Yesterday I went to Mall of the Emirates, which in case you don’t know, is a Mall in Dubai with an Alp in it. I’m a funny one with “Malls”, or “Shopping Centres” as they should be called. No matter where I am in the world, no matter what is on offer or available, the only shops I will ever go in to are ones that sell DVD’s.
Thankfully Mall of the Alpines has a Virgin Megastore, which for a franchise that went bankrupt a few years ago seems to be doing rather well in the economic afterlife. So I went in and started snaking around all the different DVD genres. I pick one up, scoff at the price/actor calibre ratio (honestly, who wants to see anything with Vin Diesel in it for AED 85?) put it down and buy something that I already have in my collection at home in London.
Once home the DVD goes into the soon to be archaic DVD player (I swear to the heavens I will not buy a pointless Blu-Ray player until they too are nearly obsolete) and I press play. I sit there in awe of the directional prowess, the magnificence of the actors, the twisting story and so on until I soon realise that I am becoming confused. Confused why? Because something, some crucial scene that is the fulcrum point of the entire film has been cut out.
Now I understand that the UAE has a strict moral code and that everyone always follows it to the letter without question. No really, there are no reported cases of anyone ever doing anything untoward ever. It just doesn’t happen… But really, there are many aspects of cutting scenes out of DVD’s that I simply don’t understand.
Ok, full on pornography isn’t readily available behind the counter over here, nor is it allowed, but it is true that some films do contain scenes of an intimate nature. I understand that the UAE would rather it wasn’t displayed and fair enough. But how on Earth do so many films make it on to OSN (the UAE’s satellite network)? Honestly, I have been flicking through the channels before and stumbled across some films that I think would even be banned in the USA or the Netherlands. It just doesn’t make any sense. Who’s in charge?
Furthermore, most of the scenes that get cut from DVD’s aren’t of an intimate nature at all. I have V for Vendetta sitting here, which according to the box and Wikipedia has a run time of 132 minutes, my copy has only 98 minutes of footage. No wonder I was confused, I missed a quarter of the film, but what was it that I missed exactly? Stephen Fry appears nude in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, but thanks to some crafty camerawork he really is only topless. Ok, it’s not that I am dying to see a de-robed Stephen Fry, but what he has to say in the missing scene is fairly important to the film’s plot.
I own lots of DVD’s, over 300, and most of them have been brought over from the UK. All of them are also available here so it’s not like I’m smuggling contraband, it’s because I’m fed up of only getting half my monies worth. Family Guy is funny. You can moan about it if you don’t like it, but it is light, low-brow relief. It provides a cheap laugh that can be very much needed over here sometimes. For a while it was banned, I can’t think why… But now it’s back on the shelf, fully uncut, yet we can’t watch Stephen Fry josh with his usual aplomb. If you watch Family Guy then you will understand my point.
So what may be done? If the Ministry of DVD Mutilation is going to continue to cut out scenes that are of importance to the film and thereby put people off buying them in the first place therefore damaging the local economy, then may I make a suggestion? Forget about the nudity, really, we all shower and we all know what’s down there, but let’s ban certain actors instead: Vin Diesel, Val Kilmer, The Rock and of course, the worst actor of the lot of them; Kim Kardashian.
Cutting her out of our lives and replacing her and her stupidity with Stephen Fry and his nipples will only improve our quality of life and get our moral compass’s back on track. Food for thought…