Pet peeve cinema: The unrated version

ppcI understand the home video market is highly competitive and the average Blockbuster shopper is less than discerning, but if you believe the studios’ marketing departments and their gaudy UNRATED! and THE VERSION THEY WOULDN’T LET YOU SEE! DVD boxes, they are sitting on a goldmine of raunchy, violent, nihilistic and downright depraved versions of the films that were just in theatres.

Of course, this is not true. Sure, there are a some movies that got hacked up thanks to MPAA restrictions, but those are few and far between. If you didn’t know any better, however, you’d think that every single film that was released in the last five years went through a protracted ratings battle.

Apparently marketers believe that we are all sick S.O.Bs, just waiting to see the kind of cheap thrills only allowable in our own homes, and so the UNRATED! tag gets slapped onto all sorts of films as a cheap trick hoping to goose the sales of their tame movies to teenaged boys hoping to see a boob or two.

unbornTake “The Unborn,” for example. Normally PG-13 horror movies get no love from me, so I was actually pleased to discover the film actually had some disturbing images amid the muddled, unscary plot. The Blu-ray I had practically begged me to watch the unrated version, and I thought, “OK, maybe they had to cut a few things to get to a studio-mandated PG-13.”

So, I checked the back of the box. The difference between the PG-13 and “too-scary-for-theatres” unrated edition? One freakin’ minute. One minute!!! What could possibly have been so ghastly in one minute that it needed to be cut?

Then I saw “Fighting,” a “Lionheart” remake with better actors. Another PG-13 film that yelled “UNRATED!” So I watched that version, and again, saw absolutely nothing that would have turned the movie into an R – not another F-bomb, not a titty, nothing.

I would have thought most people would have caught on to this trick by now, but the con continues unabated.

Here’s my guideline: two of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen, “Rambo” and “Punisher: War Zone” don’t have unrated versions, so there’s no way I’m going to be convinced that I’m seeing anything shocking from your PG-13 flick.


~ by Elliott on August 25, 2009.

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