Excessive Violence In Media

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First I would like to declare that I am against censorship completely and believe that artists (directors) who create films, TV shows and the like should have the ability to express their art however they see fit. That being said I am for ratings of films if they mean something, but the problem is film ratings mean less and less these days.

There used to be a standard expectation between G, PG, PG-13 and R Rated films and the lines between PG-13 and R have become so blurred that it feels like the movies are either PG or R without any PG-13 in the middle. Too often movies that target younger teenage audiences have content that is more suited for adults in an effort to pander to both types of audiences and maximize on returns at the box office.

You can’t really fault the artist an R rating is almost a death sentence to movies looking for a teenage audience just as much as an NC-17 rating is pretty much the death rating of a film entirely at the box office. Yet we find our society in a situation where violence is seen as much more acceptable and normal in a film, yet love and romance is often elevated to a higher rating status.

Films in general have gotten much more graphic in the last fifteen or so years with rarely seeing actual throats getting slit, or body parts flying off. Previously you were seen the action just prior, and the end result (toned down) rather than the act itself with such realism you mine as well show it actually happening.

Personally I don’t mind for myself and never really cared about content in films, but your whole aspect on films and television shows changes when you have children (or it should change, if it doesn’t I am concerned). Children want to watch what other kids watch, yet most movies and TV shows about Superheroes and such are way above a little kids appropriate age, and yet most comic books which they read or cartoons of the same heroes are within their range so they feel left out.

I often wondered if they should make two different versions of a film, like a PG cut version of every R rated film and release it at the theater simultaneously. For example they edit the films to make them PG rated to fit on Television broadcasts, why not release a younger kid friendly version of Xmen Origins: Wolverine at the same time to capitalize on the younger audience at the same time as the adult audience. Heck you may even get people who want to see both versions of the film if you release some different content in each version that may alter the experience slightly.

Either way the ratings systems are not accurate enough and too many PG-13 films should probably get an R rating, they are slipping much more violence, language and nudity into PG-13 films than they did five or ten years ago it seems. The lines are blurring and it makes it harder as a parent to decide what your child can or cannot watch without screening it yourself.

-Justin Germino

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Updated: May 3, 2009 — 5:49 pm