Today marked the release of Iron Man 3 in Mainland China and the first time we both have been to the Cinema outside of the UK! We headed to the newly opened Cinema located at Raffles City (No. 452 Jiangan Road, Jiangbei) to watch the latest Marvel film.
What's it like at the Cinema in China?
Well firstly to give you a background of the situation in China with foreign films.. They have a quota for the amount of films available for release at Chinese cinemas every year. It used to be 20 films per year, but early in 2012 it got increased to 34 (with the additional releases having to be released in Imax / 3D format).
All English speaking foreign films get released without being dubbed, they just get subtitles instead. So at least for expats and travellers, you can feel rest-assured that when you see a newly released Hollywood film it will be in English. And apart from potential small changes to sequences / scenes, almost the same as the release at home.
If you are feeling peckish, the usual snacks are available at a massively reduced rate compared to at home. In the UK you can expect to pay £6-7 for some popcorn and a drink, in China it's just £1.80. Oh and the popcorn is actually nice! They don't have sweet or butter flavour, but instead a sweet caramel flavour – it's really good!! You can also order meals from the menu as well, if you want dinner paired with the film.
The seats are really comfortable as well, they recline!! Plush seats with ample room – the type that you may be used to be paying extra for in the UK. In the UK a regular 3D release costs roughly £11-12 whereas in China it costs just £5. Even the Imax 3D is cheaper than regular Cinema in the UK!
Iron Man 3, there's a Chinese alternate version?
From what I've read online, Iron Man 3 was part financed by a Chinese movie company, which means they had some say on what went into the final release in China. In the international release the first few scenes involve Tony Starke and Dr. Wu (Wang Xueqi) at the meeting in Switzerland in 1999 and at the end when Tony has the shrapnel removed (by Dr. Wu) – both scenes featuring Dr. Wu not uttering any words from what I read.
However in the Chinese release there's additional footage meant to appease China's movie release board and the production company. As I have not seen the international release, I'm not sure as well whether the soundtrack is slightly different, as the intro music is pretty weird. In fact the whole film is pieced together oddly, almost like the Director had no clue on how to direct the film and stitch it together at the end.
As for the Chinese sequences.. Well they were in Chinese without English subtitles and so we didn't understand everything that was going on / being said. After reading up online about the film its not just us that find it all rather odd and not well placed. One sequence is aimed at promoting Gu Li Duo a local milk based drink as product placement for example.
The Chinese sequences involved Dr. Wu talking to Tony Starke at the meeting in Switzerland back in 1999, Dr. Wu who speaks exclusively Mandarin to Tony, with Tony apparently understanding what he is talking about and replying IN ENGLISH!?? Then other scenes involve Dr. Wu in his office drinking his delicious Gu Li Duo drink muttering something on the phone and totally abstract and away from any part of the story arcs. Then scenes involve Dr. Wu talking to his un-named assistant about the surgical operation they are about to complete, to remove the shrapnel. The surgical scene adds additional footage with him receiving acupuncture needles whilst his chest is half ripped open, how much good that is going to do for the guy!?? Funny quote..
Seriously who the fuck comes to China for heart surgery?
– Shanghaiist – read their review..
Anyway to sum the film up, apart from the silly additional scenes for the Chinese market it wasn't a half bad film. It had plenty of action, humour and drama but with a lot of flaws with the story writing and directing not as good as the 1st and 2nd. I doubt it will grow on me but I guess the redeeming factor was the mention of Croydon as a sort of joke.