By Nick Lang
It wasn’t so long ago that all a movie trailer had to warn its audience of was any 'Adult Content', yet in today's happy-go-lucky climate this apparently is no longer enough. We are now offered a running commentary in the small print of every single part of the film that may offend people. For example, the other day I saw a trailer for a movie which “contains one moderate use of strong language and mild injury”: so at some point in this movie someone might stub their toe and say “ow shit”; thank God they warn you of this stuff in advance. But wait, if they don’t say when this horrible event will occur, how will I know when to cover my children’s eyes and ears? They should say “contains one moderate use of strong language about 1 hour and 13 minutes in (when Geoff gets miffed with nameless henchman 3), and mild injury about 1 hour and 25 minutes in (when Humphrey gets a splinter)”.
Are we heading for a time when the small print of action films will read “contains
one moment where a bad guy gets his finger chopped-off in some piece of
machinery, another has their faced smashed with a spade, another swears
quite a lot; one woman says ‘fuck me’, which leads to a moderately
explicit sex scene (whatever moderately explicit means); the good guy
gets a broken arm and swears a bit but only when necessary, and he also
smokes. Other than that, nothing much really happens”? Not to give too much away or anything.
I remember going to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when I
was a kid, and having my mum cover my eyes when the Nazi’s face rapidly
ages to the point where it completely disintegrates (quality, and
nothing he didn’t deserve). Now it was rated PG, and I think my mum
exercised her role as parental guide for allowing me to watch a good
film, but covering my eyes when there was something that she felt was a
little too shocking for me. These days the trailer would have to say “contains
adventure violence, mildly strong language, and one scene of thoroughly
deserved yet rather nasty death by rapid ageing”.