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The classification of "Terminator 3".

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by PoochJD, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Earlier in the summer, a lot of you were concerned about whether T3 should have been given a 12A certificate, in the UK.

    Well, I've had a reply from someone at the BBFC. I've enclosed my original e-mail as well, so that you can see the points that I raised. Hope some of you find it of interest.


    My E-mail:
    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I am normally happy with the way the BBFC classifies films, and have attended many of your Public Enquiry roadshows over the years. I am also well aware of the way the BBFC has become more lenient, especially with the introduction of the 12A certificate, and with letting adult viewers watch adult films without
    censorship (at least in most cases) with material in the 18 certificate category.

    However, yesterday afternoon, I went to my local cinema to watch "Terminator 3: The Rise Of The Machines", and was rather disturbed that the content of the film was considered okay for a 12A certificate.

    I don't normally object to BBFC classifications, but I am finding it more and more difficult to see how the BBFC can justify the 12A certificate to so many films, when they should really be either a straight 12 (as they are on video, and prohibiting under-12's from
    viewing the material in question) or an outright 15 certificate. (Not many 12A's could be easily made to fit the PG classification.)

    "Terminator 3" contains 3 uses of the word "f***" (or derivatives thereof), as well as 2 scenes of explicit violence that were unsuitable for under 15's in my opinion.

    The scenes I refer to, are when Arnold Schwarzenegger slices open his chest in the car, to prove to Claire Danes' character that he is a robot, and not a normal human being, AND to the scene in which Kristanna Loken's TX Terminator violently punches her arm
    through a police officer's body (via his back, throughout the body, and then out his stomach) to take control of the car they are driving.

    On top of this, several of her "targets", are shot multiple times at close range, with handguns, often in the head or face! Admittedly, the violence takes place off-screem, but the sound effects and intent is still there, so there is little doubt as to what she has done. Does this not promote the use of aggressive and
    personalised violence? Something that the 12A category shouldn't really be advocating?

    I appeciate that thhe film is fantastical in its nature to a certain degree, but I still think that the BBFC was wrong in giving this an uncut 12A certificate. A 15 would have been far more appropriate.

    Not only this, it might actually stop families of young children (i.e. 7-10 years of age) from taking them to a film that is completely inappropriate for their offspring to digest and comprehend.

    Many people complain that children grow-up on too much violent images, but giving something like "Terminator 3" a 12A hardly discourages children from seeing such material, quite freely.

    Most people seem to treat the 12A more like a PG, and don't seem to care that the film is a 12A: that is, it's advising them that the film will probably be inappropriate for anyone uner 12! So, in they go, along with their children who are barely old enough to
    handle the fantasy violence of "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring" (which was a PG), and no one can stop them, because the families aren't breaking the law.

    It also means, that adults are finding that films meant for them, are now being ruined by youngsters coming to see material that should never have been given approval for their eyes in the first place!

    With the first "Terminator" movie being downgraded to a 15 certificate for home DVD viewing, and the second one, also being given a "15" (albeit with some small cuts), both contained a lot of violence, both personalised and against machines. However, both were considered by you to be sufficiently "adult" enough, to not be given lower certifiactes! Whilst "T3" isn't as brutal as its previous brethren, it's till pretty dark and adult, and I really can't see how the BBFC can given this a 12A. (Also, both films were
    previously given 18 certificates. "Terminator 2" was given an uncut 15 at the cinema; an edited "15" for home video/DVD viewing, and an uncut "18" for home viewing on Laserdisc format.)

    If the BBFC could re-evaluate whether the 12A certificate is really the correct certificate to give to so many films nowadays, then it would be appreciated by not only adult cinema-goers, but by
    cinema staff as well.

    Please will the BBFC be more careful when classifying films with a 12A, and ask themselves, would they really want under-12's seeing such material, with or without family approval.

    Thanks for reading this e-mail,

    BBFC REPLY:
    Dear _______,

    I am replying to your Email of 22 August concerning the film Terminator 3. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

    I appreciate your concern about the 12A classification awarded to this film but I can assure you that it was a decision reached only after the most careful consideration. The examining team felt that the film had an enormous appeal for 12 year olds who would be able easily to recognise the clear fantasy setting and so would be unlikely to be unduly harmed or disturbed by the images on screen.

