CHINA: US Saves the Day, Even in the Movies

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – The movie Pacific Rim, written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, opened this summer to only so-so reviews in the US. The sci-fi story of monsters called Kaiju which emerge from the Pacific Ocean to try and destroy the human race made only $99,331,880 domestically, while the original budget came out to a whopping $190 million.

What’s odd is that the film has been much better received in China, where it spent three straight weekends at the top of the box office. It has currently made over $100 million there, causing it to become one of the best grossing American films ever.  However, it turns out that everybody’s a critic.

Condemned by a Chinese army officer, the movie has been labeled as a propaganda tool used by the United States government to increase support for its military movement toward Asia.  An officer in China’s People’s Liberation Army, Zhang Jieli recently created an opinion article harshly criticizing the film for representing the U.S. as the “savior of mankind.”

One scene in particular offended Zhang because he believes it was “deliberately set in the South China Sea.” Currently, this is where Beijing has territorial disputes with many of its neighboring areas. According to his article, this was done to “demonstrate the U.S. commitment to maintaining stability” in the region.  Zhang was referencing the Obama administration’s desire to move 60 percent of the US’s naval assets to the Pacific by 2020. In spite of pledges from Washington that this is not so, many citizens of Beijing see this as a U.S. effort to contain China.

Is Pacific Rim a harmless popcorn action flick, or a not-so-subtle message to foreign countries?  Let us know what you think in the comments.

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