Big Fish is one of the few movies that refer to the Korean War.
Directed by Tim Burton,Big Fish is an American fantasy drama movie, based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Daniel Wallace. The film stars Ewan McGregor, and Marion Cotillard. The movie was shot in Alabama in a series of fairy tale vignettes evoking the tone of a Southern Gothic fantasy. The movie received award nominations in multiple film categories. The film tells a story about the father’s legend in a child’s tone. Edward Bloom, an old man always shooting his mouth off, always shows off his marketing adventure. His son, Will, doesn’t believe what his father says, and the father and son gradually drift apart. Until the father may die soon, the son decides to come back to see father the last time, and the son finally understands father’s passionate life.
Big Fish is one of the few movies that refer to the Korean War. From 1950.10.25 to 1953.7.27, Chinese army and the United Army led by America were engaged in the war in Korea. The Military Armistice Agreement on North Korea was signed by the two meant the end of the war which rarely mentioned about by America. Compared to the Vietnam War, the Korean War seldom appeared in the films, newspapers, or political topics. The Korean War is thought to be unmitigated military failure by American that the most powerful country with Land Air Sea Warfare Joint three-dimensional operation was beaten by a poor country with primitive equipped land force. This is the shame and scars for America and American army. Don’t talk about it.
The Chinese girls entertain the troops.
In the film, Edward is conscripted by the army and sent to fight in the Korean War. He parachutes into the middle of a show entertaining Chinese and North Korean troops to steal important documents. The film tells that the actors show programs, and make some mistake at night. When they laugh at themselves to begin the next program, the conjoined twin dancer girls come on stage to show sexy song and dance, and then Edward drops from the clouds without notice. He fights with the soldiers. Then he goes into the tent, and finds two soldiers inside. He beats the two, and gets the important documents. Though the film does not tell the nationality of the soldiers and actors, but the martial arts and Chinese Mandarin shown by the soldiers and actors tell that they are Chinese.
When the conjoined twin dancer girls finish their program, the curtain falls, then the parachute left on the curtain hanging rod by Edward comes into the sight of soldiers. It alarms the Chinese and North Korean troops, and they begin to search for Edward. Edward hides himself in the twin girls’ room, where he hears they speak Cantonese, in a quarrel. The twin girls find him, but he succeeds to convince the girls that if they help him to get back to the United States, he will make them stars. And together they launch a long journey home, when he is unable to contact anyone and declared dead. This limits Edward’s job options when he does return home after four months, so he becomes a traveling salesman.
What do the film people want from the Chinese girls and Korean War?
I have to say that the plots about Chinese and North Korean troops are big failures. All that the film has deliberately done to dig at China make the film narrow and limited.
The film reveals some Chinese martial arts shown by two Chinese soldiers in a ridiculous way. The two Chinese soldiers do the job as two clowns, only without clown makeup. Especially the two soldiers finish the beginning form in the fixed position, looking at Edward and waiting for Edward’s attack, the plot comes to its highest laughter. The beginning form is just the gesture to fight and defense, valued by all kinds of martial arts, not just Chinese martial arts that has it. Every martial master has to admit that Chinese martial arts are delicate systems of fight and defense, and they learn a lot from it. That the film shows in this way just for making fun of Chinese martial arts just reveals that the film makers are lack of common sense.
In the film, Chinese troops are luxuriously dressed, warm and sound. The truth is that the Chinese Volunteer Army was directly exposed to the severe cold in the beginning of the war, and some soldier even fought the American Army wearing an unlined garment. This situation got better when the Chinese troops suffered huge human loss due to the cold, and made great effort to improve the replenishment, but the strike of the logistics from the American in the air always made the Chinese troops in despair. However, The United Nations Army led by the American never won the Chinese troops. On the contrary, many American soldiers have a high respect to the Chinese troops.
For the same reason, the Chinese girls in the film would never be dressed sexy and sexual, because they didn’t have the clothing in fact. In the Chinese troop’s history, literary soldiers to encourage combat troops in the forms of songs, dances, books, and so on, were an effective way to boost morale. But the literary soldiers were no different from other kinds of soldiers, and they ate, wore, and worked the same. So, the Chinese girls should be dressed in poor clothing. And, obscene songs would never appear in such special performance in the Korean War.
The Chinese troops use two languages in the film, the Cantonese and Chinese Mandarin, and surprisingly Edward knows the both. He can communicate with the Chinese girls in fluent Cantonese. A genius! But apparently, he gets a dictionary at hand. And how could he have the Cantonese-English dictionary at hand? Maybe he knows at the beginning that he will meet someone who speaks Cantonese. Or maybe that is the American Army pre-war training that teach them to speak Cantonese, and that is the prophetic vision from Pentagon. And thanks to the Pentagon, Edward together with the two girls put an elaborate plan for escape, involving a whaling ship to Russia, a barge to Cuba, and a small, dirty canoe to Miami, in Cantonese. It is really crazy.
The film involving the Korean War just for dramatic enhancement gives entertainment for the public, in such funny way. But if for dramatic enhancement, there are many ways. At the same time of the Korean War, many profound meaning events happened. Former Cuban President Batista to launch a military coup, American iron and steel industry workers to launch a strike, Bolivian Revolution, and so on, all created a great sensation that time. Edward would lead the American iron and steel industry workers strike to overthrow the American government. And when he is old, he can boast to his son Will that he is the president of America. That would be much funnier. So, the plot about the Korean War is to be criticized for its absurdity and lack of history knowledge.