According to a report in The Star on
Friday, the board concluded that numerous cuts would disrupt the flow of the film.
Unless you have been in deep freeze, Malaysians would be able to recall that not too long ago, Austin Power's 1997 hit International Man of
Mystery was screened on RTM.
Although there were cuts here and there,
our psychedelic hero still came out
smashing, as he would say.
That movie was screened on television
with its dose of sexual innuendoes and
double-talk, and escaped the scissors of
But two years later, the censors are back and they have become more demanding,
ready to pounce on our superhero.
It's a sin, suddenly, for Malaysians to watch Powers lose his “mojo'' (sexual libido) in the Swinging Sixties.
Our swinging spy has suddenly become the
villain overnight. It's certainly not a
very groovy thing for our censors to
Malaysians laughed too fast when they
mocked and ridiculed the Singaporean
authorities for initially trying to
replace the word “shagged'' with
The equally puritanical Singaporean censors, too, had felt the need for its cinema goers to behave.
Thanks to them, Singapore found itself a
subject of global ridicule, with Austin
Powers fans laughing as hysterically
as the nefarious Dr Evil.
But at least the Singapore authorities realised before it was too late that the move was ludicrous, and
eventually allowed the movie to be
screened without making any changes to
Malaysian authorities, however, seem to be frozen in some kind of time zone.
The movie is merely a parody of James
Bond, whose movies were thick with
explicit and implicit sexual innuendos of the
agent's sexual abilities.
One wonders why no Bond film, some with
Agent 007 sleeping with at least three different women in one movie, escaped the censor board's scissors.
Meanwhile, the Austin Powers movies
which make fun of such libidinous heroes
by exaggerating their sexual prowess to the
point of ludicrity is not spared.
Obviously, the censors are also unaware
that many people have already watched
Film-goers fed-up with foot dragging only have to visit their neighbourhood pasar malam VCD seller to get a pirated copy of the movie.
Even those who genuinely want to
“behave'' and watch the movie on the
big screen and not patronise VCD
suppliers now have no choice but to
resort to the evil of piracy.
The saddest part of this episode is that the report of the ban came on a day when the Cyberjaya project was
Those behind the project are well aware
of the need to fend off attempts to
exercise censorship on the Internet.
Coincidentally, in launching Cyberjaya,
Multimedia Development Corporation executive
chairman Tan Sri Dr Othman Yeop
Abdullah voiced his concern about enforcement of cyber laws which they said could stifle the market.
Dr Othman also said a world class studio would be constructed as part of the
Entertainment Village in Cyberjaya by
Before we do that, it might be a good
idea if the censor board can be
consistent in its review of movies.
There is obviously no clear
Our censors should also realise that
Malaysians are quite mature in their
Most, if not all, know when a movie is a
joke, and Austin Powers is one big joke of a hero, and hardly the beautiful stranger that he is made out to be.
Finally, the authorities should realise
that the joke is on us if they persist
in their Victorian standards.
It is obviously not a groovy thing to do
to Malaysia's image.