Thursday, October 20, 2005

Extreme city makeover

Ni hau! The photos included here could certainly be mistaken for shots from my trip to China two years ago, but they are actually Flower Street in downtown L.A.

The shot to the right is the Westin Bonaventure hotel with, yes, Chinese flags flying where Old Glory used to be; below that is the rear driveway to the Bank of America building (we'll assume those characters represent BofA); below that is the walkway to the World Trade Center, where a banner is touting a better city while the Monrovia Bus Line speeds below; and the lowest shot is a somewhat out-of-focus shot of how they've transformed the street under the 4th St. bridges--notice the Chinese characters on the street itself.

I've heard these are props for "Mission Impossible 3", but what film studio would bother with replicating China in downtown Los Angeles when less than a mile away is... Chinatown? (Even with a Scientologist at the helm.) And as someone who has been to China, I can tell you: everything over there is ridiculously cheap. If it were me, I'd just move the production to China rather than make three blocks of a busy American city look like it. If nothing else, there's no way one could find enough bicycles in car-obsessed L.A. to replicate how many there are even in small towns in China, so you'd have to be over there to achieve that. And as smoggy as this town is, it has nothing on the air pollution in Beijing--trust me.

No, I suspect the Chinese have made so much money from making everything we buy that they're just going to purchase our country, a few blocks at a time. They've found the easiest way to get a "better city" is to just take over a little bit of ours, and by disguising it as the making of a future box office failure, we all blithely allow them to do so. And all this time I've been dismissing communism as a failure.

Thank goodness I already know how to use chop sticks.

Er, I mean, xie xie.


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  4. I pass by this area almost every day on the way to work in downtown Los Angeles.

    I would imagine that they are going for the urban Hong Kong look, not for something that looks like a Chinese Disneyland (as much as Chinatown has been used in various movies, I can't imagine people think China really looks like that).

    By the way, posts that they were filming day scenes at nighttime using artificial lighting devices.


So, what do you think?