Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Mysteries of the Great Wall Revealed (with update)

A new commercial from Staples finally explains the mysteries of the Great Wall. Who could have known? The nomadic forces ride from the north towards the Chinese army poised for the attack. The focalizor--that is, the object doing the focalizing and being focalized--shifts back and forth between the two armies. Then, the lens focuses on a Chinese leader, presumably the First Emperor, and an easy button magically appears. He presses it and the Great Wall descends from the heavens in one piece, dividing the two armies. Wow!

UPDATE: Here is a better descriptions of the commercial. I was working on memory.
The 30-second "The Wall" commercial created by McCann Erickson, opens on an Emperor in ancient China, standing on a grassy rolling hill, staring off into the distance with a small group of consorts behind him. Galloping towards the Emperor is a large army of fierce warriors. As they approach, a consort pulls out an ornate lacquer box. One of the Emperor's men opens it and inside is an Easy Button. With the warriors dangerously close, the Emperor steps forward with his arms crossed and his has one of his warriors confidently pushes the Easy Button.

Suddenly, the ground rumbles dramatically. A cloud of dust appears and we see a wall quickly rise from the ground behind the Emperor. The commercial cuts to reveal it's none other than the Great Wall of China that has sprung up out of the earth. Unfortunately for the Emperor, the Great Wall has sprung up behind him, separating him from his consorts. He wears a deadpan expression as he stands before the opposing army, completely alone and says "dang."

See it here. Apparently the commercial was "...shot in Mexico with Mexicans playing the Chinese parts. There's a cost cutting joke in there somewhere but we'll leave that one alone." Tian doesn't seem to like the ad, and is also disturb the Mexicans are playing some--not all--of the parts. He/she adds:
Plus, the emperor was not speaking Mandarin Chinese when the commercial showed English caption “dang”. What he said was "sei laa" (死啦), which is "death" in Cantonese.
However, as one of his commenters points out:
In Cantonese, if you say, "sei la", it could also mean "damn/darn" or whatever.. depending on context, if I'm not mistaken.

I remember in many movies I've seen, characters would say "sei la" meaning "oh shit!" or something equivalent.
Moreover, contemporary Mandarin is no more similar--probably less so--to how the First Emperor spoke than is Cantonese.


Post a Comment

<< Home