    The 12A guidelines state that violence must not dwell on detail or give any emphasis to injuries or blood. The majority of the violence in Terminator 3 is recognisably formulaic and will be familiar to most people who have seen the previous two Terminator films on video or television. Indeed, the level of violence in the film is considerably milder than the previous films and never exceeds the standards accepted by the public in many
    other '12' or '12A' rated films, of which the Bond films are a good example.

    There are occasional gory moments in the film but the examiners did not feel that they dwelt on the infliction of pain or injury to the extent that would require a higher classification. In fact, much of the violence, when visited upon human characters, rather than machines, is comparatively restrained and easily containable within the 12A guidelines.

    So far as the language is concerned, the guidelines at 12A state that the use of strong language should be rare and must be justified by context. There are three clear uses of strong language in this film, two of them spoken in the same sentence. We felt that this was within the bounds of 'rare' use. They are spoken by the hero, John Conner, at moments when he is under particular stress and they are aimed either at the Schwarzenegger machine or at himself – they are not directed aggressively at another person. We felt, therefore, that the context justified their use on this occasion.

    The consumer advice issued with this film states that it contains
    "strong language and violence" and this advice is clearly displayed on the film's posters and on television screens during TV trailers. We would hope that this advice would be taken seriously by anyone likely to be upset by such issues. In addition, in awarding a film a 12A certificate, we are saying
    that the film in question is suitable for 12 year olds and above but that, if parents/guardians feel that children below that age have sufficient maturity to deal with more mature themes, then they should not be excluded from a film they might otherwise enjoy.

    We would certainly not expect 12A films to be attended by children as young as 7 but this is essentially a matter for the cinema management. We are aware of concerns about very young children attending 12A films and we have raised the matter with the Cinema Exhibitors Association, the industry
    body for cinemas throughout the UK. We will, furthermore, be consulting the public later this year about the whole classification system and the question of whether we should consider introducing a lower age restriction on the 12 A category will be included in that consultation exercise.

    Yours sincerely,

    BBFC Examiner _______________


    Could be interesting, this last part, about the consultation!

    Pooch
     
  2. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    I'm simply being discouraged from watching many new movies in movie theatres because there's going to be children being loud, obnoxious (with On the verge of breaking voices) and generally ruining my viewing experience.

    Many movies I'm just waiting for the DVD for or going to what when kids are at school - which isn't exactly easy to find the time for.
     
  3. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Let's hope the BBFC does NOT introduce a lower age restriction on the 12A category! I'd much rather they simply return back to the old 12 certificate, for both cinema and video, that stops little kiddies getting to see material that really isn't suitable for them. For all it's worth, the BBFC may as well have given "T3" a PG certificate, as the 12A rating is treated by the British public in the same way. Idiots! :mad: The public automatically assuem that a 12A is going to be no worse than a PG, despite all the warnings! Sheesh!

    Pooch
     
  4. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    I don't think that's why the 12a certificate was implemented. I think it has more to do with the BBFC acknowledging that films certified as '12' are extremely easy for kids younger than that to purchase tickets to, and many parents take their sub-12 years old kids to watch them anyway.

    I think they're just trying to keep things on the legally safe side. So nobody there's breaking the law anymore.
     
  5. Marv

    Marv
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    I'am Glad T3 got a 12 cause it shows the BBFC are getting softer. But i still hate the 12a certificate.
     
  6. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I agree on thw whole. I thought T3 was way too violent for its certificate not necessarily because of the violence itself but because of its reliance on gunplay.

    T1 and T2 have always struck me as fairly hard edged and although this might seem contradictory the violence always came across at least to me as something quite shocking and negative. (think about the murder of Sarah Conner's flatmate and boyfriend , the attempted assasination of dyson in his family home)

    T3 in spite of and perhaps even because of its slightly softer nature made the violence seem inconsequential and minor.
     

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