There’s been a spate of whitewashed and appropriated Asian roles in American-made movies recently, but there have been very few geeky movies which actually star Asian actors (to my knowledge, at least). Since this is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, though, I wanted to watch some geeky Asian films. To do so, I had to go through our archives before finally landing on Little Door Gods, a film I found out about in late 2015. Though it never got an American release, I did find it on the internet (just, you know, around).
Little Door Gods (小門神) is the first feature-length film from Light Chaser Animation, a Chinese animation studio which launched because of what founder Gary Wang saw as the lack of movies featuring Chinese mythology. (Probably a good call; it doesn’t look like Hollywood is going to get to Asian inclusivity anytime soon.) Wang has said that he wants to create “the Pixar of China”, and he’s even hired some animators who used to work for Pixar and DreamWorks in pursuit of his goal. His first movie is… definitely good, but not Pixar-worthy yet.
I would never claim to be the biggest Marvel fangirl, but as someone who somehow developed a passing interest in the MCU I found myself, alongside my group of friends, in the theater opening week for Civil War. Watching the previews for the upcoming movies was an experience I could only describe as “tired groaning interspersed with slight approval for Rogue One”, but the thing that stuck with me longest was just how much of a goddamned hot mess Doctor Strange is going to be. Oh sure, I’ve heard all the justified cries of whitewashing, not doubting them for a second, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer for myself on the big screen that I knew my quip of “ah yes, there he is; the only white man in Nepal” was merely masking my absolute disgust at how far Marvel was willing to go to exclude actual non-Black characters of color from their films.
This, however, wasn’t even what prompted me to write this post. A couple days ago on my Facebook wall, I saw someone drop a link that Little Door Gods was getting an English release. As happy as I was to hear that, the casting seemed to be doing everything in its power to knock the wind out of my sails. Meryl Streep? Nicole Kidman? Mel Brooks? All talented in their own right, but seriously: what the fuck is this shit? (Though according to a recent tweet by fellow reported vocal talent Zendaya, this could be untrue. Not that this excludes the problem.)
YouTube seems to know what I want to see these days, and since I’ve been playing the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat for the past couple days, I was starting to think I would never get any recommended videos that weren’t American history RPF-related. But somehow, a cute little animated trailer snuck through the Hamilton playlist and onto my radar. Little Door Gods is an adorable Chinese animated production that’s oddly, fondly reminiscent of Spirited Away. If you haven’t seen it already, here it is! (And don’t worry, it has English subtitles.)