Jul 6, 2009

Transformers II movie censorship

In July 2007 I wrote about how the Chinese government censored some dialog in the first Transformers movie. Now it's July 2009, and they've done the same thing in the second Transformers movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

In the first movie, I counted 4 instances of censored dialog; in this second one, I counted 2. I saw the English version of this movie in the theater in Beijing, shown with Chinese subtitles. Keep in mind that when the English spoken dialog is garbled by the censors, it's completely omitted from the Chinese subtitles. Unless your English listening ability is very good, you might not even notice that something got garbled out by the censors. Here's what they're censoring. (Hold your mouse over the garbles below to see what was said in the uncensored version).

Censored dialog 1:
about 21 minutes into the movie
Scene: Inside an aircraft hanger, with some US military leaders talking with the Autobots, the good Transformers. This scene takes place immediately after the US army and the Autobots were rampaging around Shanghai, battling with the Decepticons.

Defense guy in suit: After all the damage in garble, the president is hard pressed to say the job is getting done.

Censored dialog 2: about 1 hour, 49 minutes into the movie
Scene: Inside a military command center. The US general in charge of transporting Optimus Prime to the Egyptian desert is trying to figure out why they've lost communication with the troops on the ground there.

General: Something's not right, it doesn't add up. Contact the garble, see what air assets they've got in the area. And get Egypt's General Salam, ask him to clear some USB (?) overflights in Egyptian airspace. We need an assist in confirming visuals now.

It's bizarre censorship, right? Why go through the trouble of removing "Shanghai" and "Jordanians"? Who cares about whether it's the Jordanians, the Syrians, the Israelis, or the Egyptians? It's all a movie. Maybe the Chinese censors got confused and thought that the Jordanians are the ones with the oil, so they thought they'd be real nice to them in the movies they're showing domestically.

Transformers 2 is not as engaging and unique as the first film (note that this one gets only 1 star from Ebert, but 3 stars for the first), but it was very entertaining to see the special effects, and to see it in a large theater with a loud sound system. If you need a good plot line and superb acting, I'd sit this one out. However, if you're a fan of special effects and cool noises, go see this movie in the theater.


Blogger Jonathan said...

I saw this film in China too, but must admit I didn't notice that garbled dialogue. The first scene was so obviously Shanghai anyway as it depicted the skyline.

I'm more interested in cuts made to the film. After the girl gets covered in gunk in the car, she gets out, and there was clearly a cut. What happened at the end of that scene?

11:10 AM  

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