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长城脚下打怪兽,张艺谋新片能否走出去?

更新时间:2016-12-23 10:53:03 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The East Lobs a Blockbuster-Hopeful to the West With ‘The Great Wall’
长城脚下打怪兽,张艺谋新片能否走出去?

LOS ANGELES — “The Great Wall,” an epic fantasy film that cost at least $150 million to make, opens with Matt Damon fleeing on horseback through red stone formations in Northwest China. A snarling swarm of razor-toothed green monsters is hot on his heels.

洛杉矶——制作成本至少为1.5亿美元的史诗级魔幻电影《长城》,以马背上的马特·达蒙(Matt Damon)在中国西北地区飞速穿越红石山峦开场。一大群牙尖齿利的绿色怪兽在他身后紧追不舍。

One fast plot twist later, he stands atop a monumental stone wall, one guarded by thousands of Chinese warriors in dazzling uniforms. Cut to generals with furrowed brows fretting in Mandarin as the monsters come tumbling over a hill.

随着情节的快速转换,他站在了一道由成千上万名身穿耀眼制服的中国士兵驻守的巨大石墙顶部。接着,镜头切换到紧皱眉头用普通话表达内心焦躁情绪的将军身上,此时,怪兽正跃过一座山峰滚滚而来。

Will their megastructure do its job?

他们这个浩大工程能完成任务吗?

The same question, more or less, faces “The Great Wall” as it begins its global theatrical release. The movie, filmed entirely in China, was engineered not just as escapist entertainment but also proof that the Chinese film industry can serve up global blockbusters too — that event films can rise in the East and play in the West. The last Chinese-language film to become a breakout hit in North America was “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which awed with its martial arts and stunt work and took in a surprising $180 million in 2000, after adjusting for inflation.

当《长城》开始在全球各地的影院上映的时候,或多或少也面临着同样的问题。这部电影的整个拍摄过程都在中国完成,按照出品方的设想,它不仅是带观众逃离现实的娱乐产品,还会成为中国电影产业也可以供应全球性大片的佐证。上一部在北美市场大卖的中文电影是《卧虎藏龙》,片中的武打动作和特技令人拍案叫绝。刨除通胀因素,它在2000年获得了相当惊人的1.8亿美元票房收入。

“If this doesn’t work, then I don’t know what will,” said Stanley Rosen, a political-science professor at the University of Southern California who has studied China’s efforts in recent years to emerge as a moviemaking superpower. “The film addresses a lot of the previous issues that China has faced as it’s tried to internationalize its film industry, like language and the lack of internationally known stars.”

“如果这部电影不能获得成功,我就不知道什么样的电影会成功了,”近年来一直在研究中国为了成为电影制作超级大国而付出的努力的南加利福尼亚大学(University of Southern California)政治学教授斯坦利·罗森(Stanley Rosen)说。“这部电影解决了中国以前在竭力推动本国电影产业国际化的过程中遇到的很多问题——比如语言,再比如缺少具有国际知名度的明星。”

“The Great Wall” passed its first test.

《长城》经受住了第一重考验。

Released in Chinese theaters on Friday, the movie collected a strong $67 million in tickets over its first three days, according to the Beijing box office tracker Ent Group. The film’s total after five days was $82 million, as much as “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” collected in China during its entire run.

北京的票房跟踪机构艺恩咨询(EntGroup)称,于周五在中国影院上映的这部电影,头三天就席卷了6700万美元的票房。五天后,其票房收入达到了8200万美元,与《神奇动物去哪里》(Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)在中国的票房总收入相当。

“Step 1 went really, really well,” said Thomas Tull, chief executive of Legendary Entertainment, which produced “The Great Wall” with Universal Pictures, China’s Le Vision Pictures and China Film Group. “Given market conditions, I feel like it was a big success,” Mr. Tull added, noting that the Chinese box office has lately been in a funk, with growth slowing sharply, partly because of a glut of fantasies.

“第一步非常非常顺利,”传奇娱乐(Legendary Entertainment)的首席执行官托马斯·图尔(Thomas Tull)说——该公司与环球影业(Universal Pictures)以及中国的乐视影业、中影集团共同制作了《长城》。“鉴于当前的市场状况,我觉得它堪称大获成功,”图尔继续说道。他指出,最近,中国的票房收入增速陡然放缓,令人茫然失措,在某种程度上是因为存在太多不切实际的幻想。

Even so, “The Great Wall” remains a long way from the box office threshold Legendary ultimately hopes to hit in China — $200 million or so for its full run — and some analysts were underwhelmed by turnout given the marketing push the film received. Before its release, expectations for the film had become as considerable as the epochal structure for which it was named. Marketing efforts included two trailers, three music videos, 60 online video ads and stunts in 260 shopping malls owned by the Dalian Wanda Group, the Chinese conglomerate that bought Legendary for $3.5 billion in January.

