PT One huge audience (a billion strong) whose love of the PT is right alongside their love of the OT

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Darth Nerdling, Jul 16, 2017.

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  1. Darth Nerdling Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2013
    star 4
    I stumbled on something that I found pretty interesting when reading an article about how the newest Transformers movie is not being well-received in China.

    What I discovered is the Chinese version of IMDb, Douban.com, where it shows that the PT films are right next to the OT films in terms of audience approval.

    Here are their rankings according to douban.com :

    ROTJ: 8.3
    TESB: 8.2
    ANH: 8.3

    ROTS: 8.2
    AOTC: 7.8
    TPM: 8.0

    TFA: 7.1
    R1: 7.3

    Transformers: the Last Knight: 4.9

    (Each of the 6 Original Saga films have about 50,000 votes, whereas TFA/R1 have around 100,000 votes.)


    Besides the fact that the PT films are appreciated nearly as much as the originals in China, there's something else that I find interesting about this.

    The Classic Trilogy films weren't released in China between 1977 and 1983. Chinese audiences were only first exposed to Star Wars with the SE re-releases in 1997, and even then very few saw them in theaters since Chinese cinema-going hadn't really taken off yet. As consumption of American films has greatly increased since then, Chinese audiences have mainly watched the original six Star Wars films in the form of DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital releases.

    As a consequence, the Chinese audience was one place in the world where the PT and OT were pretty much discovered at the same time. This allowed the Chinese to watch the Saga in chronological order, as Lucas now intends, and to view the PT without exposure to any media that has a negative perspective towards the those films. It also prevented the OT from being viewed with nostalgia-tinted glasses, which might affect one's viewing of the PT in comparison.

    So, in China, we're getting more of an apples to apples comparison of the 2 trilogies, and the PT seems to compare very favorably to the OT there.

    So, maybe it really is the case that it's the audiences and the culture that's changed, not the quality or style of the films, and that PT is pretty much just a continuation of the OT artistically.

    Anyway, I thought that you guys might find this interesting.


    One note. Please no criticism of Chinese tastes in films. Not only would that inappropriate it would also be unwarranted. As you can see here, the Chinese Top 250 has most of the same films ranked in the same order as IMDb rankings do, except with many more Asian films in the mix. It's actually sort of startling how similar the rankings are considering how different our cultures are.

    Also, if you want to see some really wild titles for some American films, go there and click "translate." (For instance, the film Inception translates as "Pirates of the Dream Space." lol)
    Last edited by Darth Nerdling, Jul 16, 2017
  2. ezekiel22x Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5

    Much cooler title!

    And yeah, always cool to see how different cultures process pop culture. Very interesting to me that The Terminal cracks the Spielberg top 3 there. I think that one's underrated, especially how it captures a certain charm that I associate with his earlier movies.
    Last edited by ezekiel22x, Jul 16, 2017
  3. Oissan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2001
    star 7
    I don't think it really says much at all. For one, China has a completely different taste in movies that has little connection to other markets. This isn't about good or bad taste, it's about how things can be understood and how well the movies fit to a preferred style. If you look at foreign movies that actually work in China - talking about non-asian movies here - you'll notice that the ones that really hit it off among the general audiences are movies with lots of action and a story that can easily be understood. Old movies aren't really a good comparison in that regard, because the general public doesn't really watch them, leaving you only with the opinion of those who spend a lot of time watching old movies, which is a seperate taste from what the general public would have. Which means you can get good ratings, but those are often based on a smaller set of votes, not really representative of the averages modern movies get.

    I don't think it is really an apples to apples comparison either. The OT came out at a time where the Chinese market was basically non-existent, it never had any run worth of note in China. The PT came out when the market was still negligible, but at least it had a small run. The PT's style is a whole lot closer to the fast-pace action style that is popular in China than the action of the OT is. On top of that, one of the things that made the OT special, was the fact that it was way ahead of its time. This gets lost completely when you only get to experience it a few decades later, a time where it is no match for the visuals of modern movies anymore. This is really what sets apart countries when it comes to the success of Star Wars. Those countries that had a sizeable market when the first one came out still see the franchise being huge today, those that didn't experience Star Wars back then treat it like any other franchise. Hence Star Wars not being all that huge in asian markets that have emerged lately (as opposed to Japan, which was already big and saw plenty of western influence at that time), or being not quite as big in many South American markets.

    The new movies are in an even tougher spot, because they include a lot of the lore from the old movies that simply isn't common knowledge among the average chinese audiences. When the seventh movie is the first with a wide release, you leave the audiences with a lot to figure out, which rarely works well. It did work well for the Fast & Furious movies, but those don't really have a significant lore to remember, it's mostly mindless action that doesn't require remembering a lot of detail from the last ones.

