back to article MPs lambast BBFC over Batman

MPs Keith Vaz and Iain Duncan Smith have weighed in on the hoohah over the violent content of The Dark Knight and its controversial 12A classification. The Telegraph finds the Labour and Tory bods united in their condemnation of the film's violence and disagreement with its certificate, which allows children under 12 to see it …

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  1. ryan
    Flame

    I'm delighted to hear that...

    Keith Vaz wouldn't take his 11 year old daughter to see a 12A movie... seems that far from being a soundbite wielding shill, he is a responsible parent adopting a mature approach to film classification and his own children's ability to approach violent images with a sense of perspective. I'm filled with a newfound respect for the man!

    only kidding Keith, you're still a dickhead.

  2. Guybrush Threepwood
    Go

    Won't someone please think of the parents?

    Seen Dark Knight, enjoyed it, but isn't it a bit silly putting any sort of Advisory cert on any film, if the parents are irresponsible enough is there anything stopping them from taking a 3 year old in? Makes me worry that the gov't are looking at putting the BBFC in charge of rating games next. They ought to get their house in order first, still, I'm hoping for a PEGI system. Addy below for video game ratings system consultation if you can be arsed filling it in...

    http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/consultations/5345.aspx

  3. Pete
    Paris Hilton

    Batty-man makes a stab in the Dark Night

    The whole point of a 12A film is to ensure parents are aware that they may need to be the role model their kids deserve.

    The BBFC exists to protect young minds from growing up too fast. I'll be damned if actions such as this prevail if only to ensure the impending nanny state is held at bay.

    Blame it on the parents; they should check out the movie before allowing kids to see it.

    Paris because she would have known better than Iain D.S.

  4. Andrew Barr
    Paris Hilton

    Vaz and his daughter

    As the 12a certificate has replaced the PG rating then it is up to him if he wants his under 12 daughter to see the film, if he thinks that it is to violent then that is his right as a parent and not as a MP to decide! Some parents will think that their child is adult enough to appreciate the film and still understand that crime is wrong and take their child to see the film, others wont, but both will get on with life.

    Paris, cos she knows the difference between right and wrong

  5. Robert Harrison

    yawn

    Of course no one ever committed any violence before those nasty films and video games started appearing in the 20th century. Repeat the previous sentence until the end of the universe.

    Having said that, lower age classifications guarantee more bums-on-seats in the cinema. After all, the rather impressionable sub twenty year olds are always the first to be targetted by the marketing crews.

    In other news, it rained in Britain today.

  6. Guy
    Thumb Down

    FFS

    I wouldn't let my 11 year old see it, well captain obvious speaking, its 12A so no unaccompanied kids under 12....let me see......that encompasses 11 year olds. A responsible adult needs to authorise viewing and accompany them. You don't think it's suitable, don't let them go, comes somewhere in parenting skills I'm sure. It's not the states job to bring up your kids, you have to do it yourselves. So it's the same moral brigade saying protect our children for us, otherwise they might see what life can realy be like. Why take a child under 12 to see something that is recommended for over 12 year olds, you can see stabbings and the like for real on youtube or your local city centre and why the double standards of the previous batman movies were very cartoonlike but this actually looks real , althought the same level of violence...grip...get get....grip just add reality

  7. Edward Miles
    IT Angle

    Who to blame?

    When I went to see the film, there was a parent bringing a child in who couldn't have been more than 8 years old. Certainly shouldn't have been able to see it, but when are parents going to be made to take some responsibility for their actions?

  8. M
    Paris Hilton

    Well Lord Vaz...

    ...That's something else you have managed to be aghast over. I am aghast that you still have a job.

    As for IDS, FFS stop jumping on the bandwagon.

    Paris, because I bet she could make a pencil disappear twice as fast as the Joker.

  9. alphaxion

    heh

    loosely translated: *bwaaaaaah* I have to make an independent descision and I don't like it.. mummy.. er, government, please hold my hand and point at a choice for me.

    did I miss anything?

    Personally, I think they should have gone for a 15 cert so that they could explore the psychosis of the joker a lot more but a parent having to judge whether their child is mature enough for something is a non-issue and SHOULDN'T BE NEWS.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    I have to agree

    I saw the film in the US (where it has a PG13 rating) this weekend, and I have to admit I agree with the MPs on this occasion. It is a very dark and terrifying movie, and it would appear that the producers have successfully bribed all the classification boards worldwide to make sure youngsters can see it. Remarkably similar to the first Batman movie if you recall which was going to be given a 15 rating in the UK until complaints from the producers ended up with the introduction of the 12 rating.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    bugger muppets the lot of em

    i guess they would be even more shocked if they actually read any of the graphic novels but no they hear batman and think adam west

    what next xmen banned cus wolverine has blades sticking out of his hands?

    personally i blaim higher speed internet access for the youths willingness to stab one annother these days, aint got no patience give em a 36k modem and then they might learn to develop some.

    that or cut off there thumbs

  12. David Shepherd

    12A !< 12

    Part of the problem may be the way 12A has replaced 12 ... I must admit until I heard someone from the BBFC discussing this film on the radio yesterday I'd assumed that 12A was added as a new rating in additon to the pre-existing 12 so that I'd been assuming that the 12A classification lay somewhere between PG and 12 and not as BBFC were saying that they consider 12A films suitable for 12 year old and above but now allow parents the ability to ignore them. The fact that 12 is used for DVD classifications just adds to the confusion.

  13. alphaxion

    wait..

    oh hey.. just noticed.

    Out of 4.7 million views, we get 82 complaints?

    Why are we even listening to such a small number of idiots? If the number was in the tens to hundreds of thousands then maybe, yes.. but even in the hundreds out of millions of views (I'm aware that the figure of people who have seen it is lower due to return visits) and they haven't had cause to lodge a complaint.

    80-odd people is a pitiful ratio of offended to entertained, lets shunt them to one corner and ignore their cries for attention, they're poisoning all that is good and worse than marketeers!!

  14. Alicia

    I'm agreeing too...

    I'm going to assume that your average child these days has been exposed to theft, murder, war, rape and organised bodies of crime. This may be direct, through their peers, or indirect through news and the entertainment media.

    Furthermore, I'll assume that a chunk of these children are both intelligent and imaginative. These are natural traits.

