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UPDATED: January 28, 2013 NO. 5 JANUARY 31, 2013
A Big Miracle
Lost in Thailand sets a box office record for a domestic film
By Ji Jing

LOST IN CURIOSITY: A boy touches a poster at a movie theater in Nantong, east China's Jiangsu Province on January 3 (XU CONGJUN)

Hao Jian, a professor at Beijing Film Academy, said the movie targets university and high school students as well as white collar workers, who constitute the majority of cinema goers in China, by including modern elements such as wireless locators and micro-blogging.

A strong production team has also constituted the movie's success. The movie's cinematographer Song Xiaofei was nominated as best cinematographer at the 46th Golden Horse Film Festival ceremony while stylist Hao Yi won an award at the 48th Golden Horse Film Festival. World-famous Howie B from Britain joined the team to produce the soundtrack. In addition, the three main actors have gained exceptional fame as comedians in recent years across China.

Critical response

Fans had mixed reactions to the film.

Ren Qingmin, a white collar worker from Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, said, "The film is very funny. I felt relaxed watching it after a day's tedious work and was even moved by several episodes."

People shouldn't put high expectations on movies because movies only meant to entertain people, Ren adds. "As long as they fulfill this task, there is nothing to complain."

Liu Zhiwei, an engineer at a state-owned company, said, "The movie meets audience needs for simple comedy."

However, one student from Shandong University was unimpressed, "I haven't learnt anything from the film, neither do I find it funny. I only laughed because I saw other people do so and didn't want to appear eccentric."

Shan Shibing, a journalist with Chongqing Times said the audience found temporary relief in the film. In an era where many people experience inner loss, the theme of traveling offers the hope of finding a spiritual anchorage. The film is undoubtedly a box office success; however, some experts have noted that box office results are not the only criterion for judging a movie. Some critics and university professors point to the film's shortcomings despite its achievements.

Yang Zao, assistant researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, listed Lost in Thailand as one of the three most disappointing movies of 2012. He said, "Except for grossing more money than Back to 1942 and The Last Supper, it has nothing else to boast of. I won't like a movie only because it set a box office record."

Director and screen writer Wan Li complained on website Yanzhao Dushi that the plot is illogical; some jokes are clichés and the performances are somewhat theatrical.

According to Changjiang Daily, Xiao Su, a professor and writer from Central China Normal University, said the movie makes fun of the small potatoes like Wang and presents the rich businessman Xu Lang as doing whatever he can to make money. This kind of movie does nothing to improve people's virtue. Xiao claimed the top priority of the cultural industry should be to improve the nation's literacy and taste.

Email us at: jijing@bjreview.com

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