    While these ratings and your argument do have some merits, I don't think it works as well as you think it does. Neither did all these movies had a wide-release and where thus judged by a large audience, nor were they really judged at the time they would have had the biggest impact. The OT would obviously have made the biggest impact at the time the movies actually came out, that effect is completely lost. The PT never got a wide-release either and thus is hard to compare to, while the new ones suffer even worse from the lack of knowledge about the lore of the franchise than all preceeding movies do.
  4. Lulu Mars Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2005
    star 4
    But that's precisely the point here; that Chinese viewers see the Saga as one entity to a greater extent because they were exposed to the original six within a much shorter timespan.
    Last edited by Lulu Mars, Jul 17, 2017
  5. V-2 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
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  6. Jo Lucas Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2015
    star 4
    Of course they like it. Lots of spaceships and explosions.
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  7. Jester J Binks Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2016
    star 4
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  8. Darth Downunder Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2001
    star 6
    Judging by this website they certainty have different tastes. 'Revolutions' is the second highest rated Matrix movie with 8.5/10. A higher rating than any Star Wars film. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is rated as better than The Wolverine. Some of the Fast & Furious movies are rated more highly than SW films. The list goes on.
    In the same way, I'm sure western audience's ratings of notable Chinese movies are not entirely consistent with ratings from their intended Chinese audience. It's to be expected.
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  9. Darth Nerdling Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2013
    star 4
    Actually, I was surprised by how similar their tastes were to our own, with a few exceptions.

    Among the highest rated 10 films on the Chinese rankings, 8 appear in IMDb's top 100. Also, 5 of those films in the Chinese rankings appear on IMDb's top 25, and 2 more appear in its top 50, and 1 of the other 2 films only doesn't appear in the IMDb rankings because it doesn't have enough votes.

    Among the highest rated 25 films on the list, 18 appear in IMDb's top 250, and 3 more would if they had more votes to qualify, and there are a couple Chinese films in there that weren't ever widely released in the US.

    Their Top 25/Top 50 even includes highly-rated old American films like Gone with the Wind, 12 Angry Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and not particularly well-known European films like Cinema Paradiso; Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels; The Lives of Others; and Intouchables, all films that are also highly rated on IMDb.

    It's certainly true that there are exceptions to the general trend, but I think most people would recognize that the Chinese Top 250 is mostly populated with films that are highly regarded in the US too.

    Of course, it's easiest for people to reach their own conclusions about that if they're interested. You can take a look by clicking this link: Chinese Top 250
    Last edited by Darth Nerdling, Jul 18, 2017
  10. El Jedi Colombiano Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2013
    star 5
    LONG LIVE CHINA!

    ^:)^^:)^^:)^^:)^^:)^

    ( I knew I always liked the Chinese) :p
  11. Michael Corleone Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2017
    Interesting find. They're also much more fond of The Godfather Part III and The Hobbit BOTFA than English-speaking audiences.
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  12. Darth Downunder Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2001
    star 6
    Kudos to @Darth Nerdling for relaying some positive PT news. Being objective though, I think he's overstated his case a bit. For one thing, I'm not sure I'd describe these Chinese ratings of the PT as "right alongside" & "right next to" those of the OT. Sounds like a bit of spin given that every PT installment is rated lower than its OT counterpart:

    ANH: 8.3 > TPM: 8.0
    TESB: 8.2 > AOTC: 7.8
    ROTJ: 8.3 > ROTS: 8.2

    & clearly so in the first two cases. Even the third, we see the highly regarded RotS as a lower rated movie than RotJ, which traditionally is seen as merely an above average SW movie. Maybe the Chinese have a thing for Ewoks. A more accurate though less headline-grabbing thread title would've been that in China the Prequels are rated "right below" the OT.
    These ratings are fairly close though, we can say that at least. In taking that as some kind of achievement, the problem I see is that so many around here put forward the argument that the OT is looked on more fondly than the Prequels due to nostalgia. They're iconic movies that Western audiences grew up with from childhood. Yet that's not the case in China. To quote Nerdling: "The Classic Trilogy films weren't released in China between 1977 and 1983. Chinese audiences were only first exposed to Star Wars with the SE re-releases in 1997, and even then very few saw them in theaters since Chinese cinema-going hadn't really taken off yet."

    So for the most part, the OT has been seen & assessed far more recently over there. Many Chinese viewers no doubt discovered them during the PT era & even more so in recent years. So without the benefit of nostalgia, we see 3 movies from the 1970's & 80's clearly rated more highly than the far newer Prequels. Frankly I consider this to be more of an achievement for the OT than anything else. It points to the timeless appeal of those incredible movies. That even without decades of nostalgia they still hold up ahead of the other SW movies. Still, it is notable & great to see the PT being appreciated over there to a greater extent than they are in the more traditional Star Wars markets. Positive reviews of any of the SW films only benefits the Saga & adds to the worldwide audience.
    Last edited by Darth Downunder, Jul 19, 2017
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  13. ezekiel22x Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5


