Wednesday, May 4

Family Friendly Films

I saw a show on TV the other night about a group that will take a movie, re-edit it by cutting out the parts they think are offensive, and then rent it as a family friendly version of the film. The idea is to turn a typical Hollywood R-rated film into something you can watch with your kids without being embarrassed.

I can sympathize with these folks. If you have ever watched an Adam Sandler movie with a 12 year old, you know what I mean.

As an example they used a scene from the movie Troy. In this scene Achilles (Brad Pitt) is getting ready to run Hector (Eric Bana) through with a sword. We see Achilles heading toward Hector with the sword held high, we see Hector looking up in fear, we see a wide shot of Achilles driving the sword into Hector’s chest, we see a couple of women looking away in horror, and we see Achilles walking away in triumph. This was director Wolfgang Peterson’s vision of Achilles killing Hector.

In the family friendly version we see everything except the sword actually going through Hector. That way nobody has to be embarrassed by seeing one actor pretend to stick a fake sword into another actor. We know Hector got killed because a couple of women looked away in horror. Of course without actually seeing the sword go in we might assume that Hector just wet his pants or threw up, which might also cause the women (and some men) to look away. But clearly the assumption has to be that he got stabbed. Why else would Achilles walk away in triumph? Okay, I guess if I made the greatest Trojan warrior wet his pants I might walk away in triumph, but it just makes more sense to think he got stabbed. If we think he wet his pants, someone could get embarrassed. If we think he got stabbed, well, that's okay. End of discussion. He didn't wet his pants. He got stabbed.

Personally, I don’t feel they went far enough. If they are going to take out offensive parts to make it family friendly, why not put in a few things to make it even family friendlier.

How about instead of a couple of women looking away in horror, we throw in a couple of funny animal sidekicks for Achilles? Say Zorba, the dumb but lovably loyal three headed dog and Kojak, a wisecracking goat.

How about this: Achilles is a dumb but lovably loyal husband with a wisecracking wife and kids who are a whole lot smarter than he is? What could be friendlier than that?

And, let's face it, there hasn't been a myth, legend, or saga devised that wouldn't benefit from a couple of jolly tunes. Just look at Pocahontas or Phantom of the Opera.

You know, now that I think back on it, I'm more certain than ever that Hector could not have possibly wet his pants. As I recall it, he wasn't wearing pants. What he was wearing was more like a mini-skirt.

Looks like we've got more editing to do.


blogblogblog said...

You've done some writing in your day. This is great stuff, JD, and beyond great stuff for a blog. This belongs in print somewhere. If I bump into Lewis Lapham or any other magazine yukkety-yuks this week, I'm turning them on to your blog.

Jim D. said...

Thanks for the positive feedback on my blog. I do, indeed, enjoy writing have all my life. I'm finding the blog format well suited to my style, which consists mostly of a short attention span.