Monday, January 15, 2007

"Firefly" and Mandarin

"Serenity" has been airing on HBO recently. What may surprise many Taiwanese expats is that the characters sometimes shout out some Mandarin Chinese here and there.

The movie is based on a TV series called "Firefly" which didn't air very long but which gained a cult following.

I'm a science fiction fan but I can't say I liked the mixture of Wild West with outer space in Firefly. I was curious, however, when the movie came out. It's actually pretty well written and acted. There are some great lines in it as well.

The creator of the series has explained that, in his future, the two remaining superpowers, the US and China, were the ones to pursue space travel. Thus, they formed an alliance and caused a fusion of the cultures.

"This future envisioned in Serenity has two political and cultural centers: Euro-American and Chinese. Characters all speak English and Mandarin, with the latter language reserved for the strongest curse words. However, the tones and pronounciation of these Mandarin words are barely recognizable to the native Chinese speaker."

It's kind of neat to try to pick out exactly what they are saying since they usually mutter the words and have terrible Chinese pronunciation. If you need some help, HBO has Chinese subtitles so knock yourself out.

More here about the movie and how it came about:
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