Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon question
October 20, 2004 11:57 PM   Subscribe

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon question. (More Inside)

Does anyone know where I can find English translations of the novels by Wang Du Lu that the film is based on. has these embarassingly bad graphic novels based on the books, but that does NOT cut it. Must I learn the Chinese written word to enjoy these books?
posted by Slimemonster to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
I know this doesn't answer your question, but one of my Chinese profs back in college told me that the book CTHD was based on was a rather mediocre book from a mediocre author.

If you're interested in good Chinese martial arts novels, she told me to check out Jin Yong. For instance, Jin Yong's "Eagleshooting Heroes" was the basis for two movies: Wong Kar-Wai's super-artsy "Ashes of Time" and a super-low-brow comedy whose name I can't think of off the top of my head.
posted by alidarbac at 1:11 AM on October 21, 2004

Slimemonster: I, too, have searched for an English translation of the novels. I don't believe on exists. However, the last time I searched, I found something (I don't remember what) that led me to believe a translation might be forthcoming in the next couple of years.

Also, I don't think the graphic novels are that bad, actually. They're not in an American idiom really; they seem to me to be the graphic novel equivalent of the the film itself, and probably of the books. I'm no expert, but I think the genre is called Wuxia (or something like that), and there are certain elements that we might find ludicrous, but which are taken forgranted in China. I have the first six volumes of the CTHD graphic novel adaptation (is the seventh out yet?) and find them very entertaining.

Some time ago, I posted my own summary of the first two graphic novels to my weblog. While this is hardly the English translation of the novels you're looking for, it'll at least give you the basic gist of the story. (And, if you wanted, I'd be willing to send you summaries of the subsequent four graphic novels.)

Finally: does anyone know if Ang Lee still plans to make the CTHD prequel? Immediately after the films release, he was all for it, but then he did The Hulk, and now is adapting Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain". (Now there is a change of pace.)

(p.s. I just watched "Once Upon a Time in China" for the first time the other night. It's not nearly as polished as CTHD, but it's of its ilk. A fun story. Jet Li carries the film well. If you haven't seen it, seek it out.)
posted by jdroth at 5:53 AM on October 21, 2004

Alas, no, there is not an English translation of the novels available. They were actually out of print in Chinese as well, until the movie became popular and a Taiwanese publisher put them back into print. According to this site Simon and Schuster bought the English language rights in 2001, but nothing has been heard of it since, which is odd, because they paid something in the six figures for them.

And, according to the Michelle Yeoh site linked above, the script for the prequel will be handed in soon and preproduction started in 2005. Let us hope they come up with something catchier than "Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin" in the meantime.
posted by calistasm at 5:36 PM on October 21, 2004

OUaTiC is released in about four versions. IIRC, the first and second Jet Li ones are good. The not-Jet-Li version is awful.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:26 PM on October 21, 2004

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