The upcoming “Power Rangers” reboot will feature the first openly gay superhero, but Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board is reportedly considering banning the children’s action flick because of it.
This comes shortly after the board requested four and a half minutes of a “gay moment” in the live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” to be edited out for theaters in Malaysia where homosexuality is still frowned upon.
But after postponing the film indefinitely and the massive backlash from fans, local movie theaters have decided to screen the remake of the 1991 animated musical in its entirety later in March.
“I am really depressed with what’s happening with our censorship board,” Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz told Channel NewsAsia in response to the news, appealing to the board to reconsider. “We never appointed the censorship board to be our moral guardian.”
The Power Ranger protagonist in question is Yellow Ranger Trini, played by actress Becky G, who is beginning to accept her sexuality.
“For Trini, really she’s questioning a lot about who she is,” director Dean Israelite told the Hollywood Reporter. “She hasn’t fully figured it out yet. I think what’s great about that scene and what that scene propels for the rest of the movie is, ‘That’s OK.’ The movie is saying, ‘That’s OK,’ and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe.”
Original Blue Ranger actor David Yost, who is openly gay, commended the reboot for dealing with the subject, saying: “They really stepped up to the plate. I think so many people in the LGBTQI community are going to be excited to see that representation.”
Yost left the franchise in 1996 after facing constant harassment on set over his sexual orientation.
The new “Power Rangers” is set to premiere on Thursday, but at least one major cinema in Malaysia, Tanjong Golden Village (TGV) Cinemas, has stopped its advance ticket sales for the film.
“To avoid any issues that may arise, we pulled (the movie) from the cinema listing at the moment, as the film is still undergoing the Malaysian Censorship Board’s (LPF) review,” Grace Tan, marketing manager for TGV Pictures, told New Straits Times.
@rajifusama Hi, We are awaiting updates, we should be getting the info soon. Please stay tuned on our website/social media for updates. Ty
— TGV Cinemas (@TGVCinemas) March 21, 2017
Funnily enough, this isn’t the first time “Power Rangers” has been censored in Malaysia.
In 1995, the country took “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” off the air because the word “morphin” sounded like “morphine,” even though there were no references to the drug on the children’s TV show.