Jul 13, 2007

Transformers movie censorship

I saw the Tranformers movie on opening night in Beijing. The premier was at midnight about a week after it had already opened in the US. It was an excellent movie to see in the theater to get the full benefit of the visuals and sound.

I'm not a fan of dubbed movies, so it of course I saw the original English version. As I listened to some of the dialog, in particular the scenes with Jon Voight (the Secretary of Defense) and some of the NSA and Pentagon scientists, I noticed some garbled words.

They'd be having a conversation, and it would go something like this: "What we need to do, Mister Secretary, is to make sure the garble garble garble don't garble garble garble. Then we can proceed with the original plan."

Obviously, the communist censors were hard at work here. During the movie premier, I made a mental note of where the garbling took place, and then afterwards I re-watched an uncensored bootleg of the movie. What follows below are the scenes of dialog. The bold garbles in the dialog indicate what was censored. Hold your mouse over the garbles to see what the censors actually were afraid that audiences would hear.

Censored dialog 1:
about 27 minutes into the movie
Scene: Inside the Pentagon

Scientist 1: Guys, I think the other team figured it out: Iran.
Scientist 2: Come on man, this is way too smart for Iranian scientists. Eh? Think about it.
Scientist 3: What do you think Kay? Garble?
Sc: No way, this is nothing like what the garble are using.

Censored dialog 2:
about 36 minutes into the movie
Military person 1: Every time we try an antivirus it adapts and speeds up. It's like it's not a virus, it's become the system.
Military person 2: Obviously it's the first phase of a major attack against the US. The only countries with this kind of capability are garble garble garble.
Military person 2: Maybe you can explain then how our latest satellite imagery shows garble garble doubling its naval activity?

Censored dialog 3:
about 1 hour and 27 minutes into the movie
Scene: videoconference with US military leaders

Military person:
The garble garble garble are nearing our area of operations in the western Pacific. We feel that this could get out of hand real fast.
2-star general: garble garble garble task forces approaching 190 nautical miles of cruise missile range.
Jon Voight: Tell the strike crew commander that he's not to engage unless fired on first.
2-star general: Yes sir.

Censored dialog 4: about 1 hour and 30 minutes into the movie
Scene: Tom Banachek, the Sector 7 man, is debriefing Jon Voight on the video from Mars

Tom Banachek: Here is the image your special ops team was able to retrieve from the base attack. We believe they are of the same exoskeletal type. And obviously not garble garble garble.

So it looks like it's a no-no in China to mention the names of Russia, North Korea, or China during a film. Is there something in common between those three countries, past and present? I couldn't really think of any, other than the fact that they have territories in Asia. There might be some political similarities I hadn't thought of.

I think that dialog 2 above is a great compliment to all three countries, North Korea, Russian, and China. The dialog in the movie is commending the capabilities of those three regimes. I would have expected the Chinese censors to leave that one in to bolster their national pride and that sort of thing.


Blogger absolutED said...

good observation! i wish they have spent the money on education funds... sighs.

12:18 AM  

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