As recently as February, the film was in development under the title, “Snow and the Seven,” and had what seems to be a similar storyline to what we see today: an Englishwoman goes to Hong Kong for her father’s funeral and realizes that her evil stepmother was plotting her murder, at which point she turns to the warriors for protection. Natalie Portman was rumored to be semi-attached to that project, but whether that’s still the case remains to be seen.
UM this is NOT ALLOWED.
You cannot take an Englishwoman, stick her in Hong Kong, and then make her find seven “ninjas” to save her. You know why there are English people in Hong Kong? BECAUSE OF COLONIALISM. You know why people automatically assume that anybody practicing martial arts in any Asian country is called a “ninja”? BECAUSE OF RACISM AND STEREOTYPES.
And Disney, you know what you’re most likely going to do? You’re going to romanticize this colonial period, this poor down-trodden independent white English woman is going to return to the place of her childhood; her beloved Hong Kong. She’s going to “ooh” and “aah” at the changes, yet reminisce about the good ol’ days, when her beloved mother or RANDOM ASIAN NANNY looked after her.
Then she’s going to go to her dad’s funeral in Hong Kong, and learn that her evil stepmother is out to kill her. I hope for all sake that the evil stepmother is not a Hong Kong native (though I don’t know if Disney knows anything about regional ethnic Chinese differences). Suddenly fierce white English woman is going to start looking for some warriors to protect. She’s probably going to see her main warrior from her carriage, peeking out into the world of the “Oriental”.
Then she’s going to get them all to save her life, while either appropriating regional dress and customs (maybe making main-warrior-she-saw-from-carriage fall in love with her when he sees her) OR she’s going to use them to save her life then run into the arms of her prince. Probably a rich white guy. British rich guy.
There are a ton of places where this could change. Maybe the time period? YAY, say a ton of people because then it won’t be during colonialism. WRONG. WRONGWRONGWRONG. It’ll just be during the current neo-colonialist period that HK and all of the rest of the non-Western world in going through. If a white British woman has the main role, you can’t avoid it.
Maybe, you say, they’ll make one of the NINJAS fall in love with her. Great. Interracial romance. I’m all for that except he’ll be an exoticized concept of the West’s view of Asian masculinity. Yes, he’ll be all muscles and long stringy hair, probably a thick accent because, you know, Cantonese speakers can’t speak English without a debilitating accent *sarcasm*. Sprinkle in a few misunderstandings because of his accent, maybe him rescuing her with his super martial arts, and TA DA. The perfect interracial romance from Disney.
I suppose I should add as a note that this might not be true at all.
Maybe Disney will tackle this subject with a deep and collected look at the impact of British colonialism on the people of Hong Kong. Maybe Disney will investigate the power relationship between a British woman vs. Asian men vs. British men. Maybe Disney will look at the issue of language and English, how the dominance of one will disrespect those who don’t speak it fluently. Maybe Disney will show how the West has continually viewed all of Asia through an Orientalizing lense, where masculinity is only available through the practice of martial arts. Maybe Disney will comment on the socio-economic-cultural stratification that happened in Hong Kong and most of Asia as a result of Western colonialism. Maybe Disney will comment on the ideas of beauty in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia, how white skin became even MORE desirable because of the British system of colonialism that favored whiter skin. Or maybe Disney will hint at the effects of colonialism on the overall trajectory of Hong Kong since the British landed in China.
Ha. I wish.
OMREINCARNATION A WALL OF TEXT. hi :D
Do these people sit around a table deciding the best way to make a movie offensive & wrong before ever bothering with a script? I’m really curious.