Kung Fu Panda getting sued by Chinese artist
When I first heard of Dreamworks’ cgi martial arts-driven “Kung Fu Panda,” I figured some people might get offended. It came as no surprise that people were up-in-arms about a film that made light of one of China’s most ancient traditions and one of China’s most sacred animals. That’s just the risk you run when depicting a culture you may not know that well — this film had dealt with it, Wes Anderson’s “Darjeeling Limited” dealt with it and dozens of other movies have had to deal with it, too.
But I never thought anything would come of it. People are offended by what they see and hear in the media every day, and no one ever really does anything about it, especially when the film in question is a goofy romp of a kids’ comedy.
Well, there’s a first time for everything. Variety is reporting that Zhao Bandi, a chinese performance artist, is taking the production company to court in Beijing to demand “an apology from the Hollywood studio for “Kung Fu Panda’s” depiction of China’s national symbol.”
And this coming from an artist who uses “clothes designs for panda prostitutes and panda concubines” in his art. So let me get this squared up — Panda Prostitute.. okay. Goofy cartoon panda kung fu master? No F-ing way, Hollywood.
So, the article talks about how popular the movie has become and how little controversy it has stirred up in the country — “The Chinese are hugely proud of kung fu, and they also love their national symbol, the giant panda, and DreamWorks Animation has been widely praised for addressing these two big issues sensitively in “Kung Fu Panda,” the article says. So what exactly does Bandi have wrong with the movie if no one else is upset by it, and, in fact, pretty much everyone else in China has fallen in love with the movie?
Zhao, who likes to carry a stuffed panda around with him and whose art is all based on pandas, says the fact that Po’s father in the film is a duck is an insult to all Chinese and also the panda’s eyes are green, which is an evil color.
“Designing the panda with green eyes is a conspiracy. 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,” Zhao said.
…Seriously? If this doesn’t sound like a ploy to get media attention and money, I don’t know what does. The guy paints pandas as hookers and he has a problem with Po’s green eyes? First of all, it is an American movie and we do have different cultural codes here. Green, especially green eyes, is definitely not evil here. I think this is just a blatant misunderstanding. I mean, c’mon, you can’t sue based on the eye color of a cartoon panda.
Well, then there’s the more controversial point Bandi brings up; Po’s dad is a duck. Okay, I can see how someone might be offended by that, but guess what? You find out the duck isn’t Po’s real father.
I just debunked everything he had wrong with the flick. I think Dreamworks should pay me the big bucks to defend them in court.
This is one case that has no business being in court. This guy is just being ridiculous, no?
Discuss: Do you think “Kung Fu Panda” is insensitive or offensive?