即便如此,要达到传奇娱乐设定的终极目标,《长城》仍有很长一段路要走——该公司希望在中国收获2亿美元左右的总票房。另外,鉴于这部电影的营销力度极大,其票房成果没能让一些分析人士感到兴奋。《长城》上映前,人们抱有非常大的期望,大到和那座让该片得名的划时代建筑不相上下。相关营销举措包括推出两个预告片、三个MV、60个线上视频广告,以及在大连万达集团旗下的260座商场里开展宣传活动。万达是于今年1月份出资35亿美元收购传奇娱乐的中国企业集团。

“It’s too soon to say,” Mr. Tull said, when asked whether he thought the film, which drew mixed reviews in China, would be profitable.

“现在下结论为时过早,”当被问及这部在中国褒贬不一的电影是否会盈利时,图尔回答。

The crucial test lies ahead. “The Great Wall” arrives in North American multiplexes on Feb. 17. Movie executives say prospects in the United States and Canada come down to one question: Are ticket buyers ready to embrace a film that is very much Chinese, even if it does have an American star in a lead role?

前方还有至关重要的考验。《长城》将于明年2月17日登陆北美的多厅影院。高管们表示,该片在美国和加拿大的前景取决于一个问题:购票者真的做好了接受一部非常中国化的影片的准备了吗?虽说片中的确有一名主演是美国明星。

“It’s daunting,” said Peter Loehr, a Legendary executive in Beijing and one of the film’s producers. “I do hope it works, but I don’t know.”

“情况很严峻,”传奇娱乐驻北京高管、该片制片人之一罗异(Peter Loehr)说。“我当然希望它获得成功,但我说不准。”

The People’s Daily, even weighed in on “The Great Wall” this week, publishing a commentary following what it called “lively online criticism” of the film. “Even if it is successful in overseas markets, the road on which Chinese culture goes out to the world is bound to be bumpy,” the article said.

本周,就连《人民日报》也对《长城》发表了意见。该报在它所说的“网上那些七嘴八舌的批评”出现后,刊发了一篇评论文章。文中说,《长城》“即便在海外市场大获成功了,中国文化走出去的路总体而言也注定是坎坷不平的”。

Directed by Zhang Yimou, known for films like “House of Flying Daggers” and for orchestrating the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, “The Great Wall” finds Mr. Damon in ancient China as William Garin, a bedraggled European mercenary. Garin and his partner (Pedro Pascal, known for Netflix’s “Narcos”) soon discover that the wall was not, as history tells it, erected to keep out invading nomads, but rather to protect against the mythical flesh-eating creatures that rush the wall every 60 years in an attack on humanity.

《长城》的导演张艺谋声名显赫,曾执导过《十面埋伏》等影片以及2008年北京奥运会开幕式。达蒙在片中扮演威廉·加林(William Garin),一名来到古代中国的失意英国雇佣兵。加林和他的伙伴(饰演者为佩德罗·帕斯卡尔[Pedro Pascal],因出演Netflix的《毒枭》[Narcos]而为人熟知)很快就发现,人们建起长城的目的不像史料所说是为了防止游牧民族入侵,而是为了抵挡一种神奇的肉食动物,它们每隔60年就会冲向长城,对人类发起一次进攻。

Garin spends much of the film learning about the Chinese culture of self-discipline and sacrifice. Meanwhile, there are astounding action sequences as the wall is defended (similar to the siege of Minas Tirith in “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”), and a subplot involving sneaky Westerners, who covet China’s “black powder.”

加林在片中花了很多时间去了解中国文化中的自律和自我牺牲精神。与此同时,人们守卫长城时有很多令人惊叹的动作镜头(类似于《指环王3:王者无敌》[The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King]中围攻米那斯提力斯[Minas Tirith]的场景),次要情节则涉及狡猾的西方人对中国的“黑色粉末”的觊觎。

Chinese stars include Andy Lau, Jing Tian and the pop idol Lu Han. Disney-owned Industrial Light & Magic handled the visual effects. To appeal to international audiences, about 80 percent of the dialogue is in English. (Those portions were subtitled in Chinese for the Chinese run; Western audiences will get a version that is 20 percent subtitled in English.)

参演的中国明星包括刘德华、景甜和人气偶像鹿晗。影片的视觉效果由迪士尼旗下的工业光魔(Industrial Light & Magic)负责。为了吸引全球各地的观众,约80%的对白为英文。(在中国放映时,这些对白配有中文字幕;西方观众看到的会是配有20%英文字幕的版本。)

Mr. Zhang’s extreme close-ups, pacing and use of 3-D effects that come straight at viewers are likely to stand out as a departure from Hollywood’s usual cinematic language, but Ms. Jing’s character may best sum up the cultural needle the movie tries to thread. Her general is at once the supreme leader (in keeping with a recent trend in Hollywood movies to depict women as every bit as tough as men) and strikingly demure when not in battle (something the filmmakers felt made her more viable to Eastern audiences).

