This movie shines a light on Chinatown and the DTE and is written for Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Sandra Oh as Faye Leung. The producer is Ron Howard and the studio Disney. The theme of the movie is “Don’t take anything for granted because it can all disappear in a blink of an eye.”
The premise for the movie is Faye Leung finds herself on Pender Street in front of the newly opened Chinatown Storytelling Centre. She sees visions of people she used to know going into the various businesses and they see her but say nothing. Unknowingly, she has stumbled into a parallel dimension called Ghost World. It is only for ghosts. The Office has sent down a good wizard (Meryl Streep) to rally the ghosts of Chinatown for an attack on City Hall to get the City to give Chinatown heritage status so it won’t disappear. The Mayor wants to sell off the buildings to developers.
Ghost World is everywhere and Chinatown Station Vancouver (as it is called) is very popular. Ghosts take ghost tours from all over the world to come and visit what Chinatown used to be like in the past. It has four venues to choose from the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties when it was the most popular. It also has nine clouds. The number of clouds a station has indicates how important it is to Ghost World.
Faye and Dean (her husband), the good wizard and the Chinatown Lions (a group of Faye and Dean’s old friends including the yo-yo champion of the world) descend on City Hall. Mayor Da Vinci (the best Mayor Vancouver ever had IMO) inadvertently summons a dark wizard (Johnny Depp) when he asks where are the ghosts of City Hall when you need them? They all turn out to be friends of Faye’s (City Councilors) who she worked with in the past and they all go over to her side. The Mayor concedes but not until telling them he cannot grant heritage status. They must go to Victoria to see the Premier. The same thing ensues in Victoria where they are confronted by the ghosts of the Legislature Grace McCarthy, Bill Vander Zalm, Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark and WAC Bennett who again, Faye knows. After Grace and Mike get zapped for telling an untruth, Premier Horgan tells them they must go to Ottawa to see the PM.
In the meantime, the Mayor and the dark wizard hatch a plot to attack Chinatown in retaliation for their attack on City Hall. They all return from Victoria and discover the devastation and don’t know what to do. Her friends tell her to remember what she said in her book, how she survived the Vander Zalm Days. Look for the larger pattern and grab on to it. Don’t just bang your head on the wall so they realize the larger plan is Ottawa and head for Parliament.
In Ottawa, Faye mistakenly zaps the PM’s Father. All fear the worst. Surely the PM will never grant them heritage status now but they’re in for a surprise, Faye knows Justin too. Justin tells them he will grant Chinatown National Heritage status and they all return to Vancouver.
While they were in Ottawa, the dark wizard locks the Mayor and his councillors in a dungeon below City Hall, I know, there is no dungeon, he remodels it because he decides the Mayor isn’t corrupt enough. He is going to take over his racket of selling houses to the highest bidder and make Vancouver just like London, England where houses sell for ten million and up. He also has another trick up his sleeve. He gathers a group of developers together and tells them to bid on all of Vancouver’s heritage sites, he’s selling them all off and the City is keeping the land and going to earn big rents from the proceeds. The developers are all greedy and delighted. Because it will take too long to tear them all down, he and his henchmen decide to zap them all.
A big fight ensues above the skies of Vancouver as the good wizard and the dark wizard battle for control of all the heritage sites including the newly listed Chinatown. The dark wizard wins and heads back to City Hall to gloat. At City Hall, his henchmen tell him they have captured Faye and the Chinatown Lions and put them in the dungeon with the Mayor. The dark wizard goes down to see. Faye concedes he has indeed won. The good wizard arrives and she too concedes but not until asking the Mayor to tell the dark wizard what he really thinks of him. The Mayor is now so mad that he says, “I wish I had never called you. I wish you would all go away.” After a lot of smoke and several zaps, the smoke clears and the dark wizard and his henchmen have all disappeared.
Only the Mayor could get rid of the dark wizard by recalling him but he didn’t know that. In a few minutes, the dungeon disappears and they are all left standing in the basement of City Hall. All the heritage buildings are restored and so is the damage done to Chinatown. The mayor is so happy he declares from now on Vancouver is going to be once again for the little guy. No rich and famous are allowed. He puts a cap on house prices at two hundred thousand and he puts a cap on one-bedroom apartment rentals at one thousand dollars. And he gets rid of all the parking meters. So Vancouver goes back to how it was in the fifties and sixties when people could leave their doors open and kids could walk home from school. The rich and famous stop coming because no way they will buy a house under two hundred thousand, how could they show off their wealth to their friends?
The message is don’t take anything for granted because it can all disappear tomorrow even if it has National Heritage status especially if your government works for special interest and not for the people. It is not only about heritage but our educational programs as well. The Grade 7 Band and Strings program was zapped in the Spring of 2022 by the Victoria School Board citing it was too elitist. Let’s hope they get zapped in the Fall elections.
The best way to view the treatment is to set it on two-page scrolling on the right-hand side. Then, just move it down two pages at a time manually on the left.