What do you do when you’re in the city and need to kill some time? Watching a film sounded like a fair option to me. The cinematic masterpiece (!), ‘Epic Movie’, caught my eye. I wasn’t expecting much from it at all, so I placed myself into Low Expectations Mode™, gritted my teeth, and went in. It went according to plan, with the LEM buffering me somewhat from almost-certain disappointment.
One thing struck me, however. I was sitting through the closing credits, and I noticed an attribution to a character named ‘Steve Irwin’. That’s strange, I thought. I didn’t remember a Steve Irwin character. The closing credits were punctuated by short video clips, each followed by a change in music as the standard credits scrolling returned. A minute later, the screen flickered for a split-second, the credits returned, and the music suddenly changed. Did they cut something out? At the end, there was still no sign of Steve.
Was the Steve Irwin scene removed somewhere between the film studio and Hoyts? It could not have been done by the studio — the cut was far too amateurish for that (although I might be giving them too much credit, given the mediocre quality of the film). While I understand that Steve Irwin died not too long ago, in my opinion that is no excuse for anyone to tell me what I can and cannot watch. The cinema probably calculated that the risk of public backlash from maintaining the scene would be greater than the opposition to censorship. If so, they were probably right. That still doesn’t change the fact that I paid money to view a title that has been rendered incomplete at the (likely perceived) behest of extremists.
Censorship has its place in society, but this is going too far. Within reason, a free and open flow of information is the hallmark of a healthy democracy. Of course, the perceptions of what exactly ‘reason’ is is debatable, and that’s what lies at the heart of such debates. I prefer to err on the side of openness, in the same vein as ‘innocent until proven guilty’. I don’t like being told what to think, and what I can view. If I wanted that, I’d be using Windows Vista with all of its Digital Restrictions Management nonsense.
There’s always the chance that I’m completely off the mark with my accusations. I’d appreciate it if someone could verify/dispel my claims.