Crazy high expectations are riding on ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (@CrazyRichAsians), which is set to premiere in Brunei this Wednesday (August 22).
It is the first modern story with an all-Asian cast and an Asian-American lead in 25 years. The last time that a major Hollywood studio released a movie with an all Asian-American cast was back in 1993 – ‘The Joy Luck Club’.
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is based on a novel by Kevin Kwan about three ultra-rich Chinese families and the gossip and backstabbing that occurs when the heir to one of the massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ‘ABC’ (American-Born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
While both movies have all the supposedly family dramas, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is basically ‘The Joy Luck Club’ with billionaires.
Let’s take a look at the trailer of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ below. (Don’t worry it’s spoiler free!)
The next Asian ‘Black Panther’, really?
Some people are saying that ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ could be the next Asian ‘Black Panther’.
Marvel’s movie ‘Black Panther’, which was released earlier this year, was so much more than about a superhero’s journey. It was about black culture’s journey.
At the time, the hashtag – #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe – was trending on Twitter, which is proof that the movie had a significant emotional impact on a lot of people, particularly the black community.
Jon M Chu, the director of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, was quoted in a report as saying that the romantic-comedy is “not a movie … it’s a movement.”
A report in the New York Times noted that there is a primary worry that the Warner Bros film focuses on Singapore’s Chinese, the dominant ethnic majority, at the expense of Malays, Indians and other ethnic minorities who collectively account for about a quarter of Singapore’s 5.6 million people.
In a Twitter post, the movie’s lead actress, Constance Wu (@constancewu), acknowledged that the film “won’t represent every Asian American”. She said, “For those who don’t feel seen, I hope there is a story you find soon that does represent you… I am rooting for you.”
Doesn’t represent every Asian, but it’s okay
Let’s be honest here. How are you supposed to cram all the richness and complexities of the Asian diaspora into a 2-hour-long romantic-comedy? But it’s a good attempt.
“There have been complaints that the film doesn’t represent the true diversity of Southeast Asia or Asia or the Asian-American experience. And they are absolutely right; it doesn’t. In fact, it doesn’t even come close,” Audrey Cleo Yap said in a column.
“Can a movie about outrageously rich Chinese Singaporeans really mean something to every Asian, a group that holds so many ethnic groups and languages and skin tones within it? Isn’t it unfair to expect that?” asked Anisa Purbasari Horton in an online report.
She noted that while ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ may not represent every Asian, it does do a good job in other areas.
“(Crazy Rich Asians) portrays Asian and Asian American characters as complex, flawed human beings with their own unique stories to tell – stories that are worthy of screen time and for the most part, not relegated to some stupid stereotype Hollywood has generally imposed on Asian characters,” she said.
There is something special about 2018.
It’s been 25 years since a Hollywood studio released a film featuring an all-Asian cast since ‘The Joy Luck Club’.
It’s undeniable that social media is raving about how this movie is going to be THE movie to do Asians proud.
Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 25 years until we celebrate films like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Black Panther’ for breaking diversity milestones. Who knows? By then (hopefully sooner), it could just very well be the norm. (Fingers crossed!)