It's been barely a week since Rocketman was launched into Malaysian space... and we're already making international headlines for censoring certain scenes in the movie
Released in Malaysian cinemas on 25 July (over two months since its worldwide premiere), the musical-slash-biopic is based on English singer-songwriter Sir Elton John's life, from his early days as a piano prodigy in his childhood and his rise to stardom, along with the sex, drugs, and alcohol that came with the rockstar lifestyle of the '70s and '80s.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher (Bohemian Rhapsody, upcoming Sherlock Holmes 3), the movie stars Taron Egerton (Kingsman, Sing) as Elton John, Richard Madden (Game of Thrones, Bodyguard), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Snowpiercer), and Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, Black Mirror). The movie is also produced by Elton John himself along with husband David Furnish.
As it was with Bohemian Rhapsody, Malaysian moviegoers were not impressed that scenes portraying Elton John's sexuality were cut out entirely from the movie, especially since it already had an 18+ rating
According to a Reuters report, which has been published on HuffPost and South Morning China Post, Malaysian TV personality Sharaad Kuttan (above) criticised censors for treating adult citizens like children, saying, "We don't need a nanny state."
"Governments today cannot control the representation of the LGBT community and individuals - they are fighting a losing battle," he added, citing streaming platforms like Netflix as an example.
Malaysia is hardly the only country to have censored parts of Rocketman; the film's Russian distributor made similar cuts because of the country's laws banning "homosexual propaganda", while Samoa banned the movie entirely.
Having had the privilege of seeing the full, uncut version, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words the Rocketman scenes Malaysians didn't get to see on the big screen:
1. The scene where young Reginald Dwight caught his mother fooling around with Fred is actually longer in the original cut
Reggie's mother Sheila and future stepfather was full-on making out before Fred realised "there's a boy" standing next to the car.
2. A singer of the American soul band Reggie plays for kisses him before going onstage in the Bluesology montage
3. The entire Take Me To The Pilot sequence a.k.a. the sex scene
It's actually more cute than explicit, and gives you a better insight into Elton John's sexuality and his relationship with lover-turned-manager John Reid, especially as Reid eventually became a villain in the singer's story. As ScreenRant's Molly Freeman put it:
"Viewers might wonder why John would stay with such a blatantly abusive man, and the answer is in the sex scene: Because Reid is the first man [Elton John] forms that real connection with and because [Elton John] loves Reid."
Anyway, if you're curious, the entire scene is on YouTube here:
4. Elton John and John Reid's steamy conversation in the closet
If you're curious, it's the first 30 seconds of this video:
5. A very brief shot of a random guy giving John Reid head by the poolside
To jog your memory, it's shortly before the house party where the singer attempted suicide.
6. The entire night club sequence barely a minute into Bennie and the Jets
We only got to see Elton strutting onstage in his Queen Elizabeth costume and playing the intro to Bennie and the Jets before it abruptly cuts to him startling awake in bed.
You can watch the sequence from 01:19 onwards here:
7. Last but not least, two slides showing Elton John and his husband David Furnish as well as their children were removed from the end credits
The photo above was used in the first slide, with the caption, "25 years ago he met his husband David and is finally loved. Properly."
The second slide features the photo below, with the caption, "Elton is retiring from touring to spend more time raising their sons Zachary and Elijah."
You can see the actual end credits slides here.
Have you seen Rocketman in cinemas? Do you think the cuts mentioned above affected the story as well as your viewing experience?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!
Last year, we also listed down the key scenes that Malaysian moviegoers missed out on in the censored version that was screened in cinemas:
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