'The Simpsons' Movie & 2 Other Pop Culture Series Banned For The Dumbest Reasons
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Reader, did you know that when It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Frank Reynolds said “I don’t know how many years on this Earth, I got left. I’m gonna get real weird with it,” the sentiment also apparently applied to global cinematic censorship?
From Christopher Robin being banned in China to The Simpsons Movie's primary color palate allegedly sparking ire from Myanmar's government, here are three flicks that were purportedly banned for bizarre reasons.
Despite his status as an adorable children's cartoon character, China has developed a seemingly rocky relationship with Winnie the Pooh over the past several years. A disdain likely stemming from the fact that the crop-top sporting, honey snacking bear has been compared to leader Xi Jinping by social media users, a likening the politician is reportedly “prickly” about, as Vox put it, the classic character has become a cute, smiley symbol of resistance against the government.
As such, the CCP allegedly began blocking images of the character on social media in 2017, yet it seems this dislike of the Hundred Acre Woods's most famous resident may have jumped offline and into the world of film after 2018's live-action flick, Christopher Robin, was denied a Chinese release.
Allotting a finite number of foreign theatrical releases per year, the government did not state a formal reason behind their denial, yet according to The Hollywood Reporter, the decision came down to several factors. Aside from the film's size and scope – for context several major flicks were released that same year including Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man And The Wasp, and Aquaman (a film that I refuse to believe existed for reasons beyond finding an excuse for Pitbull to cover “Africa” by Toto) – the recent crackdown on Winnie the Pooh also reportedly played a role in the government nix-ing its theatrical debut. Oh, bother.
The Simpsons Movie
Although The Simpsons Movie – a.k.a. the first and (probably) last theatrical installment of The Simpsons that introduced the world both to the wonders of Spider-Pig and the EPA – was a box office smash, ranking among the highest-grossing films of 2007 and coming in behind The Lion King to become the second-highest-grossing animated flick of all time, it seems not everyone was too excited about the movie – namely, the nation of Myanmar. Contrary to popular belief, the film was allegedly banned in the Southeast Asian nation not for its several scenes depicting psychedelic drugs, explosives or even uh, Bart Simpson's cartoon privates (my 10-year-old self is still scarred from that skateboard scene), but rather, another truly unthinkable offense -- its gratuitous use of the colors yellow and red.
Take a moment, reader. I know there's a lot to unpack here – how dare Matt Groenig create a cartoon society heavily using two primary colors! Shame on him! While this theory has yet to be formally confirmed, several sites have speculated the cursed color combo catalyzed the cinematic cancellation – while The World cited the nation's penchant for superstition as the rationale behind the color ban, Comic Book Review reported the hues were forbidden due to their association with the National League of Democracy party, which is represented by a red and yellow flag.
When a Hebrew version of Shrek 2 was banned in Israel, unlike Christopher Robin and The Simpsons Movie, geopolitical factors were not at play. Instead, the controversy surrounding the flick seemingly stemmed from one really PO-ed singer who wasn't too happy after the local dub included a joke implying that his falsetto range meant he had been castrated, according to the LA Times.
Yep, shortly after its 2004 release, contralto singer/former Eurovision contestant David Daor took Shrek 2's filmmakers to court over a quip in which a character says “Let’s do a David Daor on him" in the context of erm, snipping away certain body parts, after his daughter said she was bullied about the comment by her classmates.
"This film intends to present me, in perpetuity, as a eunuch," he said, per The Guardian.
Although Shrek 2 filmmakers reportedly argued that the joke was fair game claiming the artist had made fun of himself about his voice, Daor ultimately won an injunction against the film being shown in his country, leading to the dialogue being changed. In other words, he successfully took after our favorite ogre himself, getting the DreamWorks team out of his swamp. Nice.
Top Image: Fox/DreamWorks