China censors edited the new James Bond movie Skyfall, including a scene in which an assassin kills a Chinese security guard, and also modified some of the dialogue.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Skyfall China censors cut the sequence of the guard being killed in a Shanghai skyscraper. In addition, in a scene shot in a Macau casino containing exposition of Severine’s backstory, revised Chinese subtitles apparently suggest that she was forced into the mob rather than into prostitution.
Another change made by China censors affected James Bond’s nemesis in the Skyfall, played by Javier Bardem:
“The film’s Chinese subtitles also fudged the exposition of the back story of the film’s villain, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), who tells Bond how he was handed over to the Chinese authorities while working for the MI6 in Hong Kong. He adds that he suffered immense torture at the hands of his interrogators before attempting to kill himself.”
China’s communist government has a history of editing films that it feels contain culturally insensitive scenes, but Sony Pictures has yet to make a specific comment about the Skyfall censorship.
Sometimes Hollywood engages in self-censorship. For example, in the Red Dawn remake, producers apparently decided to change the film’s invading army from Chinese to North Korean in an effort to make the picture more internationally marketable.
In the meantime, Skyfall is a huge hit at the box office. It recently crossed the $1 billion mark in global ticket sales.
Do you think there is ever justification for government censors to interfere with movie content?