By Erik Crouch
Book cover of The Tibet Code series
DreamWorks has announced plans to produce an animated film based on the Tibet Code adventure novels, which follow the adventures of a Tibetan mastiff dog searching for ancient Buddhist treasures. The movie will be released by ‘Oriental DreamWorks‘ a Chinese company co-owned by DreamWorks and Chinese investors. Considering how quickly the censor-hammer has been falling lately (see: Django and Cloud Atlas, among others) the Tibet Code‘s backers will surely promote something that is unoffensive, pro-China, happy, cheery, and terrible.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks, about the pending film. Katzenberg assures readers that he has no ulterior motives, no pro-Tibet stance, and please just let him make the movie:
Mr. Katzenberg dismisses suggestions that “Tibet Code” serves any political purpose.
“When I read the books I thought ‘Wow! This is just a blockbuster story, ‘” he said after a news conference in Beijing to announce the co-production along with the Chinese partners of Oriental DreamWorks, Mr. Katzenberg’s China venture. “There’s no secondary agenda.”
“Tibet Code,” he said, “has all the makings of a world-class, quality, blockbuster franchise.”
Han Sanping, the chairman of China Film Group Corp., the powerful state distributor, ascribed a broader goal to “Tibet Code.” He hailed it as a vehicle to portray to the world “Chinese values” and “Chinese morality” as well as its history, culture and landscape.
“It’s the perfect combination of content and form,” said Mr. Han, seated beside Mr. Katzenberg at the news conference and wearing a gray Mao jacket.
Katzenberg may not have any secondary motives for the film, but—according to those really subtle allusions by the WSJ—the Chinese government may. A “Chinese morality” movie based in Tibet, centering around Buddhist treasures. That won’t piss anyone off.