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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Think of the Children: New Movie Laws in Alberta

So I just saw on the 6 o'clock news that here in Alberta they're bringing in some changes to the movie rating system. Well, not so much changing the ratings, but changing the way they're enforcing them.

Here's the original news story. You can read the text, or even watch the video!

For those too lazy to click, it pretty much boils down to this. All children aged 14 and under would be banned from movies rated 18A.

(For those not familiar with the Canadian movie rating system, 18A is pretty much the same as the American rating of R.)

It used to be that if kids 14 and under were accompanied by a parent or someone of legal age, they'd be OK to see an 18A movie. But nope! Not anymore! If you're 14 or under, you're not going to see Watchmen, you're off to see The Jonas Brothers 3D Concert Movie next door.

Also as part of this new law will be hiring narks to enforce it.

Of course, the complaint about this is that the government is overreaching their bounds and not letting parents be parents.

That's got to be the biggest argument against it: government, stay out of our homes and let the parents be parents.

The biggest argument FOR it would have to be this posting at one of my favourite websites, Not Always Right.com. For those too lazy to follow the link, let me skip straight to the punchline:

"With all due respect, ma'am, the movie is rated 18A, the movie poster is a picture of a stripper, and the film is called Sin City. What on earth made you think it was appropriate for your 8 year old child?"

Granted, I don't have kids, so this new law isn't going to affect me. However, you just know it came about because some overreacting parents lobbied the government, and now a different set of parents are overreacting to the law. Heck, in the news story, Minister of Culture Lindsay Blackett pretty much says as much.

On the plus side, this probably means no more crying babies when I go to see something like 300.

Also as part of this law, video rental stores will be unable to rent videos unless they're rated. Now that one does seem unfair. As they point in the news story, consenting adults like myself will be unable to rent award winning documentaries and foreign films simply because they couldn't afford to be submitted for a rating.

All in all, I think this new law is a bit of an overreacting.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to criticize how the news story was put together. For an example of an 18A movie, they used a clip from Watchmen. Fair enough...it's #1 at the box office right now and it's rated 18A, it's a prefect example. But....

...they used a clip featuring all the characters standing around in their bright, colourful superhero costumes. That, alone, helps skew the news story towards the fact that it's an overreaction.

Had they used one of the full frontal nude shots of Dr. Manhattan, or when Nite Owl is having sex with Silk Spectre, or when Rorschach hacks the guy's head in two, that probably would have been a little more accurate to the spirit of the law, and probably have a lot more people agreeing with it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad I no longer live in Alberta anymore. I agree that it's good there will be no screaming children. However, I find the entire movie rental idea to be ridiculous.

Course, I'm not much to rent movies...I either buy them if they're something I love, or wait until they're out and then download them to watch. Easy way to get past any ratings scheme, don't you think?