Hangover 2 and the Thai Censors

by Thailand Lawyer on June 10, 2011

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has worked mighty hard over the last few years to bring in tourists eager to experience the serene, post-card worthy beaches and mystical mountains and jungles strewn throughout the country. TAT’s campaigns have focused on promoting a cleaned up version of Thailand’s sexy natural wonders, distinctive food encounters, and cultural variances, rather that the literally sex-fueled tourist distractions to be found in the numerous red-light districts.

The state of the tourism industry in the country is still quite vulnerable and precarious, due to the devastating effects last year’s red shirt rallies and the financial crisis of the last few years had on one of the largest sources of income for Thailand.

Then comes “Hangover Part 2”, the new Hollywood sequel of a raunchy slapstick comedy concerning a grown up adolescent’s bachelor party. We are currently divided as to whether the rough and raw comedy is good or bad for Thailand’s reputation.

As much sweat and grit as the TAT has put into re-making Thailand’s international image to draw in those tourist dollars, can it all be un-done with the release of one, simple, drawn-out party movie based in Bangkok?

The Thai censors Committee is an active and ubiquitous fixture on the Thai movie scene. The Thai censors, called colloquially the Thai Film Board, censor offensive scenes of immoral activity, as well as scenes deemed offensive to the Royal Family and Buddhism. We’re wondering how many of the scenes in Todd Phillips’  “Hangover Part 2” even made it past the Thai Film Board to be screened within Thailand.

There are certainly several scenes that, to anyone with any knowledge of Thai Buddhism and the utmost respect provided to Buddhist monks and other aspects of Thai culture, give rise to comedic disbelief. Did they really go there?? And it was approved by the Thai Film Board?

Another consideration given the fact that this blog is written and moderated by Thailand lawyers is that under the Thailand Film Act of 2008, the film crew was required to submit a script in advance of film distribution and viewing, which surely detailed the vivid scene of a monkey, a Thai monk and a beer bottle. And what about the scenes of massive cocaine use? How can it be that cigarette smoking is normally censored but cocaine is not??!!

Please don’t misunderstand, we are not complaining. Although the film is hilarious, it’s just surprising that it made it through the ratings system set by the Film Board. The system goes above and beyond the ratings used in America, for example. Films can be rated as one of the following seven categories: government-supported films that all ages can view as the film provides knowledge deemed helpful; films that are suitable for all ages to view; films for 13-years-olds and up; films for 15-year-olds and up; films for 18-year-olds and up; films that can be seen by only those that are older than 20 years of age; and lastly, films that can not be viewed in Thailand.

We’re guessing that the “Hangover Part 2” just managed to squeeze past that last death-trap category and into the domain of films for viewers older than twenty in Thailand.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Harry Barracuda July 11, 2011 at 11:44

Doesn’t really matter what the Thai censors say when you can buy it all over Thailand for Bt100 a copy!

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