I just got back from watching the new Angelina Jolie film SALT (Click here for my review), and really enjoyed it. Something that struck me though is just how inappropriate the rating was for the film. In the UK it has been given a 12A certificate, meaning that children under 12 can see the film if accompanied by an adult. This is wrong.
Other films where this has been the case include recent smash hit INCEPTION and the massive juggernaut that was THE DARK KNIGHT. All of these films have featured a huge amount of violence, and while I won't condemn the action (y'know, seeing as I love action movies, horror and all manner of other cinematic mayhem), I find that I must take issue with the use of the 12A rating.
The 12A rating was brought in for the first SPIDER-MAN movie, which was much less bloody and harrowing than the three films I have mentioned above. That film was just about right for a 12A, yet Salt, Inception and The Dark Knight would have all been more appropriately rated as 15 certificate films. There is the argument that 'Oh, kids see and hear much worse at home', but that is NO EXCUSE AT ALL.
Part of the problem there is that parents and guardians are not taking enough notice of the things they put their children in front of. In the case of The Dark Knight, it's a film based on a comic, so yeah, it must be fine. Arrrrgh! it's a comic about a mentally unbalanced billionaire beating up even more unhinged psychopaths.
What about Inception? The plot is far too complicated for the minds of many children, and while the idea of invading dreams is very cool indeed, there are some very harrowing images in that film. It should have been a 15. Salt likewise. Another recent example would be THE LOSERS. Again, great film, but that had even more violence, bad language and onscreen injuries. I mean, why would anyone let a small child watch a film in which one of the heroes is shot in the knees onscreen?
Giving these films a 12A certificate may well bring in some more money to cinemas, but it is also filling children's heads with even more inappropriate content than they already get. I'd like to call the BBFC out on this: How are you justifying these ratings, and why weren't these films at least either a 12 or a 15?