Aug 3, 2004

R-Rated Characters In PG-13 Films

The moment when I saw the first Aliens Versus Predator ad on Cartoon Network, I let out a very loud, very verbose reaction.


The reason why this ad made me react this way wasn't because it was a theatrical version of the epic battles first introduced in comic form a little over ten years ago. I knew it was coming this year. The reason why I reacted that way was because Cartoon Network doesn't air any ads for R-rated movies. All the hopes of seeing a truly visceral bloodfest that was spread out through six previous films in the original Alien and Predator films were immediately dashed the moment I saw the ad on Cartoon Network. At that moment, the rumors that I tried to avoid all these months were indeed true.

Aliens Vs. Predator is rated PG-13.

The great Hollywood machine has once again ruined an R-rated franchise, and heaven knows there weren't many of them. The Aliens/Predator movie could have been a testament to the legacy they have created and probably the ultimate visual feast for the gore-loving eyes and loyal fanbase. Look, I understand why they decided to tone down the bloody violence and gore that could have been in this film for a PG-13 movie. They want teens to go see it, and teen = money. Look at the Spider-Man franchise (which has almost accumulated $750 million for both movies in the US). Teen buying power is what Hollywood craves, tradition be damned.

Nobody cares about tradition anymore.

Fans were anticipating the ultimate battle, and they didn't want the battle to be watered down. Sure, AVP will be violent, but not as violent as it could have been and a shadow of its former self. Perhaps Fox should have witnessed the sequel to Pitch Black.

Pitch Black, an R-rated film, was a cool cult classic that really caught on in the cable and DVD market. Universal decided to create a theatrical sequel and two non-traditional prequels. The video-game prequel has developed a small-yet-significant following in recent months, not to mention getting rave reviews from video game critics and fans. The animated prequel hasn't really gotten much press (or maybe I haven't looked in the right places). The film could have been and should have been better. The Chronicles of Riddick could have been extended throughout a lengthy series of films. The potential was rich. However, the PG-13 rating limited the kind of story the character of Riddick deserved. That's why the film suffered, particularly at the end, which had Riddick in an unlikely position, one that could have been a great note to begin perhaps a final chapter rather than the ending of the first (and probably only) film.

That's not to say there weren't any R-rated sequels to R-rated franchises that didn't suck too. Freddy versus Jason was just cartoony, and Terminator 3 was unnecessary (especially considering the ending of Terminator 2). I just expected AVP to be a violent exception, but alas, Fox has denied me that pleasure. Pity.


Ariake Shikima said...

Well, that is really irritating. I think that the target may actually be even younger children, such as pre-teens, whose parents are unlikely to take them to a R-rated movie, but have no problems with a PG-13 movie. When T2 came out in 1991, my parents took me and my younger brother to see it in the theaters. I was 13, he was 10. That movie was marketed towards teens, and so is AVP. Parents today have no qualms about taking teenagers to R-rated movies. Thus, the only "real" reason for a PG-13 AVP, is the pre-teen market, whose parents tend to be a little more protective.

Welcome to the end of both the Alien and Predator franchises.

Cody S. said...

Dammit Fox...

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

You wanted to make that 'next' Alien movie, but wanted to test the waters with AVP. And yet, you managed to muck-up a potentially kick ass movie in the quest for more money.

Greed is the downfall of studios are no exception. *Cough*Disney*/cough*

::Sigh:: Just when I was actually getting reved up, to see two of my favorite Sci-Fi horror icons battle each other. Then again, I shouldn't be surprised, Freddy Vs Jason turned out to be a comedy rather then the good action/horror flick I had been expecting.

How dissapointing.

I will stand up for T3 and Riddick though. T3 (despite my skeptic nature as to the film being needed) turned out to be a rather awesome movie, and despite Riddick's obvious flaws in the quest for a PG-13 rating, I loved that movie (and it's Macbeth-esque ending) as well. The animated prequel really hasn't made too much of a rumble...although I did do a review for it for AI. Pretty decent flick despite being only 30-some-odd minutes.

Fox, you're loosin' Bryan Singer...and soon you'll be loosing the opportunity to cash in on some of the best sci-fi characters out there by cheaping up a battle of the titans. Good Job, follow in the Mouse's footsteps.