1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+
Rating the Menace
When I first found out months ago that The Phantom Menace was going to
be rated "PG", I breathed a sigh of relief. For the first time in recent
years, somebody has figured it out.
Personally, I think that one of the reasons Star Wars was
in the late 70s and early 80s was because it had everything.
Romance? Leia, Luke and Han. Comedy? You can't watch but for a few minutes
and you have to chuckle at C-3PO or one of the wisecracks from our favorite
heroes. Drama, Action, Special Effects, Suspense? Yes, these are all
parts of the Star Wars universe. But there is more then the balance of these
things that made Star Wars the phenomenon it is today.
One other part that is often overlooked as well is the fact that the movie
is CLEAN. Yes, there's romance, but it's done in a tasteful way and without
the sex-filled sequences that fill our current theaters. There's violence,
but not done in a way to encourage it among our teens or condone it in any
other situation other than an all out war. Many people will say, "that's
just the way films were done in the 1970's." But is that really accurate? Was the society
of the early 70's really that much better than ours today? As Lucas grew up in the 60's, was that
a society that demonstrated traditional family values and morality? Certainly not.
Which brings up a second point. Not only is the Star Wars trilogy clean, it's fairly MORAL. Did Han and Leia
go jumping into bed together? Is there large strings of unnecessary
swearing? Is there a sequence where the characters go into a strip club to
meet an informant? No way! In fact, Star Wars is more clean and moral than
most shows on television today.
After visiting the MPAA webpage (found here), you can find plenty of information about the
rating system, and why it's significant to us. Also on their website is
plenty of information on what distinguishes PG from PG-13 and higher. But here's what they had to say about the 'PG' rating:
PG:"Parental Guidance Suggested. Some Material May Not Be Suitable For
This is a film which clearly needs to be examined or inquired into by
parents before they let their children attend. The label PG plainly states
that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, but
the parent must make the decision.
Parents are warned against sending their children, unseen and without
inquiry, to PG-rated movies.
The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There
may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief
nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that
parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance.
There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film.
The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for
examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their
Obviously such a line is difficult to draw. In our pluralistic society it is
not easy to make judgments without incurring some disagreement. So long as
parents know they must exercise parental responsibility, the rating serves
as a meaningful guide and as a warning.
You know, it may be fun to see a PG-13 Star Wars, but only because I am now
quite a bit older. When I was growing up, my parents knew that I was safe
with this movie because of it's rating. Should today be any different?
Absolutely not! As much as I would like to see perhaps a grittier look at
the Star Wars universe, Star Wars is for children (of all ages, including me
at 24 years old), and should be kept that way. Besides, think of how much more they can get away with today with the PG rating than 20 years ago!
It seems sad that many movies today have the right formula: a good script,
top notch actors and great effects, yet choose to fill the movie with
inappropriate language and nudity. It's sad that much of the population will
miss out on those movies, choose to ignore the ratings system, or could care
less either way.
For one, I am glad that Lucas, in the face of a society that has changed for
the worse, has decided to keep his vision of Star
Wars clean and moral;
something totally lost in the plethora of today's theater. Am I looking
forward to a 'darker' Episode II? Absolutely, but I hope and trust that
George Lucas continues with his decision to keep his movies clean and
SW2 must be PG, and that's the way it should be.
October 1st, 1999