    There will be a chunk of those whose parents have not imbued woth a sense of social responsibility. And you're saying that it's OK for these children to watch a film that demonstrates how to make people fear you? Act like a psychopath, threaten them with pain, put them in unbearable situations and then what?

    This was not cartoon violence. This was incredibly convincing, well considered examples of mental imbalance and offering it to the viewers judgement of what is a moral action. And who can take responsibility for that action.

    How can a child decide that? Particularly one who sees that the world is really in a bad state, and doesn't have the ability to fight back? What other options (on the fairly uneducated viewpoint of a child) does the film give? If you can't beat them, join them?

  15. michael

    I REALY hate to say this but

    I agree with them ...

    *shudder*

    I thought the film was defently not somthing I would have liked to see befor I was 12 and maby 15 so yes I agree with kith vas and IDS

    OMG SOO UNCLEAN

    MUST

    SHOWER

  16. John

    Those blaming parents...

    So, the parent is to pay to watch the movie prior to taking their kid to it? The whole point of the classification is to give parents a guideline to base their decisions on, it seems as though the BBFC got it wrong on this one big time.

    A parent could well feel their 10 or 11 yr old is mature enough with their company to watch the movie which it sounds is exactly what is happening. Parents ARE parenting in this case, but the BBFC screwed up. Honestly by the sounds of it I wouldn't take my 13 or 14yr old to it given the use of knives and glorifying their use on victims (and yes I know its probably been blow up somewhat but still) let alone a 10yr old even in my company.

    If I had been free this weekend I probably would have gone to see it myself, most likely with my wife and kid, by the sounds of it I too would have been vocal about its rating.

    Seriously, do we want MORE kids taking a shine to knives, frankly I'm sick of reading about kids with knives as it is. Personally I think the BBFC was probably trying to play devils advocate and not upset anyone by giving it a 15 rating (such as the producers or something)

  17. Reptar
    IT Angle

    I for one...

    I for one have not seen this film. Do not think for one minute that it will prevent me from putting my concerns into writing. My senior advisers have told me this film contains scenes of violence and peril and not 2 hours of bunnies licking their hind quarters. As an MP I have a knack for spotting things that are bad and then saying that they are bad and then saying that it would be good if they were good instead of bad. However, as an MP I often have difficulty separating reality from fiction.

    You would be right in thinking I am agast. I am agast.

    In the coming days I will be spearheading a joint select committee hearing into whether films should have an onscreen warning. Our draft measure is to have "Does not contain little fluffy bunnies" occupying no less than 75% of the picture for the duration of the screening.

    I am counting on you and your readers for support. Please, let's not have another Godzilla.

    MP Robert Huffington-George MP B.Sc

    Toddle-on-the-Weed

    Berks.

  18. Colin Millar
    Stop

    @Guy

    You are a bit early - this is the stage where we have no-life pols dictating that they will protect our children from us.

    The 'moral brigade saying protect our children for us' will be along in the time it takes to read a Daily Shrill headline.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phew!

    I've had an ongoing discussion with my kids (ages 9 and 6) as to why they're not going to see the new Batman film, but it's a 12A, their friends have been, etc, etc.

    Bloody glad I stood my ground now (not that I was ever that likely to cave you understand) - sounds like it's even more unsuitable than I might've expected from seeing trailers etc!

  20. David Webb
    Stop

    12A

    - Likewise, Home Affairs Select Committee chairman and 42-day detention beneficiary devotee Vaz said: "The BBFC should realise there are scenes of gratuitous violence in The Dark Knight to which I would certainly not take my 11-year-old daughter. It should be a 15 classification." -

    Quite right too, if he had taken his daughter to see the film he would have broken the law, or at least the cinema would have, could you imagine the scene then? "my daughter is 11 but I am an adult with her! do you know who i am? my daughter wants to see this film let me in! this is a travesty of..." etc..

    I always thought 12A meant "minimum age 12, but contains adult themes, parental discretion advised". Not strong enough for a 15, but too strong for a PG.

    The use of a 12 certificate allows the word "fuck" every now and then, as well as nudity... I remember when I were young, just a lil bit of flesh is all we saw, maybe a knee, and then Mary Whitehouse would get on her high horse and lambast the BBC for standards!

    Jack Nicholson said it best "show a tit in sexual content, its an 18, show a tit being cut off and its PG". 12A, assume the A means "adult themes" and judge if you believe your child is mature enough to watch a film which may contain adult themes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Where's the Keith Vaz icon

    I think we need a new Keith Vaz icon to represent "all technology is evil and I am pandering to Daily Mail readers" for all the stories of the uneducated and ill-formed views that continually spew from his mouth.

    What point is he trying to make? that parents should take responsibility for what their kids watch (hence the "I wouldn't take my 11 year old daughter comment") or that the its the state's responsibility (hence his "it should be a 15" comment)?

    As for gratuitous violence, maybe the film should have been 90 minutes shorter beginning with a caption saying (trust us, the Joker is a bad guy but you don't need to see it)

    Keith Vaz is a tool

  22. jason Silver badge
    Unhappy

    12A the worst choice of rating ever. Please ditch it.

    The 12A rating is just the BBFC bowing to commercial pressure. My Gf and I try to avoid 12A films due to the fact that they are usually not suitable for small children. We get fed up having to sit with in with all the parents and their 3-4 year olds going "whats that man doing daddy?" and the frequent toilet trips it involves.

    Kids these days struggle to keep quiet/still and it turns into a nightmare.

    Fine if it was Shrek, we would expect that but not during Terminator 3 or Batman.

    All it's for is to allow parents who cant find a babysitter to go see a movie and it just ruins it for other cinema goers and can traumatise the young kids.

    I remember when we went to see T3, loads of 5 year olds etc. came out scared witless and in tears over the nuclear armegeddon ending. Not clever.

    Bring back the 12 only rating as 12A is a severe lack of judgement.

  23. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Those blaming parents...

    >>Seriously, do we want MORE kids taking a shine to knives, frankly I'm sick of reading about kids with knives as it is.

    Well, I haven't actually seen it myself yet but from what I've read, you should be more worried about what impressionable youth is going to start doing with the contents of its collective pencil case.

    I was pretty warped by the face-melty bit in Raiders, me.

  24. TMISv2
    Stop

    to Quote Vaz

    "The BBFC should realise there are scenes of gratuitous violence in The Dark Knight to which I would certainly not take my 11-year-old daughter. "

    Well don't then... The answer's pretty simple.

