Why is the MPAA rating system so flawed?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by BobaFrank, Sep 12, 2005.

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  1. BobaFrank Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2001
    star 5
    I'll give a good example.

    The Matrix trilogy is rated R

    1.No frontal nudity.
    2.No F-bombs(minimal cussing)
    3.Minimal blood and guts
    4.Adult themes
    .


    The SW Saga is rated PG/PG 13

    1.No frontal nudity
    2.It is full of severed limbs and decapitations(Graphic Violence)
    3.Adult themes
    4.Minimal cussing.

    LOTR Trilogy is PG 13

    1.No frontal nudity
    2.Adult themes
    3.There are severed limbs and decapitations(Graphic Violence)
    4.No cussing


    So where do the people who make the ratings decide when these movies are so similar?
  2. General Cargin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 1999
    star 4
    I might speculate that in the case of the graphic violence, the problem may lie more in the depiction of said violence in modern society. I mean, you don't see swords or energy weapons being used in any capacity in our modern world view outside of medieval fairs or a laboratory. Pistols and other firearms (as shown in the Matrix trilogy) are more believable in a current context than weapons portrayed in LotR or Star Wars. They are also easier to obtain and use, therefore perhaps more subject to societal cautions than archaic or futuristic designs.

    As for the themes, I don't know. I have trouble picking the more advanced themes, let alone competently analysing, of the Matrix trilogy, and I'm 27. I have no problem picking up on, comprehending and analysing the themes of the Star Wars saga. Presentation counts - the themes of the Matrix are woven together more intricately than those in Star Wars and LotR - remember that the target audience for Star Wars was teenagers, and Lord of the Rings grew out of a tale Tolkien wrote for his children. The line between good and evil is clear cut in both SW and LotR, whereas it is not as clearly or simply defined in the Matrix. Hence, one possible reason for the difference in ratings advice.
  3. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I believe that something that you'd probably want to consider is the intensity of some of the scenes in the movies. It was always my impression that the Matrix was rated R not only for it's violence, but the scenes when he awoke in the pod, which scared the crap out of me when I first saw it. LOTR had some very intense battle scenes, with you right in the middle, but it was interlayered with other scenes that were the complete opposite. And Star Wars, despite the decapitations, is pretty mild, except for ROTS, which had some very dark scenes, such as Vader going in to kill those kids. Its things like that, more than just graphic violence, in my book, that will up the ratings.
  4. BobaFrank Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2001
    star 5
    So more or less it's the projected audience age they measure the rating by?
  5. master_organa Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 2004
    star 5
    Though I havn't seen it, I have heard that the Grudge should have been rated R. Is that true?
  6. PadmeLeiaJaina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2002
    star 6
    Here's a head-scratcher for you - why would "Harry Potter and the Goblets of Fire" earn a PG-13 rating????


    Knowing what happens in this kids book, I can tell you under no circumstances is it as dark or terrifying as parts of "Revenge of the Sith" might've been for kids.

    There's just no way that the 2 films deserve equal billing. GOF is along the line of ESB for angst and should be PG.

  7. master_organa Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 2004
    star 5
    Probably because Pettigrew will cut his hand off. Even if you don't see it, it will still be freaky. Actually the entire graveyard sequence will probably be freaky.
  8. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    It IS a little absurd that foul language seems to take precedence over violence. If I went to see " Red Eye " without knowing its rating I would be have been very suprised that it wasnt rated R. Actually I was pretty suprised it wasnt rated R even knowing that it was PG-13. What suprises me even more is how fatal it is to a movies econony to release it unrated. We need a genius with balls to go ahead and do something like that but I guess with the advent of directors cut DVD's its probably not going to happen.
  9. WLDB Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2004
    star 4
    I dont like most of the ratings. Red Eye was rated PG here. Two or three 8 year olds watched it at the same time as me without any guardian.
  10. sidious618 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    Sometimes what is implied is much scarier than actaul violence, i.e. the child killing scene in RotS.
  11. rogue_wookiee Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2004
    star 6
    In terms violence I'd say LotR is the worst. Jackson likes his gore. Even though it isn't in your face bloody, you still see some graphic things. Orc intestines, blood spurting from decapitated heads, etc. What do expect from the man who made Dead Alive? A movie which I have heard is the goriest movie of all time.

