Kung Fu Panda has Chinese Artist Seeing Green
DreamWorks Studios has recently been the recipient of a Chinese artist's ire over how they portrayed Po, the bumbling panda character in it's recent release Kung Fu Panda. The artist, Zhao Bandi, has tried to get the film boycotted in China. He points out his major concerns with the character Po and demands an apology from DreamWorks. Namely, the fact the panda has green eyes, a father who is a duck and most of all...wait, that's it. Just those two points.
"A panda with green eyes has the feeling of evil. I have studied oil painting, and we would never use green eyes to describe a kind-hearted figure. So I ask them to open their creative meeting records of this film and explain why the green eyes.
"Next, why is the panda's father is a duck? Many foreigners think the giant panda is not just China's symbol, but also the Chinese people's symbol. Drawing the father of the giant panda as a duck is an insult to the Chinese people. In a few years time, I'm worried some young Chinese people will think their ancestor is Donald Duck."
Those may be legitimate complaints if you are a three year-old expert in Chinese color psychology, but I'm willing to bet that those two facts are pretty easily overlooked by anyone who went to see the film. If Mr. Zhao had seen the recent chapter of the Indiana Jones saga, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, he might actually get a taste for what is truly infuriating in film. Instead, he continues to build his case against the film citing Hollywood as a whole and hoping anyone who is listening will call DreamWorks guilty by association. His blog states:
Hollywood exploits Chinese culture with films like Kung Fu Panda; DreamWorks was cofounded by Steven Spielberg, who pulled out of his role as artistic director of the Beijing Olympics; and, like the film itself, Sharon Stone comes from America, and look what she had to say about the possible cause of the devastating quake!
OK, so he has a point about Sharon Stone being evil, but until I see proof of her sitting at the Animation Director's desk instructing him on the color of Po's eyes I'm reserving judgement on the film. To date, Mr. Zhao has only been able to rally enough support to delay the film's release in the earthquake-ravaged Sichuan district, and fellow Chinese citizens aren't nearly as concerned about any of his claims.
"This is completely a waste of time," one unconcerned citizen blogged last month in a message board on the Xinhua news agency website. "There is no need for such sensitivity. China's cultural heritage belongs to the world."
"His thinking is too narrow," added a Kung Fu Panda fan. "Chinese things can only be shot by the Chinese people themselves? Ridiculous! Does everything have to relate to patriotism? He is just an angry man. It is a very good film."
For the record, I think we're all in agreement.