    STOP! Won't somebody think of the children!!!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    essential Vaz reading

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Vaz

    Personally I think it gives him an easy ride, he's a rabble rouser who never saw a pitch fork wielding mob he didn't want to lead. Probably because it makes a good distraction from the corruption allegations...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    I kinda agree

    I think that at 13-14-15 you're a bit young to decide to see this movie by yourself. There are some pretty disturbing scenes. So in that respect, I can see why the rating should have been 15.

    BUT...

    If I had a child that's 14, I would look into what he wants to go see at the theater before letting him go... it's called parenting, that's what parents are supposed to do, not the State. Not happy with a rating? Well impose your own ratings to your kid! Geez!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @alphaxion

    your logic is not necessarily logical.

    4.7 million seeing the film does not mean 4.7 million who either enjoyed it, were entertained or agreed with the rating. Unless you ask them all you can't make that assumption.

    Generally speaking most people would not complain anyway and more specifically it is unlikely anyone without a youngster with them would even notice or care about the rating.

    80 complaints is quite a lot in terms of complaining really.

    However, more telling is the defence taken by those agreeing with the rating such as "if we gave it a 15 many people who wanted to see it couldn't" or "it is supposed to be dark, haven't you read the comic?"

    Surely if you want under 15s to see it and it is a bit too "adult" then you either give it a 15 and tell the producer that he should have thought of this or you suggest ways that the film could be cut down to a 12A and possibly have two different versions.

  28. Bez

    Is the BBFC on crack?

    "Younger teenagers would not have been able to see it, and they are the very people who are going to love it. We would have ended up with far more complaints from people who wanted to see the film and couldn't."

    Sorry, this is the spokeswoman for the BBFC? Have they taken their remit, rolled it up and used it as a roach in a massive bifter or what?

    Of course young teenagers want to see people getting stabbed, it's exciting. (And in some parts of the country probably constitutes part of some sort of urban YTS programme.) Kids want to see all sorts of things they really ought not to, because they're exciting.

    Kids love vodka and ciggies as well - is the BBFC about to campaign for a free-for-all on everything just in case the kids complain?

    Will the BBFC tell us, "Well, we've given Danish Spitroast Bangfest a 12A rating because 13-year-old boys tell us they just love it, and frankly we can't be doing with all the letters from the spotty oiks telling us that mum's disconnected the Internet and in absence of an overactive imagination they need some sort of material so they can yank themselves off round the clock without fear of any worse punishment than an upholstery cleaning bill from the cinema manager."

    Can we get Supernanny in to teach the BBFC a thing or two about standing their ground?

    Anyway, all this media kerfuffle is fine by me - never been interested in Batman movies before but this one sounds worth seeing. But then, my mental age is probably somewhere between 15 and 12A.

  29. Rog69
    Black Helicopters

    Not violent enough!

    What I found frustrating about the violent scenes in the film is that most of it is brief and blurry or the camera cuts away just as it happens, It's probably been cut this way to bring it down from a 15 to a 12A so that they can sell more plastic action figures and Batmobiles to kids.

  30. BatCat
    Happy

    Did I keep blinking or something???

    We went to see it as a family (including 2 kids @ 12 & 13) and I didn't see any actual knifings, I must have kept blinking just at the wrong moment! Yes there was plenty of implied violence, but other than a bit of fisticuffs, the detail was left to the viewer's imagination. Even my two daughters commented that Two Face's injuries were unrealistic as there was no blood.

    BTW, we saw the IMAX version, the IMAX scenes were awesome, but the fight scenes that were just scaled up were hard to watch with so much close-up action on such a big screen. They should have shot all the action scenes in IMAX really.

  31. Ian
    Thumb Up

    It's difficult

    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...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Webb

    If Keith Vaz had taken his 11 year old daughter to the film he wouldn't have broken the law ... if the rating was the old 12 then he would but 12A allows children under 12 to see the film *if* accompanied by an adult (n.b. thats anyone over 18 and not just their parents).

    Of course, the underlying problem that led to 12A being introduced is that BBFC classification is just a guideline and local authorities can reclassify films themselves ... BBFC gave SpiderMan a 12 but, doubtless in an attempt to appear populist, various authorities reclassified it as PG hence they introduced the cop out 12A.

  33. alphaxion

    @lee

    80 complaints out of several million is small.

    I was kinda playing devils advocate with the "vs entertained" bit, but I do stick with the contention that 80-odd out of 4.7mill views (as I said, not 4.7mill people) is an awfully small number.

    Yes, there prolly were much larger numbers of people who complained about it but didn't see fit/didn't know where to complain to the authorities yet you can be sure that they would have changed their habits of their own accord which is how it should be. Individuals making their own choices not demanding an authority do it for them!

    It is telling that the makers were concerned that a lower cert would lead to lower viewings, but if a kid wants to see it, is mature enough to handle it then I don't see a problem - it's only a problem if they begin to move beyond the fantasy of pretending to be something and actually carry a real knife with them that it draws the line and the kid needs help.

    Surely that's where the parent comes in, not the government!

    And for the record, I saw masters of the universe as a youngster and had really bad nightmares from it (prolly cause of dolph in a loincloth.. sarah, down girl!), that was a PG iirc yet by the time I was 11/12 I was happily watching total recall and terminator movies. My cousins however had been watching chuck norris films since they were 5 and had no problems with that!

    Of course, that's purely anecdotal.

  34. abigsmurf
    Dead Vulture

    Not a 12A

    This film should've been a 15.

    Creative cutting and camera angles don't stop the violence from being clear. The dissapearing pencil will still with anyone who sees it. There's a scene where a guy has a knife stuck in his mouth and it's implied he's going to get a chelsea smile, you see someone's legs get broken.

    This is not a kids film, it shouldn't be possible for kids to be brought to it. It has a bleak, violent theme that never really relents and it focuses heavily on the violence, even if the after effects aren't shown. There must be hundreds of thousands of 8 year olds out there with mental scarring from Two-Face.

    I've never seen a 12/12A anywhere approaching this level of violence, the only reason it didn't get a 15 was the BBFC being too weak to stand up to the film companies. You can't really blame the parents who haven't been warned about how violent this film is, there's nothing comparable (even Batman Begins) that's received a 12A.

  35. Peyton
    Heart

    Fascinating stuff...