    Yeah, I like any place where the latest Resident Evil movie makes more than Rogue One. Here's to different tastes. [face_peace]
  14. Sith Lord 2015 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2015
    star 3
    I won't comment on figures and ratings. But I can say that watching the prequels, well, at least the latter 2, in cinemas in China was a very "relaxing" experience. Hardcore SW fans don't exist there, people just enjoyed the movies for what they were. The Chinese are much more easy-going about movies. You won't find much fanaticism among them. That's something I really enjoyed during my years living there. You get judged neither by the movies you like nor the music you listen to, totally unlike the West. In the West you immediately get labeled for the things you like. It's so much more relaxed in China! When AOTC came out my family and I bought lots of related T-shirts or caps, as did many local Chinese. Nobody would EVER label you a nerd or geek with no social life for showing interest in a certain movie or music. It's quite possible to see teenagers or elderly guys/women wearing Metallica shirts there. They may really like the music or they may never have heard a single song. In China what it says on your shirt is not who you are. Anyway, I enjoyed the totally hate-free environment that enabled me to watch the PT neutrally without being bombarded by hype all the time.
  15. Darth Nerdling Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2013
    star 4
    @Darth Downunder, actually I chose the phrasing "right alongside" and "right next to" to indicate that the OT was very slightly preferred to the PT. The use of the words "side" and "next to" indicated to me that PT films weren't in the same position but, rather, very close to the OT films.

    If I wanted to say that they were equally appreciated, I would've just said "equally appreciated." I couldn't think of a way to express it that didn't sound clunky ("just a tad less" or whatever) and would fit in the subject line. I also really shouldn't have used the word "love." I initially intended to use the word "appreciated" but that also made it too long to fit. Star Wars doesn't seem to be "loved" in China as much as it is in the US. It seems to be very well-liked, instead.

    Only the most well very well-liked Star Wars films there would crack the bottom of the top 250 in China, but they haven't because they don't have enough votes. There are other films with an 8.1 or 8.2 in their top 250, so 4 of the 6 Star Wars films would presumably join their top 250 if they had more votes, though they would still be ranked lower in their Top 250 than they are in the IMDb top 250.


    @Sith Lord 2015, that's really interesting. Judging others by their tastes is a strange component of US culture that I've known since high school, and I don't know how strong that tendency is in other nations. I've heard many explanations for it. Some have theorized its cause is that the lives of Americans are comparatively easy so we place greater importance on trivial things -- like tastes in films and music. It's also been suggested that we've been greater indoctrinated as consumers so we define ourselves much more by what we like and what we own.

    Whatever the cause, that sounds like a nice atmosphere where one isn't judged on trivial things like your tastes in movies. Personally I like to hear other peoples' takes and the reasons why they respond differently more than hearing why someone shares my point of view. That less combative environment sounds refreshing and more open and diverse.
    Last edited by Darth Nerdling, Jul 20, 2017
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  16. Sith Lord 2015 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2015
    star 3
    Yes, I think that's an interesting observation. I'm not sure if it's a purely American phenomenon, because it seems to be similar in Europe, at least some places. I just noticed it was different in China. People there tend to be more "relaxed" about taste in movies. That tolerance doesn't include politics of course.
    Agree. I find the word "love" to be a little strong when talking about a movie. I'm sure it applies to some people but I myself can't seem to care enough about a movie to say "love". I find "appreciate" to be a better option as well. In a Chinese context "love" if translated literally would never be used about a movie. It may be a language or cultural thing, I really don't have an idea.
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  17. Tonyg Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2016
    star 3
    In many countries in Europe is different also. You can be ‘defined‘ by tastes, but in let‘s say it wider way. If you prefer to watch sport instead of movies or if you like to read instead of watch movies. If you prefer artsy or blockbuster movies. In general, this strong fanatic attitude to particular movies/franchise and mostly SW is mostly American phenomenon. But if the attitudes are more, let‘s say it relaxed, then is normal that something different (i.e. the prequels) would be accepted better.
  18. DrDre Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2015
    star 4
    It's important to consider the fact, that in most countries movies are dubbed, and thus the subtleties of the original performances are lost. In my country movies are always subtitled, and our English is generally pretty good, and so the reaction to the OT/PT is very similar to the US.
    Last edited by DrDre, Aug 11, 2017
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  19. Sith Lord 2015 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2015
    star 3
    The Netherlands? Yes, I heard that you get to see movies in the original version with subtitles, way better than dubbed versions. Here movies are always dubbed but in larger cities there usually are movie theaters that play the original versions, at least the big blockbusters. And of course you are free to get DVDs from amazon.uk or amazon.com. I never watch any dubbed movies at all anymore, only originals will do. I watched TFA in English with Spanish subtitles in Spain, and the movie theater was practically empty except for 3 or 4 other people. Pretty much the same in China when I watched II and III. Well, not exactly that empty but no crowds and lines at the box office. In China movies are only dubbed for TV, while movie theaters play the original versions, of course with Chinese subtitles.
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  20. Tonyg Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2016
    star 3
    In most countries in Eastern Europe where I live the movies in the cinema are generally subtitled and not dubbed (except kid‘s movies) and respectively SW was with subtitles.
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