‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Will Be PG-13 In US But What About The UK? | Film News
The US board of film classification, the MPAA, has given J. J. Abrams upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens a PG-13 rating in cinemas. The rating, which was introduced to America in 1984, is designed to distinguish films that can be universally appreciated from those which require a more developed perspective to understand.
A PG-13 classification can also help parents predict a film’s content; any film may contain mature themes, for example Pixar features often deal with the complexities of trauma and death, however a film with a PG-13 rating may portray this theme in a manner younger audiences would struggle to understand. Scenes of extended violence, frequent strong language, and sexualised nudity are difficult to decode at a young age, and are therefore reserved for the higher echelons of the MPAA’s rating system.
The Force Awakens is expected to contain darker themes than George Lucas‘ original trilogy, and scenes of open warfare and torture already visible in trailers released, a PG-13 rating was to be expected. Earlier this year Colin Trevorrow‘s Jurrasic World contained one particular scene of prolonged, gratuitous violence – if you’ve seen the film, I’m talking about the scene with the British lady and the pterodactyl – that I really struggled to fit into my idea of a PG-13 film.
But what does this all mean for the UK? Our own film classification board, the BBFC, is likely to give the latest Star Wars film a 12A rating; which is a near equivalent of America’s PG-13. Established in 2002, the 12A rating allows children under the age of 12 to see films, accompanied by a responsible adult, that they would previously be barred from viewing. The BBFC’s website stresses the importance of filmic themes and audiences developmental age, stating:
“The tone of the work, how it makes an audience feel, is very important, even for the 12 categories Examiners have to think about what 12 year olds will know from school and their friends, what they understand about the world, and what concerns them the most. If a film is especially upsetting, or has a mature theme or adult tone, it may not be suitable at 12 or 12A“.
As we have already discussed, The Force Awakens is likely to feature a dark tone and mature themes. However, those responsible for the film’s development will be very aware that it must be accessible to all, and that younger children must be able to understand and process the heavier elements of the feature. Strong language, sexualised nudity, and prolonged violence violence are also a concern for the BBFC, however it is unlikely J. J. Abrams film will spend much time in these arenas.
“Nerf Herder” is unlikely to get anyone’s back up, Princess Leia-esque bikinis could only be met with ridicule today, and blaster pistols and lightsabers seem to cauterise wounds instantly, which is handy when your film classification board hates the sight of blood… Star Wars: The Force Awakens will open in UK cinemas on December 17.
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