    Hmmm... I think I see the problem here... you went from the 'merican G,PG,R system, to some sort of numeric 1,2,3,4,5, then to 1,2a,3,4b,5c?? lol - The thing about rating systems is, even if the one you have is not that great, if it's what everyone is use to then it'll probably work. If people keep changing it up, it's just going to lead to loads of confusion - which I think was reflected in some of the comments.

    I like our system in the States. We just slap PG-13 on everything because, higher than that and it's harder to sell to the young'uns, but lower than that and, well, it's just not going to be worth watching right? (we need at least of modicum of sex and violence) We don't need a whole lot of categories because the person selling the tickets is, 99% of the time, an apathetic teen that would let a toddler in to see an R movie anyway :p

  36. Paul Talbot

    Dumb...

    As ever, Mr Vaz is making a shrill, stupid point in order to appeal to the Daily Fail readers who don't know anything about modern culture.

    The Dark Knight meets the requirements of the 12A certificate, the description of which clearly states that it's parents' responsibility to make the decision about their children under 12 years old. The BBFC provides comprehensive information about what the 12A rating entails on their website, and also provide a special parents' information website (www.pbbfc.co.uk) that breaks down the exact reasons for the rating assigned. They also link to trailers, and there's a massive amount of information available elsewhere on the web so you can make an informed decision.

    The BBFC rating is *advice*. It's your job as a parent to not only heed that advice, but also make your own decisions based on available information. Not run to the newspapers because you couldn't be bothered and didn't like the consequences.

  37. Test Man
    Stop

    Rating

    For the bloke who reckoned that Keith Vaz would've been breaking the law if he took his 11 year old to see it, 12A means anyone under 12 can see it only if accompanied by an adult. So therefore Keith Vaz wouldn't have been breaking any laws.

    However, personally I reckon the film should've been a 15. Not because of the content (which surely is dodgy especially for a 12A rating - it more fitted a proper 12 rating as in ban on anyone younger than 12 from seeing it) but because if it was a 15, we would've seen more blood, maybe more pencil-in-the-eye trick and more knife being pushed into people's mouths. Basically I'm saying for the style of the film, it really should've been cut/edited for a 15 rating.

  38. W
    Boffin

    "I BURIED MY ABORTED BABY IN THE GARDEN WITH A SPOON"

    For what it's worth, after seeing the film, I'd probably side with a 15 cert. It felt a unnaturally disjointed as if it was really reining itself in so as to achieve the 12A. A 15 would have allowed for less cynical editing. But would have obviously reduce revenue. Which (we all know) is the real reason behind this whole shebang

    And I agree with the general principles of the watershed and of censoring content from "minors". E.g. the principal that there's a time and a place for certificates on films. And 9pm is where we've decided to draw a line for a watershed.

    And 80 complaints seems like enough to warrant a review of sorts.

    BUT!... Let's look at the broader picture. There was admittedly very little actual on-screen violence in the Batman flick. It was all implied. And what was there was in context (insofar as it was part of a film, and basically, the bad guy pretty much got his comeuppance in the end).

    Whereas, something like "I BURIED MY ABORTED BABY IN THE GARDEN WITH A SPOON" is OK (actual headline on the front of Bella, or whatever mag it was). On a coffee table, exposed to young kids who are unable to put the confusing, heavy duty (to a child) content it into it's proper context.

    There are tens of other examples - on the same magazine shelves and living room coffee tables - every day. Rape, murder, abortion etc are cheapened and blunted in the name of reporting "Real Life True Stories". Wheras combat within a fantasy context causes uproar and alternative words for procreation, bodily functions & the like are cut/bleeped/asterisked out as if typed by giggling schoolkids.

    As for The Sun (a "family paper") printing tits aplenty every day, but not being shown on the telly before 9pm....

    Principle of protecting kids from "adult themes": Correct.

    Consistent, across-the-board implementation: Critically flawed.

    Aside: "Paki bastard" could be heard on the BBC early evening news the other month. Ostensibly in the name of reporting the news of a racist attack. Whatever. But at 6pm, I'd have said it was at inconsistent when "oral sex" or "masturbation" are invariably (and cringingly) referred to as "a sex act".

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Pah!

    Aliens was my favourite movie when I was 11, and I turned out ok!

    Er...

  40. M
    Stop

    Er...

    So 0.0017% of the people that watched it complained?

    Unbelievable! There was no swearing, no blood, some menacing dialogue, and half a cgi face?

    Should have been a U in my opinion. Bambi was more traumatic for my kids.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Re: the face-melty bit in Raiders

    eek, I always remeber that scene as a bit off... until I saw it again very recently, now Im not so sure... wallace and grommit on a hot day? hardly scarey must haver been my age!

  42. Simpson

    Narnia?

    Narnia (the first one) was more violent.

    I remember taking my kids to this "kids movie" and seeing much more violence. The queen shanked someone prison style, by breaking off the blade in the victim.

    In the batman movie has violence like the 80's tv show "the A team", just not as silly. You never see the results.

    It's a pretty good film, because it gets the violence across to you, without having to show any (Al?) gore.

    Is it election season over there?

  43. Mark

    Re: Not a 12A

    If 12A meant "12 or up, but an adult needs to consider it" I.e. a higher-than-12-certificate.

    As it is, it's "PG-with-bells".

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Keith Vaz

    Kaith Vaz is so far to the left that to accuse him as a Daily Mail reader would be considered an insult to him (unless he has gone so far left it he has gone around in a circle). Much more likely to be a socialist Guardian reader.

    Doesn't stop him being a publicity seeking **** who has trouble seeing a bandwagon and not jumping on it, esepcially if it is to restrict people in the entertaining themselves (films, video games etc). He was also my MP until I left the area.

    The horned man because Vaz could be considered the devil in disguise.

  45. Chris
    Alert

    Err....

    Couple of random things; first off, if I was thinking of taking an eleven year old to see that film (I'd be worried about getting arrested/lynched as I've got no kids =) I'd bother to take five minutes out of my lunchbreak and have a quick look at some reviews/previews... the internet is handy for this I hear.

    The phrase “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy" popping up all over the place would seem to be enough of a hint that this film might scare the snot out of the youth *shrug*

    Seriously, I found clowns freaky enough as a kid without them disappearing pencils into people's heads =)

    Secondly, what's all this about the film glorifying the use of knives?

