Without any advance publicity or notice, The Weinstein Company quietly slipped the Chinese animated feature The Guardian Brothers onto Netflix last Friday.
It was originally released on January 1, 2016, in China as Little Door Gods, marking the debut production of Beijing’s Light Chaser Animation. The ambitious production aimed to lift the quality of Chinese cg animation and push it closer to Western standards. Light Chaser owner Gary Wang, the Chinese web entrepreneur who made his fortune by creating the video sharing site Tudou, wrote and directed the film.
Weinstein’s English version added a cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Edward Norton, Mel Brooks, Dan Fogler, Mike Birbiglia, Bella Thorne, and Randall Park. The English dub is also heavily edited, running 86 minutes compared to over 100 minutes for the original (conflicting online sources put the original running time at either 103 or 107 minutes). Having seen a subbed-version of the original, I can confirm that it had a lot of pacing issues and needed editing, though it’s hard to say whether the Weinstein version fixes the issues with the original.