I'm a regular cinema goer: I see about fifty films in cinemas a year (I'm in my mid forties, my regular cinema going companion is in her mid fifties). And I have children of ten and twelve, so I'm in the zone where certification is an issue. I'm interested in certification issues to the point that I occasionally correspond with the BBFC and my r. c. g. c. is an academic who sees hundreds of films a year and has cinema as one of the strings of her publishing bow, so I/We are not naive observers.
All that said, I was surprised that Dark Knight was a 12A. The BBFC guidance claims it's clearly a mainstream 12A, which is at odds with their statement now that it's borderline. Certainly compared to Casino Royale, which was only passed at 12A with cuts, it's a different kettle of fish. Had I only read the guidance I would probably have taken my elder daughter had she expressed an interest, but having actually seen the film (opening night, natch) I wouldn't.
A few weeks ago I saw the restored digital print of Blade Runner. I muttered in advance to elder daughter that I couldn't remember why it was a 15, that it had been an AA (ie 14) on release, and if I were a bad parent I'd consider taking her (5 ' 7": they won't notice). But then I watched it, and its 15 certificate seemed justified. So, if Bladerunner retains its 15, how is Dark Knight less mature? And at the other end of the range, I took both my kids (as I say, ten and twelve) to see both ``Be Kind, Rewind'' and ``Son of Rambow'', and I just cannot see the certification parallel with Dark Knight. Short of expecting every responsible parent to see the film in advance, what can you do? Elder wants to see ``Man on Wire'' this week, which is also a 12A...
And of course there are idiots: at the first night screening I saw, a woman with hoop ear-rings and a room-temperature IQ had a three year old with her, who was petrified. Perhaps just bringing back the 12 certification, or making the ``8 minimum'' recommendation on 12A mandatory, would help.
Mind you, there's an air of ``films need to be censored to protect the poor people'' to it all. No-one turned a hair at my taking my then eleven year old to the Chichester Stewart / Goold Macbeth, which had enough blood to be going on with, she was happy enough as Martha knocked out ``Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole'' at a gig at the weekend, and it's likely you could argue that Hamlet (the Tennant / Goold thing at the RSC is next weekend's challenge) is hardly suitable for the impressionable.
But I found that child's terror spoilt the film for me, sentimental man that I am.
The thumb, because DK is pretty good. Not great. But I suspect much better than The X Files film will be tonight...