    The villian was a nutter, a genuinely unpleasent chap with a nasty habit of doing whatever he felt like without any thought for others (see the above psycho clown quote)... and he had a thing for knives. He seemed quite keen on explosives and petrol too...

    So the thoroughly evil man likes knives and hurts people without a second thought...

    How exactly does that "glorify" the use of knives?

  46. abigsmurf

    Number of complaints doesn't matter

    People keep mentioning the number of complaints. It's important to remember that, it's not the volume of complaints that really matters. It's the validity of these complaints.

    It's possible for one complaint to be upheld (most common in cases of slander or liable) but hundreds ignored (BBC screening Jerry Springer The Opera being a prime example). All that matters if that the complaint is just and shows a violation of the laws or guidelines.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Parents....

    I saw the film at a 9:15pm screening the other week which finished round midnight.

    There were a significant number of children in watching it and some of them looked under 12.

    So the actual rating of the film apparently is completely irrelevant because I guess the sort of parents take someone under 12 to a late night screening of a film would do it even if it was a 15 cert.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    BBFC and video games?

    "Younger teenagers would not have been able to see it, and they are the very people who are going to love it. We would have ended up with far more complaints from people who wanted to see the film and couldn't."

    If the BBFC end up rating video games as the government wants then I wonder if they would rate the likes of GTA IV a 12A? :D

  49. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Emulating the Joker

    There is so much panic about Kids emulating the Joker and his 'glorification' of knives, I watched it last night and hope it's a 50/50 reaction.

    Ironically (intentional irony?, maybe...) in the film, a lot of people start emulating the Batman, trying to fight crime. So what I'd like to see on the streets of the UK now is Vaz and IDS being proved absolutely right. Hoards of youths either dressed as Batman or the Joker kicking 7 kinds of s*** out of each other.

    Whilst that would be totally delightful in it's self, it brings us back to a basic question, what the hell would the parents be doing letting them go out and do that? Actually, Kids pretty much do that already, even before this film came out. Why are we in that situation? Well, I know most readers on here who are parents will take responsibility for their Kids (comments here bear that out), there is a huge level of scum who let their Kids run feral. So we change the rating of the film to 15, and so what? As soon as it's on Sky, they'll let their Kids watch and you'll be paying for it through your taxes to pay their benefits, to pay for their Sky.

    The question doesn't really get answered by what rating a movie gets, it is a much bigger problem with society in general. Lets blame a film, it's a hell of a lot easier than making those actually responsible take the responsibility.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I would certainly not take..."

    "The BBFC should realise there are scenes of gratuitous violence in The Dark Knight to which I would certainly not take my 11-year-old daughter. "

    Isn't that the whole point of 12A? Leaving it to the individual parents to decide whether it's appropriate for their children to see?

  51. John
    Stop

    When I was 15

    I went to see "Gremlins" with a younger looking friend (he was 15 too) and the amount of messing about to actually get into the local fleapit took about 4 hours. Numerous phone calls were made and the manageress agreed to come and check that we were legit. We went to an early showing so we would be home before 9pm. Thing is, kids can think for themselves, and with a little guidance even younger kids can work things out for themselves. Batman is not real. Neither were the Gremlins who were dismembered, blown up in microwaves etc. Why would I think that a few pieces of melted plastic puppets were real? Why is this even being discussed? Vaz and IDS should be concentrating their efforts on more pressing issues, such as kids actually killing each other. Then again, they're probably going for films as their efforts might actually achieve something....

  52. Tim
    IT Angle

    Sensitive kids == poor parenting

    If a child of 11 cannot deal with this level of violence, I am left quite concerned that they have been victims of over-protective parents. Sooner or later they are going to have to deal with this especially in this country.

  53. John
    Thumb Up

    Re: Sensitive kids == poor parenting by Tim

    "If a child of 11 cannot deal with this level of violence, I am left quite concerned that they have been victims of over-protective parents."

    I am left more than the "quite concerned" that you mention that you consider the film as suitable for 11yr olds, and in fact that they should by the sounds of your tone be watching it to 'ready' themselves for life.... at eleven??

    Sweet Jesus I can't actually believe you really meant that, either you are one of the parents I normally just sigh and shake my head at as being clueless, or you haven't yet graced the human race with your progeny and I'm inclined to suggest that you don't.

  54. Mark York
    Paris Hilton

    Parental Guidence

    "When I went to see the film, there was a parent bringing a child in who couldn't have been more than 8 years old. Certainly shouldn't have been able to see it, but when are parents going to be made to take some responsibility for their actions?"

    I saw this film with my wife & kids, youngest son (9), daughter (13) & son (16) while in Toronto last week.

    IMO a lot of the violence such as "the pencil trick" & knife in the mouth was implied without being extremely graphic, with the case of the former the youngest didn't even register what had just happened.

    It was obvious what was going to happen to Harvey, but thought his injuries were very OTT in a comic book way & while disturbing it didn't faze the youngest either.

    We were asked how old the kids were while paying for the tickets & no comments regarding it's suitablity were raised, keeping in mind that every episode of Stargate SG1\Atlantis\any other TV program gets a warning at the start of the program & prior to the recommencment of the episode after every ad break stating "This program contains adult themes, including mild horror etc. Viewer discretion is advised", I took the rating as given with it's suitability for younger children with parental accompanyment.

    In retrospect had I been more aware of some of the content, I'm still unsure if I would have taken the family group in to see this film or not.

    Should it have been a 15, yes but only if The Joker had been seen actually slicing the cheeks of his victims or TwoFaces disfigurment had been less clinically clean than it actually was.

    Paris because I wouldn't take my kids to see one of her movies.

  55. The Mighty Spang
    Thumb Down

    pester power

    of course parents all care about what happens to their kids and will not give in to taking them to get them to shut the fuck up in the 6 weeks of summer holidays.

    and its quite right, parents obviously have the best interests of kids at heart as we never see any obese children or youngsters wandering the streets late at night.

  56. philip jeffery
    Thumb Up

    Personally I think he's right

    I saw the film and I think it should have been a 15 the BBFC's defence has been pretty rubbish.

    "Young people who wanted to see the film couldn't have seen the film" - They should base the rating on the content of the film not the audience.

    "The Joker was an unbelieveable character" - I disagree, wearing makeup just made him look scarier.

