Monday, June 14, 2010

The Meltingpot Review -- The Karate Kid

Okay, we saw the Karate Kid over the weekend. The theater was packed for a 4pm showing. We actually had to stand in line for tickets (unusual for the suburbs of Philly) and ended up seated in those way too close seats where you have to scrunch way down to gain perspective.

Still, I have to say I loved the movie. I loved the movie because Jaden Smith is too cute. I loved the movie because the Black family moved to China and there were no other Black people telling them they couldn't move to China. I loved the movie because China looked really beautiful and not like an evil empire. I loved the movie because Jackie Chan was subdued, but still awesome. And I loved this movie because the first thing the little Chinese girl says to Jaden Smith's character is, "CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?" Meltingpot readers, you know I high-fived el esposo when that line was uttered. No whitewashing the cornrows. Thank you executive producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith.

That being said, my two sons, ages 9 and almost 6, cried through almost half of the movie. Every time Jaden Smith got beat up, even during the big, controlled tournament at the end, they cried. My older son even wanted to leave at one point because he couldn't stand watching the fight scenes. Mind you, there was no blood in the entire film, but yes those blows looked like they hurt. I think my sons' tears make them empathetic, but I still find it fascinating how they can handle violence in other mediums, but a young kid, being picked on by other kids is too much for them to bear. Bullies to both of my sons are far scarier than monsters, vampires, or even bad men with guns. Why is that do you suppose?

Needless to say, both of my boys ended up cheering and karate-chopping their way out of the theater. They both say they loved the film and my older son now wants cornrows and he starts Karate lessons next week. If that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is.

So Meltingpot Readers, did any of you go see The Karate Kid? What did you think? Apparently it is an almost play by play remake of the original, but that was 25 long years ago so it still felt fresh to me. Will you go to see it? Why or why not? If you have little kids, you may want to leave them home for this one. But I'd say 9 and up should be okay.



Emerson Zora said...

My wife and I (with our childless selves) went to see it last night. I cried. I cried because I am a sucker for happy endings, but I also cried because this was such a thoughtful, deliberate, well-chosen, and well-done project by the Smith family.

I cheered for the little brown boy who developed discipline and overcame his fears, and I cheered for all the brown children who will see this movie and it will change the narrative that they don't even realize is playing in their minds about who they are and what they can be.

I, too, came out of the theatre practicing my Karate moves. :) We will definitely add this DVD to our collection.


Kiratiana said...

I actually took my entire family as well (mother, aunt, 19 year old brother and 13 year old cousin). As a person who loves to travel and experience other cultures, I deeply enjoyed this movie. One, I felt that the movie was multicultural without sacrificing the culture of the cast. The interaction between Jaden and his mother was obviously that between a black mother and child. Jackie Chan and the Chinese youth exhibited the discipline that is characteristic of the culture.

The interracial romance was cute as well!

I can't wait for a repeat. Perhaps Jaden should go to Brazil and do Capoeira...but then I wonder if it will still be called Karate kid?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

It hasn't opened here yet.

I'm so glad the movie is doing well. It's the first big surprise hit of the summer season. Maybe Hollywood will make more non-CGI movies with good stories.

LT said...

You put that so well. Ditto to everything you said.

I love it! Karate Kid Part 2 in Brazil. I'd go see it.

From your mouth to God's ears on the non special effects movies with colored people in them. Fingers crossed.

JBH said...

Thank you for posting this! I have NOT seen this movie...and was a little afraid to go...because I wasn't sure how the Asian/Black stereotyping would be.

Now that I've read your review, I will think about seeing it in the theaters. SO GLAD that China is portrayed well...and, yes, people in East Asia WILL ask to touch your hair (if it's not their norm...blonde, cornrows, whatever).

And, I didn't realize that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith produced it.

It's looking better all the time.

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