Spoilers for Babylon A.D. follow.
Spoilers! So what? You might well say. Isn’t Babylon A.D. that really crappy sci-fi movie starring Vin Diesel? No, not that one. The other one. No, not that one either. The other other one. Yes, that one. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a witheringly low rating of 6% on the Tomatometer (apologies if there should be a TM after that). What most viewers don’t realize is that there are two very different versions available, and why this is so and it’s connection to faith and criticism is very interesting.
If you’ve the time to look at the fantastic scene by scene comparison of what is in and out take a click to Movie-Censorship.com , otherwise just read this extensive quote:
[The premise is a…] church run as an incorporated company, with he High priestess also being the CEO, uses modern gene technology to create a miracle that is supposed to guarantee them more believers and increase the stock price, no matter the cost.
Religion as business. A church without the need of a god. Insurmountable gaps between poor and rich. Anarchy here, total control there. So much could have been made but Kassovitz [the director]was not allowed to. The American studio FOX was the main investor and wanted more of an action movie than a philosophical conflict with God and His replacement through man made technology. Due to FOXs demand for more action the budget was uncontrollable – Kassovitz was unable to shoot the scenes that were important to him the way he wanted to or at all.
In the end there were two different versions. Kassovitzs European Version and a shorter version for FOX. The European Version seems to be the best Kassovitz was able to produce with the footage he was able and allowed to shoot. The FOX version has been altered in every way imaginable. The few violence cuts and the toned down language for the PG-13 rating are almost not worth mentioning, but the severe changes of the storyline were unforgivable for Kassovitz. Already the changed opening monologue demonstrates how FOX did not allow any criticism whatsoever concerning God or churches. Later in the movie any critical dispute with the church of the Neolites has been swept away. On top of that FOX demanded more action in the third act of the movie, so an unnecessary car chase was squeezed between the last two scenes. Also, the dark ending was something that was out of the question for American audiences. So Aurora does not die at the end and lives happily ever after with Toorop and her children. A smack in the face of every fan of dystopian stories.