Date

2014

Department or Program

Cinema and Media Studies

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Elena Creef

Abstract

In an increasingly globalized world, contemporary Hollywood has capitalized on sustained interest in Eastern cultures in the West by adapting popular novels, television shows, video games, and graphic novels into big budget, feature-length films with all-star casts headed by some of the world’s most acclaimed directors. However, such adaptations have historically been mired in racially-charged stereotypes that displace and absent Asian bodies and voices from American popular visual media.

This thesis examines how recent fantasy-adventure blockbusters such as ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’ (2010, dir. Mike Newell), ‘The Last Airbender’ (2010, dir. M. Night Shyamalan), and ‘Cloud Atlas’ (2012, dir. Andy and Lana Wachowski; Tom Twyker) adapt their Eastern-centric source materials into feature-length films that strengthen, react to, or criticize mainstream portrayals of “the Orient” with the endgoal of contextualizing the roles of Asian Americans in our supposed 21st century post-racial society.

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