NME Blogs - The Movies Blog

A 12A Rating Ranting

By Owen Nicholls

Posted on 11 Jun 09

 
 

There's a real danger in this article of me coming off like a deranged Daily Mail reader, shaking in fear that film and music and video games are not only responsible for the brokenness of Britain, global warming, the failing economy but also every war raged from WWII onwards. (Just look at 'Call Of Duty', surely the Reich took inspiration from this?!?!).

bbfc

But that isn't the intention. If anything, I strongly believe that film can used as an educational tool. Not in a 'Triumph Of The Will' propoganda, way but in the same way that novels are used to open dialogues about morals and ethics. But as I sit projecting the latest 'Terminator' film to children, who can only be described as knee high to a grasshopper, I start to think this 12A thing is getting out of control.

It should also be noted that this isn't a "think of the children, for God's sake think of the children" liberal wank-fest piece. For starters liberal wank-fests don't usually have the phrase liberal wank-fests in them. More importantly I don't really care about the children, I care about the movies.





Violence
Picture the scene, The Joker is surrounded by hoodlums, all twice the size of him. He's on his own, and has to show he means business. He pulls a pencil out and magically makes it disappear. In a henchmen's eye socket. The cinema goes wild! All but a six-year old girl whose crying her eyes out, "Where did the Crayon go Daddy?". The counter argument is that the dad shouldn't have taken the child but what parent wants to deny their child the awesomeness of a Nolan Film? Meanwhile a few seats up, I'm crying at how this is one of the coolest scenes in the world and craving that the Dark Knight gets truly Dark. But this is as Dark as it gets. A real 'adult' Batman is still a way off.

Swears
Before 'Terminator Salvation' aired and was seen as more than acceptable, the one thing that bothered me (apart from McG) was the idea of another sanitised 12A Cyborg killer. I needn't have worried too much, as TS has not only a state execution, but features a near rape (although again the certificate takes away the tension), caged 'holocaust' survivors and a man/robot with his insides on the outside. Yet no matter what the characters encounter at no point does anyway exclaim anything along the lines of, "HOLY TITTY FUCKING CHRIST! LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT CUNTING ROBOT, WE'RE ALL COMPLETELY TWATTED!!!", like I would. Because horrific Violence is acceptable for kids now, but swearing is still very, very naughty.

Sexy Sex
To be perfectly honest I don't really care for rumpy pumpy on the silver sreen. All it does is remind me how much I miss it. It's also usually superflous to plot, laughably unrealistic ("He's gone on for at least two minutes, that's ridiculous!"), and cringeworthingly embarassing if you're with family members. But as the 15 Certificate 'Milk' proved earlier this year there is still a horrific double standard within the BBFC. Straight Action = Fine. Gays = Not in Our House. What's the year again?

Then there's drug use, content, smoking on screen, etc, etc. It can't be an easy job and it's not one that I'd particularly want. And I don't think the blame lies entirely with the BBFC. A director will be told if he cuts, "here, here and here" he'll achieve a more 'audience friendly' rating. To keep the studio happy, they'll butcher their films worse than John Wayne Gacy Jr would.

The solution? Well, there isn't one. The studios will always want as many people as possible to be able to hand over their cash and nobody, not even the artiest of directors, will stop them. A possible alternative is bring back the straight 12, but I'll still moan that the 'grown up' films I want out of the blockbuster season aren't grown up enough. Cos I'm a violent fucking sex pest. Rated 18.

What do you guys think? Anything in the cinema shocked you lately? Is the 12A fine? Do you 'think of the children'? If so, seek help.

 
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