张艺谋的大特写镜头、节奏以及对那些直筒筒地砸向观众的3D效果的运用,可能会因为偏离好莱坞惯用的电影语言而显得与众不同,但景甜的角色或许非常好地概括了这部电影竭力展现的文化主题。她扮演的将军是最高领导者(与好莱坞电影最近的潮流相一致,把女性描绘成和男性一样强悍的存在),不打仗时却显得异常的娴静谦恭(电影制作者们认为,这会让她的角色更容易为东方观众所接受)。

Trying to appeal to everyone often warps the result. Movie executives, citing past experiences, say that audiences leave thinking that something was off the mark, even if they aren’t quite sure what.

如果试图吸引所有人,结果常常会适得其反。一些电影行业的高管援引以往的经验称,观众离场时会觉得有些东西不着边际,即便他们并不十分清楚到底是哪里不对劲。

“The biggest challenge in the film was integrating the two cultures,” Mr. Zhang said in an interview in Beijing this month. “We knew it would not be enough to rely on the novelty of the film’s Chinese elements to attract Western audiences. So we spent a lot of energy and time working on the story.”

“我恰巧觉得这部电影最有挑战性的地方就是这个,就是两种文化在一起,”张艺谋于本月在北京接受采访时说。“观众不会光是因为有中国元素,因为新鲜而去看,这个远远不够。所以我们用了很长时间琢磨这个故事。”

Part of the plot — the inclusion of a white hero — has incited controversy. Some critics, judging the film by its trailers, accused Mr. Zhang of giving Mr. Damon a part that should have gone to an Asian actor, a practice known as whitewashing. In truth, the role was written specifically as non-Asian. Mr. Damon was sought for the part because he is a proven box office star around the world, including in China.

部分剧情——一名白人英雄的融入——已经引起了争议。通过预告片来评判这部电影的批评人士,指责张艺谋把一个应该由亚裔演员饰演的角色交给了达蒙,这种做法被称为“洗白”。事实上,这个角色是专门为非亚裔演员而写的。之所以找到达蒙,是因为事实证明,他是一名在全球范围内具有票房号召力的明星,在中国也不例外。

“There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them — the other four are all Chinese,” Mr. Zhang said in a statement when the outcry erupted online in August.

“我们有五个主要的英雄,他是其中之一,其他四个都是中国人,”当这种指责于今年8月在网上爆发的时候,张艺谋在一份声明中表示。

“The Great Wall” will attract additional scrutiny when it arrives in the United States because it comes as some lawmakers question China’s increasingly aggressive efforts to use motion pictures to promote itself. But the movie, if successful, could foster more collaboration between Chinese and American filmmakers. It qualified under Chinese rules as an official “co-production,” a coveted governmental status that entitles non-Chinese film companies to a greater share of the ticketing revenue. Co-productions receive 43 percent of after-tax ticket sales, compared with 25 percent for typical Hollywood imports.

《长城》登陆美国的时候将遭到额外的审视,因为一些国会议员正在质疑中国日益积极地利用电影提升自身形象之举。但这部电影如果取得成功,便会推动中美电影制作者开展更多合作。根据中国的规定,它是一部标准的“合拍片”。合拍片是一种令人垂涎的官方身份,让非中国的电影公司得以获取更大份额的票房收入。片方可以分得合拍片税后票房收入的43%,相较之下,典型的好莱坞进口片的片方分账比例仅为25%。

American studios have struggled to meet the co-production requirements, which mandate the inclusion of “Chinese elements,” a nebulous umbrella term that touches on everything from the film’s financing to its casting, story line and shooting location.

美国的电影公司一直在想方设法地让其影片满足成为合拍片的条件,按照规定,合拍片必须包含“中国元素”,这是一个模糊不清的统称,涉及从电影的融资到选角、故事线、拍摄地点等方方面面。

“The Great Wall” was filmed in locations across China, including in Qingdao, the eastern port city where the real estate-turned-entertainment behemoth Dalian Wanda is building an $8 billion movie facility and tourism complex to attract American productions.

《长城》是在中国各地拍摄的,其中包括东部港口城市青岛。以房地产起家的娱乐业巨擘大连万达正斥资80亿美元在青岛建造一座影视制作设施及旅游综合体,以吸引美国制片方。

“I have a feeling that Qingdao is going to be calling a lot of us back over the next few years,” Mr. Damon said in an interview. “It’s pretty incredible.”

“我感觉青岛在未来几年中会把我们中的很多人再度吸引过去,”达蒙在一次采访中表示。“它非常棒。”

But does he think “The Great Wall” will be a hit on his home turf?

但他觉得《长城》会在他的祖国票房大卖吗?

“I’m not really the target audience for the movie,” he said. “It’s really fun and spectacular in the true meaning of the word. But, then again, I don’t know how to predict what that will mean.”

“我其实并不是这部影片的目标受众,”他说。“实话实说,它非常有趣,也非常壮观。不过,我不知道如何预测那意味着什么。”

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