New Chinese and Disney films – Week 22

I’ve just updated my Films page and spreadsheet. I’ve watched several new movies in the past month and a half, namely Slam, Warlords, Young Detective Dee, Mulan, and Nemo.


Slam is about Chinese teenagers who play basketball. It’s a typical family sports story, about a shy kid who is teased by bullies and has problems with his dad, but who loves basketball and uses it to help him overcome many of his issues. If you love these themes, you will probably enjoy the movie, and it provided my best insight to date on teenage Chinese culture (heavily influenced by the West). Otherwise, it’s a mediocre film that is not quite worth the time.


Warlords is much better and I definitely enjoyed it, although it’s not as good as some of the other epic war films I’ve seen.


Young Detective Dee is also enjoyable, but not great. There’s fighting, mystery, investigation, humor, and mythology, but falls just a bit short on quality.

mulan  finding_nemo

Mulan and Nemo are a big (albeit planned) new phase of viewing for me, since they are Disney movies dubbed in Mandarin, rather than original Chinese movies, which is all I had watched before. I highly enjoyed both of them and intend to watch them many times.

I think that after watching them about 3 times, I will take the subtitles off and continue watching them with just audio to train my ear intensively. I’m hopeful that this will be a faster and more effective acquisition approach than any other, except perhaps watching Qiao Hu. The reasons I expect to be able to do this successfully with these high quality Disney movies are threefold.

First, they are immensely entertaining and easy to watch. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of movies generally drops precipitously when I watch them repeatedly, so I’m not sure I’ll even be able to do it easily with a movie I love like Nemo. However, it’s the best chance I have.

Second, since these are kids’ movies, the dialogue is relatively easy to follow. Even for a true beginner like me, I think I will be able to understand up to 50% of the dialogue after becoming intensely familiar with the movies by watching them repeatedly.

Third, these are movies I can watch with my daughter, which is a huge advantage for a parent.

Speaking of which, as expected (and mentioned in my previous post), at least for the first week, these Disney movies have been the solution to get her watching Mandarin again. Check out the updated Hours of Viewing graph.

I also updated my Estimated Comprehension vs. Time graph. I tested my comprehension using a soap opera, as before. I still understand no sentences, but only isolated words. It’s very hard to estimate how much I am understanding, since I often think I recognize a word but don’t know if it actually means what I think (or if it just sounds similar but means something completely different). However, I think I am understanding at least 1 out of every 40 words, or 2.5%.