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Alien: Covenant


  • Chinese DVD
  • Uncut
Release: Nov 23, 2020 - Author: Sun Wukong - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Alien: Covenant, which was launched in Chinese cinemas on June 16, 2017, may well be considered a prime example of the increasing effort that Hollywood studios are now making to score in the booming Chinese theatrical market. While in 2012 it was still completely sufficient to cut the worst moments out of the film quickly and sloppily (was we could witness in Prometheus), Alien: Covenant went all out.

Not only did Sir Ridley Scott himself try to make his newest work palatable to the Chinese audience in a specially recorded short promo video. The lobbies of the multiplexes were decorated with cardboard displays, life-size plastic aliens, facehuggers and alien eggs, but also the film itself was extensively modified to appease the strict censors.

As a result, not only did the multiple violence peaks fall victim to the cutting scissors, but also a short kiss between the two android twins David and Walter, played by Michael Fassbender, had to be cut. This was a particularly curious intervention in view of the fact that the Chinese censors had only a short time before boasted that a homosexual kissing scene from the Disney production Beauty and the Beast, which had been criticized in Russia, had been waved through without any problems and that it was nevertheless a sign of progress that this very scene remained untouched in China.

But that's not all: Chinese moviegoers reacted quite angrily to the fact that in a film called Alien: Covenant there are almost no aliens to be seen. And indeed: In direct comparison with the Chinese version, it is striking that a not inconsiderable part of the cuts simply consists of shortened shots of various alien beings. The meme poster, which made the rounds in China's social networks, skilfully sums up the censorship problem.

The rigorous approach here was to shorten as many alien shots as possible, or to remove them completely from the film, as far as it was dramaturgically possible. Of many shots, only short fragments are left to avoid continuity errors. Whether these censorships were explicitly ordered, or whether they are adaptations to the sensitivities of the market, carried out in anticipatory obedience, cannot be said. In any case, it is a fact that the prequel - which is not undisputed even among fans of the series - did not become the hoped-for hit at the Chinese box offices, in no small part due to the negative word of mouth that was caused by the extensive censorship measures.

128 cuts = 380 seconds

Optical interventions: 13

18 extensions in the Chinese version (marked red in the report) = 32.8 seconds, of which 10.2 seconds show only one additional company logo

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Between the TSG Entertainment company logo and the Scott-Free company logo, the China version also features the Bona Film Group logo.
China version: 10.2 sec

The shot of a charred corpse had to go. The following shot of the body being carried away by two crew members is slightly longer in the Chinese version.
Original version: 5.1 sec
China version: 0.3 sec
China version original version

The charred body can be seen again in close-up. Also missing is the following shot of the captain. Instead, the Chinese version uses different material again: After the face of the corpse has disappeared from the picture, the Chinese version starts in the same take and you can see the torso of the corpse a bit longer.
Original version: 4 sec
China version: 1.8 sec
China version original version

Ledward pukes blood on Karine's jacket.
1.5 sec

Zoom in the Chinese version so that Ledward's back is less visible.
no time difference
China Version Original version

no time difference
China Version Original version

Shortened shot (end): The ulcer on Ledward's back is visible longer.
1 sec

After two spikes have drilled through Ledward's back, the camera lingers a little longer.
0.7 sec

Shortened shot (beginning): This shot was slightly shortened at the beginning because you see Ledward's back again.
0.4 sec

The Alien breaks out of Ledward's back. In the China version, there is only a short new shot of Karine instead.
Original version: 8.6 sec
China version: 3 sec
China version Original version

The shot in which the newly hatched alien wallows in Ledward's remains is completely missing. But in China the following shot by Karine is extended.
Original version: 4.3 sec
China version: 1.2 sec
China Version Original version

Shortened shot (end): The baby alien in close-up can be seen for a shorter time in China.
1.5 sec

Shortened shot (start): Again the baby alien.
0.5 sec

This shot of the alien had to be completely removed.
3.5 sec

Shortened shot (end): After Karine kicked the alien against the wall, the way the creature turns around quickly is missing.
1.1 sec

The alien crawls a little bit longer towards Karine.
2.1 sec

The baby alien attacks Karine.
5.9 sec

Once again the alien as it attacks Karine.
1.8 sec

Ditto, only this time a bit further away and more bloody.
0.9 sec

Another completely removed alien shot.
1.6 sec

Shortened shot (end): After the alien has rammed its head against the door, it can be seen a little longer in the original version.
0.6 sec

The alien bangs its head against the window twice.
1.2 sec

The alien smashes the glass and slips through the opening. The end of the shot is also briefly visible in the Chinese version.
1.5 sec

The alien tries to reach through the grid to Faris.
1 sec

This shot of the alien has also been completely removed.
0.7 sec

The beginning of this close-up of the alien was shortened by a fraction of a second.
0.5 sec

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