    The 12A certificate is stupid, this can allow you to take your 7yo child to the cinema to watch that film, it would be the parents fault. But this is only related to 12A if it was a 15 or 18 film then the parent has no say in the matter.

    In a time where knife crime is the number 1 priority for Police should we really show our 12yo children a film the glamourises knives. They do see enough of this in the news and on the internet do they really need to see it in the summers blockbuster movie.

    It is the BBFC's job to rate the film, if you start blaming the parents you might as well scrap the rating system all together.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not going to comment on the film.

    As I have not seen it. But here is the definition of 12A, taken from BBFC website.

    I'll leave it to those who have seen the film to comment on how closely it meets the criteria:

    "12A – Suitable for 12 years and over. No-one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a ‘12’ rated video or DVD. Responsibility for allowing under-12s to view lies with the accompanying or supervising adult.

    Theme

    Mature themes are acceptable, but their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers.

    Language

    The use of strong language (eg 'fuck') must be infrequent. Racist abuse is also of particular concern.

    Nudity

    Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context must be brief and discreet.

    Sex

    Sexual activity may be implied. Sex references may reflect what is likely to be familiar to most adolescents but should not go beyond what is suitable for them.

    Violence

    Violence must not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood. Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated.

    Imitable techniques

    Dangerous techniques (eg combat, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on imitable detail or appear pain or harm free. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.

    Horror

    Sustained moderate threat and menace are permitted. Occasional gory moments only.

    Drugs

    Any misuse of drugs must be infrequent and should not be glamorised or instructional."

  58. Jolyon Smith
    Paris Hilton

    What you "see" and what you THINK you see

    "You see someone's legs get broken"

    No, actually, you don't. You see the legs of someone hitting the ground, having fallen from a fair height, a height which we have already had established is not going to be fatal.. Legs in trousers, no less.

    You don't see bone protruding through flesh. You don't see blood. You don't even see much in the way of any physical deformation that might arise from such a fall.

    What you SEE is more than likely someone jumping from a short stool. A very short stool.

    And all this happening to a not very nice man that we are not invited to sympathise with one iota.

    Compare and contrast with Watership Down - which we happened to watch at the weekend.

    In which we see cute fluffy bunnies literally being shaken to pieces and tossed around by an enraged dog. Blood and bodies everywhere.

    And this in a PG!!!!!

    But it's a cartoon so it doesn't matter. Riiiiight?

    Newsflash: The Dark Knight absolutely is NOT a kiddies movie. But in the same way that The Hunt For Red October is not a kiddies movie, NOT in the same way that SAW is.

    --

    Paris - because the other options are boring or butt ugly. <shrug>

  59. Ben
    Alert

    And.........

    i wonder what censorship rating the activities of our Government in various foreign parts might turn out to be Mr Vaz , best ask the survivors huh !

    Vaz owes me a new beat box anyway , he was on R4 advocating a lofty moral stance on some piece of utter trivia and the slime oozing forth MADE me stab both speakers with a pencil , they MADE me do it , i was FORCED . Batmaaan nananananananana Batman

    Aieeeeeee........NURSE!

  60. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I'd let my 15yo see it

    ... In fact, I did. And I'd have taken her myself if she hadn't gone with friends. I made sure she saw Batman Begins so she'd have the proper context. And I'd have had no problem with it at 12, and maybe a little younger. I know she was more than mature enough to handle it. Still, she may be exceptional. Tends to happen to kids with disabled siblings.

    The joker was a murderous violent psychopath? No, say it isn't so! Yeah, I grew up with the Adam West / Burt Ward Batman TV show and its cartoon villains. I've seen the Nicholson Joker, I've read the comics. You know what? First time I saw a trailer for the Dark Knight my first reaction was, "Damn, that Joker is SCARY." It was obvious to me immediately. Without watching the movie first. And I'm not the most subtle person in the world. More like, you gotta hit me with a brick.

    So how is it these parents are all up in arms? It's called the Dark Knight -- did they take that too literally and not see the metaphor in "dark"? Did they not notice how scary the Joker was in the trailers? Did they not notice how seriously Batman Begins took the story, compared to other attempts? Did any of them read the reviews? Screen the movie before taking Junior?

    Apparently not. Some parents are clueless. Sure, take the kids to a movie too violent and then be all up in arms because you didn't do your homework. Blame the movie rating for your laziness and ineptitude.

    Black helicopter as a metaphor for, hmmmm, something. I'm sure it'll come to me later.

    P.S. I enjoyed the movie, and highly recommend it. It could have been better, but it's worth seeing. But be warned: this Joker is dangerously insane. And believe it or not, there's violence in the movie.

  61. Rob Cooper
    Thumb Up

    I Agree

    Had a convo with a colleague about it at work, who wanted to take his 6 year old son. I said i wouldnt..

    It amazes me how they cover up GSW's (which you can see on the news) Yet clearly show the Joker and his amazing disappearing pencil trick (where he smashes it into someones skull, obv killing them).

    I also agree with the comments made on knife play, there is too much of that already.

    I think it should be a 15, not suprised though as most certificates are too low for films.

  62. Dave Ross
    Happy

    Why...

    so serious?

  63. A J Stiles
    Stop

    I know who to blame

    Don't blame the movie studio for making a film with scenes that some people might find unpleasant (but others will find highly enjoyable).

    Don't blame the BBFC for giving it a 12A rating (suitable for 12-year-olds and particularly mature others).

    Don't blame the local councils for not exercising their powers to re-certify the film as 15 or 18 (or invent a special new 21 certificate, or ban it altogether, or whatever).

    Blame the person who is holding a knife to your throat and forcing you to watch the film against your will.

  64. Cherry Black
    Alert

    More worryingly...

    In a 12A film, there were six separate adverts for alcohol in the trailers when I went to see it. Only two were for beer, the rest were hard spirits, advertised in their usual "omg drink this and u will be kewl" manner.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    BBFC ratings

    The BBFC have been lowering the ratings threshold for years. More and more child-unfriendly content is being passed for viewing by an ever younger audience. Personally, having taken my 12 year old to see the film I do think it should've been a 15 so for me, so another example of where the BBFC have got it wrong.

    In saying that, this is pure opportunism by Keith Vaz and absolutely true-to-form for him. Above all else he chose to concentrate on the knife-related violence element of the film - if knife crime wasn't so hot a topic right now this simply wouldn't have even appeared on the radar.

