Malaysians did not hold back on their disdain for the censorship board amid rumours that an alleged 24 minutes have been cut from the local release of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody
It all started with a couple of tweets.
According to Malay Mail, some Malaysian moviegoers took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF), claiming that up to 24 minutes worth of key scenes - especially those deemed homosexual in nature - were removed from the movie's 134-minute runtime despite its 18 rating. The movie is rated PG-13 in the US and UK.
News of the purported heavy censorship spread like wildfire, and was soon picked up by international media like Independent UK, NME, and UltimateClassicRock.
However, it would seem that rumours of the massive cuts have been heavily exaggerated
LPF later confirmed that it had cut 12 scenes from the movie, four of which involved "gay moments", amounting to about 180 seconds worth of cuts. It added that the cuts were necessary despite the 18 rating, as the movie would have been banned in Malaysia otherwise.
Be that as it may, it's still mind-boggling that LPF deemed it necessary to censor bits of the movie for audiences who are, well, legally adults
Curious, I thought I'd try to figure out which specific scenes were removed from the local cut of Bohemian Rhapsody.
With a closer repeat watch and quite a bit of digging on the Interwebs, these are the key moments and specific lines of dialogue which - to the best of my knowledge - were absent from the Malaysian cut:
1. As Freddie Mercury (brilliantly played by Rami Malek) worked on Love of My Life on the piano, Paul Prenter grabs his face and kisses him
In Malaysia, the scene cuts out just after Paul (played by Allen Leech) says "If you say so" in response to Freddie explaining that the song is written for and dedicated to his then-fiancée Mary Austin. The scene resumes right after the supposed kiss (Paul: "I know who you are, Freddie Mercury.").
The scene is briefly featured in both the official trailer and final trailer of the movie.
2. Freddie revealing that he is bisexual to Mary Austin
After showing Mary (played by Lucy Boynton) the massive crowd in Rio singing Love of My Life and prompted to address the elephant in the room, the scene cuts out just after Freddie says, "I've been thinking about it a lot."
According to Billboard, Freddie cautiously looks up at his soon-to-be-former fiancée and says, "I think I’m bisexual." She then responds, almost pityingly, with, "No, Freddie. You're gay."
It may just be a couple of lines removed from the scene, but what was supposed to be an emotional scene left Malaysian moviegoers - especially those who aren't familiar with Freddie Mercury's life story - confused instead.
3. One word in the scene where Freddie shows off his mansion to drummer Roger Taylor (played by Ben Hardy)
4. A huge chunk of the events surrounding Freddie Mercury and Jim Hutton's first meeting were removed
In fact, a bulk of the three-minute cut came from this sequence. We didn't even get to see the first time they met, in which Freddie drunkenly hits on Jim as the latter and a couple of other servers cleaned up the aftermath of the wild party at Freddie's mansion.
To Freddie's surprise, Jim rebuffed his advances ("Put your hands on me again and I'll thump ya"), prompting the rock god to apologise profusely for his behaviour. In the next scene, the duo sat down for a brief conversation and even shared a kiss.
The Malaysian cut only showed a few minutes of interaction between both characters without much context and ended with Jim saying, "I like you too, Freddie. Come and find me when you decide to like yourself."
5. The sequence showing Queen filming the I Want to Break Free music video
It was a pretty fun sequence too. No thanks to the cut, the subsequent scene in which Freddie rants about getting the blame for dressing up in drag and the music video's MTV ban would make very little sense to viewers who aren't aware of the music video's existence.
If you're curious as to how the scene played out, a bootleg version can be found on Tumblr.
You can also watch the original music video HERE:
6. When Freddie revealed his AIDS diagnosis to his band members, the word "AIDS" was muted
Not sure what was the point, as you could clearly see Freddie mouthing it... as well as in the subtitles.
7. Freddie's cheeky one-liner about Mary's husband David, prior to the band's Live Aid performance
8. In the weirdest flex in this list of edits, a slide stating that Freddie and Jim lived the rest of their lives together was removed from the pre-credit roll
Now, for the ultimate question - is it still worth catching in the local cinemas? Personally, I'm all for Team HELL YEAH.
Having seen it twice, I can testify that there's nothing quite like witnessing the musical spectacle of the last 20 minutes on the big screen with surround sound. Seriously, the magnitude of the Live Aid concert is not gonna be the same if you were to watch it at home.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not too keen on censorship as much as the next liberal ('coz I firmly believe that we're all adults who are capable of thinking for ourselves), but truly - don't let the three-minute cut stop you from celebrating the music and legend that is Queen. I don't know about you, but I got major FOMO vibes from the concert sequence and deeply regretted being born in 1991.
If nothing else, catch it to see Rami Malek's Oscar-worthy performance as the fabulous Freddie Mercury. The guy sure has come a long way since playing the cute pharoah in Night at the Museum. :')
Bohemian Rhapsody is currently playing in cinemas nationwide, starring the phenomenal Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury:
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