China Outlaws Time Travel (Movies)

We've got to go back to the future... and stay there!

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

We're a little spoiled here in America, where you can make any movie you want with any content you want, with very few limitations. Oh sure, you might not be able to distribute it based on that content, but that's an economic issue. The government doesn't step in and say you can't make a movie because it's 'un-American,' and they sure as hell don't step in and say you can't make a movie because they find the genre annoying. You can daydream for a minute or two about Barack Obama putting an end to Transformers sequels or Katherine Heigl… well, anythings, really… but it's a pretty sweet country we live in sometimes. In contrast, China has just banned time travel movies.

Yeah. Seriously.

China Hush has reported that after the time travel genre experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, the country's General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television has decided to put a stop to it. Publicly, their rationale is to protect audiences from crappy movies and historical inaccuracies. "The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."

Wow, thanks China. Dr. Who really has been playing it fast and loose lately. Our favorite part of the statement is the argument that many time travel movies are 'totally made-up.' Not all of them, obviously, but many time travel movies are fictional, and as such they should probably be stopped.

Of course there's more to this story, with Richard Brody at The New Yorker pointedly positing that the real reason for the ban is the Chinese time travel genre's tendency to view a time before the country's current government administration as a happier time for all. He's probably got a point. Either way, after the ridiculous Red Dawn incident – in which MGM is spending $1 million to change turn the film's villains from Chinese to Korean in post-production for fear of alienating the country – one has to wonder if that new Bill & Ted movie is ever going to get made.