    At least IDS was more rounded in his reasons why he thought it was awarded the wrong rating, although it would've been nice if he'd not bothered left Mr Vaz as the lone, ridiculous voice he is.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, Keith Vaz

    Knower of all... Do they just drag him up whenever they have a question about anything? Surely it's the job of the BBFC to decide what rating they give a film, and not the job of Keith, he should be doing his job, um, sitting around procrastinating or something... Like investigating the MoD's "Private" Police force and finding out what they do - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-562318/Concern-Ministry-Defences-private-police-quiz-thousands-tourists.html - you know, the secret things they do like standing around outside Whitehall protecting him and his lackeys.

    Seriously, does he ever have a comment to make on anything, other than just demanding action and information about other peoples jobs?

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's too scary.

    Sure, none of the violence is actually shown. You don't see the legs break, you just *hear* them snap. And the film is well enough made that the *implication* of violence is unmistakeable. The fight scenes are tight and a *long* way from "fantastical".

    12A is a stupid classification, unless there is also a 12. It's not a 15, quite, but there are too many shithead parents who will take an 8 or 9 year old to this because they want to see it and can't be arsed to get a babysitter.

    Yes, the Government (and its agents like the BBFC) *does* need to protect some kids from their parents.

  68. Dave

    ...christ!

    The real issue is not about "should an 11yr old see a 12a film".

    Its about the classification system and it's corruption. (see This Film Is Not Yet Rated)

    Let's start again shall we....

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why no mention of Burton's Batman?

    Wasn't that film the first to be awarded a 12 in the UK? There was plenty of talk at the time that the introduction of the '12' rating was in no small part from the pressure of studios, who wouldn't make as much money if films, blatently not suitable to be classed as PG, were rated as 15... hence the halfway house and naturally it would only be timer before they wanted a 12A.

    I remember plenty of newspaper articles and chancers warning of the deep psychological damaged the darkness of Burton's Batman - did this turn out to be the case?

    "**Note: May not actually be true."

    Or more accurately, "Note: Not actually true." Bit of a cheap shot - 0/10 for effort as particularly you could have then mentioned that Greyhound has pulled its ads that boast "there's no such thing as bus rage."

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great parenting tips on El Reg

    Seems like a lot of non-parents here have some strong opinions about what responsible parents should do.

    My 12 year-old son asked if he could go and see this with a friend, and we were comfortable with him going to see a 12A. If we had had to go and see it first ourselves to vet it, chances are he would never have got to see it. He came home saying he couldn't believe it was not a 15. Seems to me that the bar on what counts as violent gets raised every year.

    You need to be able to trust these classifications.

  71. dreadful scathe
    Alert

    no way thats a 12A

    I was shocked to find it it was a 12a to be honest. Surely the BBFC are classifying films as advice to parents and a 12A means "probably ok for under 12's" what else do we take it to mean ? Its not about parental control as if you were to go by the BBFCs advice and take your mature 8 year old, they will have learnt that slamming a pencil through someones eyeball is a cool magic trick :( The suggestion that you pre-watch everything or rely on reviews defeats the point of having a classification system in the first place.

    So spokeswoman Sue Clark says, "Younger teenagers would not have been able to see it, and they are the very people who are going to love it. We would have ended up with far more complaints from people who wanted to see the film and couldn't."

    Is this a good argument ? What about selling alcohol to under 18's? there are lots of complaints from them that they can't get served in pubs, so best just let them in really as they are the people who are going to love it :)

    The last Heath Ledger film I went to see years ago was the cheesy teen nonsense of "10 things I hate about you" that was a 12 and not a 12A. Now thats scary.

  72. Nemo Metis
    Linux

    Ermm

    So does this mean the reinstatement of the 9pm watershed, and the news can only be shown after 9pm? When will people just stop being so bloody stupid? I've not even seen the film yet and i'm telling people not to be stupid. If a film like this, which, lets face it, was always destined to be graphically voiolent, is getting people churning, then god know what happens when they watch the news.

    Penguin bedcause the world is in violent technicolour, not just black and white

  73. Chris Hunt

    @Alicia

    "And you're saying that it's OK for these children to watch a film that demonstrates how to make people fear you? Act like a psychopath, threaten them with pain, put them in unbearable situations"

    Surely they'll learn all that at school?

  74. philip jeffery
    Thumb Up

    Rating system is flawed

    The 12A rating system is flawed and inconsistent. If they continue to use the 12A rating system then they might as well change 15 & 18 to 15A and 18A.

    Its the parents decision if their child can watch a 12A film, but the BBFC's decision if someone can watch a 15 or 18 film.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @dreadful scathe

    "a 12A means "probably ok for under 12's" what else do we take it to mean ?"

    What it actually means! Suitable for 12 and over. The a was added as a get out clause for spiderman as a lot of parents complained that they thought it was suitable for their children but cinemas couldn't allow them in. 12a is just the 12 rating, but with an acknowledgement that you know more about what is suitable for your particular child than the BBFC, and if you deem it ok then you can take them to see it

    On another note, the ratings system probably should be revised, especially in america as well as the UK. There need to be more stages so that the rating can be adjusted to match the film, not have to adjust the film to fit it into the rating. As there is only essentailly 13 and 17 in the US a lot of films get cut to fit into the 13 rating, rather than being give a 15.

    If something doesn't quite fit into the 12 rating, but is nearly there stick a 13 on it or 14, make the ratings the guidelines to the film they are supposed to be, not set boxes that every film must fit into. Rather contraversially, i think that all ratings should be 'a' although without the silly 'a' on, i was ok to watch some 18 films when i was 10-17, so my parents let me, same with 15's. Ultimately what a child watches is the parent's responsibility so give them the flixibility to decide both ways, both preventing or allowing.

  76. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    Keith Vaz' thought process...

    "Aha! This film has been classified 12A! I can take my 11yo daughter, even though I know it's not suitable for her, expose her to potential trauma and unsuitable material, and then rant about it afterwards! And I'll be on teevee!! And I might get mentioned in the Guardian again! I can be outraged! Hurrah!"

    Not that I'm cynical about the man, or anything.....!

  77. A J Stiles

    @ AC

    "Rather contraversially, i think that all ratings should be 'a' although without the silly 'a' on, i was ok to watch some 18 films when i was 10-17, so my parents let me, same with 15's. Ultimately what a child watches is the parent's responsibility so give them the flixibility to decide both ways, both preventing or allowing." -- Exactly! Let's have a bit of individual responsibility here, for crying out loud.