    One movie I got a good laugh out of the rating was Snow Day. Rated PG for brief nudity? It was a 3 year old in his underwear running on screen for a split second. [face_plain]
  12. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    Worst raiting ever. Whale Rider's PG-13. Everywhere else in the world this wonderful family film got a rightly deserved PG but drug refrences got it upped to PG-13 in the US.
  13. mynameismyown Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2005
    star 3
    i know i'm tired of all these lame pg-13 horror movies or raunchy comedies that would play better as r rated. and whale rider should not have been pg-13
  14. arwen_sith Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2005
    star 4
    What I don't get is why consensual sex between two adults always ups the ratings much more than mere violence does. That really is a part of the American mentality I'll never understand.
  15. Tyranus_the_Hutt Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2004
    star 4
    So where do the people who make the ratings decide when these movies are so similar?

    There are a variety of matters that are considered when the MPAA is evaluating a film, and much of their reasoning for having awarded it a particular classification has to do with the context of material that is deemed to be offensive. I tend to believe that their reasoning is somewhat tenuous at best, but that is the manner in which they justify their approach.

    I?ll give you an example: The F-word is considered to be more offensive when it is used in a sexual context. When a film contains multiple occurrences of that word used in a disparaging, but not sexual, context, it is deemed to be less incendiary, or "more" appropriate (no, I don?t understand this thinking, either, but I am attempting to explain their rationale). Clint Eastwood?s 1995 film, "The Bridges of Madison County," initially received an R rating for a scene in which the Meryl Streep character used the F-Word as a descriptor for sexual congress; Eastwood, who was incensed at the rating, appealed to the MPAA, and ultimately the R classification was reduced to a PG-13. It is bizarre to consider that a thoughtful and moving film such as "Madison County" would be handed an R rating based solely on one (yes, one) line of dialogue, when a picture such as "The Man," starring Samuel L. Jackson, contains at least five f-words (in non-sexual context, of course), receives a PG-13 with little difficulty. Compare the relatively mild content of the Eastwood film to the pumped-up, aggressive sexual overtones in the PG-13 rated "Charlie?s Angels" pictures and you are faced with a pretty strange conundrum of sorts.

    There are also a number of hypothetical guidelines which allegedly inform the MPAA?s decisions in their assessment of films, which serves as an extension of the contradictory ideas encapsulated within the language issue that I have detailed above. Violence, for example, is not problematic as long as it is relatively contained (i.e. limiting the exhibition of gore); therefore, movies which might technically contain as much violence as an R picture, such as "Mission: Impossible 2," are PG-13 because the amount of blood is limited. It is ironic, however, that movies such as "Boyz N the Hood," which are against violence and guns, are rated R, whilst movies that endorse and glorify destruction, such as, say, "Transporter 2," are rated PG-13. There is something manifestly hypocritical in this series of mixed messages being put for the by the MPAA that can be observed in their arcane, even parochial set of definitions and classification guidelines.

    This also extends to the presentation of sexuality in film. Films such as Bertolucci?s "The Dreamers" (while explicit in terms of its nudity and simulated sexual situations), which attempt to deal with sexuality in an intelligent, thoughtful manner, are considered to be more offensive than the impersonal "sex as a contact sport" behavior that is characterized in something like "Basic Instinct." It is ironic that a film which exploits sexuality as fodder from which to build the framework for a lurid thriller is "acceptable," whereas a more serious consideration of sex falls under the jurisdiction of the NC-17 rating, which portions of the general public tend to associate with pornography, regardless of what the MPAA would have you or I believe.

    Worst raiting ever. Whale Rider's PG-13. Everywhere else in the world this wonderful family film got a rightly deserved PG but drug refrences got it upped to PG-13 in the US.

    You are absolutely correct, weezer. The MPAA gave "Whale Rider" a PG-13 classification due to a scene in which a bong was visible in one particular shot ? the implication being that the adult character within the frame had been using it. I have observed the shot in question, and the drug paraphernalia is positioned so that few viewers are likely to even notice it in the first place. Apart from that one objectionable moment, "Whale Rider" contains no strong langua
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