Lack of subtitles leaves English-speakers feeling alien at premiere of Avatar

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 December, 2009, 12:00am

K11 isn't the only new mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. There's also a vertiginous retail space called iSquare where the Hyatt Regency hotel used to be. Although most of it is still under construction, the UA cinema opened on Wednesday with the premiere of James Cameron's 3-D blockbuster Avatar at 7pm and 9.45pm.

Generally, most guests were blown away by the Titanic director's sci-fi adventure about earthlings and a tribe of jungle creatures on a planet far away. However, the screenings weren't without wrinkles. During the middle of one showing, the lights suddenly went up and the dialogue was replaced by 10 minutes of Christmas jingles. That's a bit distracting when you are trying to concentrate on the happenings on a planet called Pandora.

For the folks attending the 9.45pm screening, it was drama of another kind after the 162-minute epic ended close to 1am. With the cinemas located on the new building's very top and only its winding escalators in service, there was a rush for some to descend quickly enough to catch the last MTR train.

However, our biggest concern has nothing to do with the cinema, but with the movie.

We wonder why Avatar - which includes scenes of characters speaking in a made-up alien language - only contains Chinese subtitles. Wouldn't the English-speaking audience want to know what the creatures are saying, too?