Movie Ratings are Weird

mad max posterThis comes up due to Mad Max: Fury Road. Just babbling, and reiterating some of the thoughts of my associates after seeing the film.

First off, it’s worth watching, if you like explosions or want more crazy bandits, excessive body and car modification, and despise movies where they commit the sin of talking. I think less than two hundred words are spoken during the entirety of the film. Honestly, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve probably seen all the dialogue.

But coming out, it was brought up that it might have been the softest R-Rated film we had ever seen. Almost all of the violence either occurs offscreen or amounts to “Dude fell off the car and is now assumed to be dead”. I think you see maybe five or six actual deaths during the film, and only one of them actually has any blood or guts associated with it (and that one happens in about 20 frames, so you don’t even really consciously see it. Though the body is on display for about 10 seconds in a later shot. From far away, so you can’t really see the damage.)

There’s no real nudity… at least, not what we classify as nudity anymore. There’s a scene where a bunch of “milk maids” are having their breasts pumped to provide milk for the people of Citadel, but the devices clamped over their nipples leave more to the imagination than most of the “clothes” you see Lady Gaga or Beyonce wearing. (Plus, they’re kind of ugly. Which is cruel, perhaps, but just noting it. It’s unlikely anyone has freeze frames of this shot sitting next to the Lubriderm, yanno?)

There’s one scene where a naked woman is atop a crow’s nest, but she’s curled up in such a way that nothing is visible – not even a bum shot or any side boob – and she hurries to throw a cloak on once she will actually be in frame for any length of time, so…

There’s a scene where a pregnant woman is allegedly run over by a car, but her body seems almost miraculously untouched, so unless we’re dinging the movie for the mere idea, I don’t think that was it.

As  I noted before, there’s almost no dialogue, and what talking is done is mostly grunts, groans and single-sentence declarations, none of which contained profanity that I could catch. So that’s not it.

Nobody even lights a cigar or anything, which these days seems like an insta-R.

So why the hell is this movie rated R? I’ve literally seen more blood, guts, cursing and nudity in an episode of Supernatural than in this film… and with an extra helping of “deeply disturbing concepts” as well. I also remember a terrible film from the 80s, Ghoulies, which included profanity, Satanism, a pregnant woman being graphically murdered (and gutted afterward) and sex, sex, sex with plenty of boob and one possible dick-shot… and was rated PG-13.

One of three possibilities occurs to me. Either the censors were asleep when they viewed it, and stamped it with an R just because “It’s Mad Max, it must be R. Right?” The producers begged for an R rating because there’s this weird belief that if something isn’t tagged R or M, people won’t buy it (which, sadly, is often backed up by ticket and sales figures. People seem to think if material isn’t branded in some was as being “adults only” that it’s not worth dealing with, and there have been plenty of instances of games and films adding more unnecessary gore, violence or boob shots just to push the rating over the line). Or our standards for what constitutes objectionable material that should be kept away form the kiddies – not that it’s working, as I saw plenty of underage folks at this particular Friday screening – have significantly sharpened of late.

I just don’t know.

What about you folks? Anybody seen Mad Max 4, yet? What do you think about the rating? Did it deserve the R, or should it have been tagged PG-13, and do you think it affected it’s commercial viability one way or the other? Let us know in the box below!

KA Spiral no signature


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