  78. Ron Eve
    Stop

    Context

    At 10 years old, my son and his similarly aged best friend, used to

    go to the friends 17 yr old brother's room and watch 18 rated movies.

    Us parents didn't know about this until much much later, not because

    we didn't care but because the kids took great care that we never

    found out. (Kids, eh!?)

    My son is now 28 and do you know the film that affected his life the

    most?

    Jaws.

    Yup. So much so that he still has trouble swimming in the sea. Never

    mind 'Driller Killer' or 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', a film with a

    rubber shark has affected the lives of more children since it was

    released in 1975 and shown continually on TV since, than any fantasy

    shock/horror movie.

    And Keith Vaz is bandwagon-jumping, harrumphing cn^t. (IMHO)

  79. Jon Tocker

    I let my 5- and 4-year old sons watch Batman Begins...

    *After watching it first* and vacillating over whether or not the fear-toxin-affected people's POVs would be too scary for them (and deciding that they were no worse than the animated series depictions of people affected by the Scarecrow's fear gas - and that was on children's television.

    When The Dark Knight was due to be released I checked out the trailers and reviews then my wife and I went to see it first and...

    ... decided that the kids are not going to be allowed to watch it until they're a lot older, despite them showing all signs that they are intelligent and can tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

    It's called: "exercising some common sense and vetting what they see."

    The Joker is bloody scary and Batman is quite a bit darker in this movie than in the last:

    Maroni: "If you're trying to intimidate someone, pick a better spot. From here, the fall wouldn't kill me."

    Batman: "I'm counting on it."

    I don't think my kids need to see their hero beating the shit out of a prisoner or deliberately breaking the legs of someone to elicit information. Worst they've seen so far is him using a bent cop as a yo-yo and giving Crane a dose of his own gas (resulting in a "demonic Batman" from Crane's POV) and that's about as far as I'm prepared to let it go until they're older.

    What age would I let them see it? Hard to say - I'd prefer to wait and see and make a judgement call based on my assessment of their maturity in a few years than make a hard-and-fast assumption now.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and thought Ledger brought a believability to the character of the Joker that all other TV and movie portrayals lacked - a terrifying believability.

  80. Craig Jenkins
    Unhappy

    Whose responsibilty?

    Firstly I agree with all comments here to varying degrees.

    Borderline decision? If the border involved considering the number of extra tickets sold, then I would say it wasn't. I have always been dubious about this so-called 'advisory' '12A' rating, for it has the potential for the admission of kids as young as 8 years old, as the rating allows this. Compared even to the original '12' rating, theatre admissions are sure to be higher. We should anticipate that the '12A' will soon enough render the '15' practically obsolete, as it is likely to become the rating that movie producers will want to avoid, in such a way as the '18' is an undesirable rating to have.

    Due to the DECREASE in the age of admission to any '12A' rated feature, the content that should pass for it should in fact be more restricted, however, it is not. In fact, the criteria for a '12A' are much higher than they were for the '12', which now only exists for home video.

    I have a number of problems specifically with the '12A': as I first stated, it is designed to increase the potential audience for a film with that rating. Secondly, it is purely 'advisory', supposedly putting the onus on the parent or guardian to decide whether their under 12's should view. Of course, this won't happen, most parents these days couldn't be bothered to make those decisions, rather take it as word that if the '12A' states under 12's as young as 8 can view it, then that's good enough for them. Even if the parent wants to see it first, then decide to bring the kids along another time, that's further movie tickets sold.

    It's no secret that the film censors are adapting the ratings system to help fund the ailing cinema business. Changes in the 'PG-13' guidelines in the USA further exascerbate this change in the BBFC. However the ratings system employed by the MPAA is a joke anyway, the only rating that actually restricts by age being 'NC-17', as the 'R' requires an accompanying adult for under 18's, and the 'PG-13' is just advisory. No film maker wants an 'NC-17' and tries hard to avoid it, therefore the MPAA ratings are an unofficial system of knowing what sort of content the film will contain. I have been to America and can vouch that Parents will take their kids to an 'R' rated movie, either out of parental slackness, or simply because they couldn't be bothered getting a babysitter. We don't want that over here.

    But it's already getting that way. I have had my movie going expoerience shattered by impatient, fidgety and loud kids who couldn't sit quietly through War of Worlds, Dark Knight, Mission Impossible 3, and Terminator 3 to name a few.

    To that point, T3 was a mistake at '12A' Killing off teens, lots of swearing and a scene in which the villain puts her arm through a man and cintinues to drive a car with said eviscerated man on her arm? Not for any kids I know or care about.

    Even when the content starts to peek it's head over the top of '12A' and creeps into '15', you'll find that the BBFC just moves the goalposts anyway. This comment is in the decision info for "The Dark Knight":

    "In the final analysis, THE DARK KNIGHT is a superhero movie and the violence it contains exists within that context, with both Batman and the Joker apparently indestructible no matter what is thrown at them."

    That's bull. I was among many adults still cringing at the Joker/Batman interrogation scene, and at a lot of knife threats too, which the BBFC also covers:

    "There are also scenes in which the Joker threatens first a man and then a woman with a knife and whilst these do have a significant degree of menace, without any actual violence shown they were also acceptably placed at ‘12A’"

    To cap off (not a moment too soon), I believe that if the BBFC wants to continue the '12A' then the criteria they need to meet should be more stringent. And bring back the '12', for films they can deem as having stronger content but not enough for a '15'. (They have a similar system going on in EIRE, where I went to see "Clerks 2" rated a '16', one above '15A' and one below '18'.)

    In summary, I have noticed that the content of most '12A' films have become stronger in the last five years, making them almost indistinguishable from '15'. I believe the BBFC needs to sort itself out and think about it's moral obligation to be responsible for what children view, unstead of putting the onus on the public in order to boost cinema profit.

  81. Dr. E. Amweaver
    Paris Hilton

    Hey kids... wanna see a magic trick?

    The disappearing pencil trick is enough to have sent this into 15 territory. I've seen recent 18s that were tamer...

    ...you really do have to ask, did the BBFC clear this as a 12A because they were afraid of getting sued over the commercial damage?

    These guys need some legal immunity and some teeth.

    Paris, because she's rated for everyone.

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