult problem in a villain-protagonist movie. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is a prequel that tells the early story of Gru, the brainless criminal conspirator in the “Despicable Me” anime series.
Solution: Add individual postscripts for characters and insert credits at the end.
Some say Wild Knuckles, a villain like young Gru’s older mentor, later spent 20 years in prison for trying to commit another crime. Drive to the suburban horizon.
Gru’s afterword says he quit evil, joined the good guys, and, in his greatest achievement, became the father of three daughters.
The actual story told in the original 2010 Despicable Me is a bit more complicated. Guru adopts three orphan girls for his plan to steal the moon. But inside him is an adorable orphan like his father, who melts his frozen heart.
A Chinese film blogger pointed out the postscript added to a social media post, eliciting mixed reactions. Some said the addition was an overreaction to animated comedy. Others said it showed the right value, especially for children.
“I don’t think there’s any need to end with positive energy,” said one moviegoer Jenny Jian. “It’s totally unnecessary.”
According to the China Media Project, which monitors media trends, positive energy is a catchphrase that appeared in China about a decade ago and has been promoted by the Communist Party to promote uplifting messages from the media and the arts. is.
The China Film Administration, which oversees the film commission, did not respond to inquiries by fax. Distributors China Film Co. and Huaxia Film Distribution Co. did not respond to emails.
China does not have a movie rating system to rate the suitability of movies for different audiences. Instead, authorities ask producers to remove or change anything they deem inappropriate before a film is approved for release.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which has grossed 114 million yuan ($17 million) in boxes since its release in China on August 19, has been criticized by Chinese authorities for altering the film’s ending. is not the first time.
In the 2018 vigilante movie Peppermint, the main character is handcuffed to a hospital bed. As her sympathetic detective slips her keys into her, in her final scene, her handcuffs open at the railing and her bed is emptied.
The truncated Chinese version ends with her still in bed before she receives the keys.
— Caroline Chen, news assistant at The Associated Press, contributed to this report.
China adds postscript to ‘Minions’ saying crime doesn’t pay off
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