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10 Kid-Friendly Flicks Banned for Silly Reasons

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Can you believe a government might ban a family movie? Given that such films target a young audience, they usually dodge content that would ruffle film censors’ feathers. Yet, these flicks, which seem all kiddo-friendly on the outside, got the boot in some countries for surprising—and often puzzling—reasons. Is it possible to sniff out controversy in anything? Or were these bans justified? Let’s see.

Every Marx Brothers Movie (Germany)

The Marx Brothers are a comedic institution. From 1905 to 1949, they cranked out thirteen films, with quite a few on the “funniest of all time” list. But between 1933 and 1945, not one of their films got playtime in Germany—simply because the comedy clan was Jewish. Interestingly, Germany wasn’t the lone naysayer for Marx Brothers films. Italy gave the thumbs-down to their 1933 “Duck Soup” because Prime Minister Benito Mussolini saw it as a personal jab, and Ireland blocked their 1931 “Monkey Business” for a supposed pro-anarchy vibe (though they later okayed a trimmed version).

Beauty and the Beast, 2017 (Kuwait and Malaysia)

 

The 2017 “Beauty and the Beast” reboot ran into a brick wall of controversy when director Bill Condon spoke of a “gay moment” in the film. Kuwait and Malaysia (both mostly Muslim nations) barred the film due to its homosexual hints, even though the only “gay” scene was a three-second clip of two guys dancing. Later on, Malaysia gave the nod to the unedited film, released as P13, with their Ministry of Home Affairs saying the film’s “gay elements are minor and don’t detract from the film’s positive aspects”.

The Barnyard Battle (Germany)

Germany put the kibosh on the 1929 Mickey Mouse short “The Barnyard Battle”, pitting an army of cats against an army of mice, because the cats’ gear looked a lot like a German military helmet known as the “pickelhaube”. Both the UK and Germany also vetoed another Mickey Mouse short, “The Mad Doctor”, due to its horror bits.

Little Women (Manila)

In 1998, actress Claire Danes slammed Manila as being full of roaches and rats and added other unkind comments about the city. Consequently, the Philippine government marked her “persona non grata”, and Manila forbade all her films, even “Little Women”, one of her best-reviewed films ever and a beloved family gem. Despite Danes’ later apology, the ban on her films still stands.

Barney’s Great Adventure (Malaysia)

Here’s a head-scratcher. Malaysia nixed the 1998 film “Barney’s Great Adventure” as “not suitable for kiddos”. Parents and teachers have often panned Barney for pushing a “everybody-must-be-happy” universe, prompting some sharp parodies and legal squabbles. But why this film was deemed “unsuitable” remains a mystery.

Abominable (Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia)

Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia all shunned “Abominable”, a DreamWorks Animation film about a Yeti’s escapades with an adventurous girl. The reason? The movie shows a map with a version of the “nine-dash line”, a disputed boundary line asserting China’s full ownership of a chunk of the South China Sea—territory also claimed by several countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Back to the Future (China)

“Back to the Future” got the boot in China, not for violence or saucy scenes, but for showing time travel. China’s media watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, explained that time travel on screen treats “serious history like a joke, which we should not be promoting”. While the ban might seem a bit puzzling, then again, so did “Back to the Future”.

Wonder Woman (Arab League)

The reason why the Arab League banned “Wonder Woman” might take you by surprise. Lebanon yanked the film because Gal Gadot, the star, spent two years in the Israeli Defense Force and has publicly backed Israel on social media. With their long history of disputes with Israel, Lebanon forbids buying Israeli goods (though they did greenlight “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” which also featured Gadot, despite a boycott push). Rania Masri, a member of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel—Lebanon, said screening “Wonder Woman” in Lebanon would be akin to “making peace with an enemy state”, something they refuse to do. Tunisia and Qatar also axed the film, mainly for the same reasons.

Shrek 2 (Israel)

While Lebanon axed “Wonder Woman” over its star, Israel gave the thumbs down to a film for an entirely different reason. Israel banned the sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s hit “Shrek” because of a gag in the Hebrew dub about famous Israeli singer David Daor. Because of Daor’s renowned high-

pitched singing, one character in the movie threatens another saying, “Let’s do a David Daor on him”. Daor, far from amused, told an Israeli newspaper, “This film intends to present me, in perpetuity, as a eunuch, a man with no testicles, and turn me into a laughing stock,”. A Tel Aviv District Court ordered the film pulled from a few cinemas until the distributors of the Hebrew dub agreed to tweak the line to “let’s take a sword and neuter him”, making Daor’s lawyers happy.

Christopher Robin (China and Taiwan)

Now this one takes the cake—it’s the only case where an Internet meme led to a film ban. Yep, after a wave of memes kicked off by PewDiePie (also banned for the same reason) in July 2017 likening Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Winnie-the-Pooh, China scrubbed all Pooh references from social media. This led to “Christopher Robin”, a film inspired by the Winnie-the-Pooh tales, being barred in China.

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