Friday, 18 December 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the BBFC Rating

On the BBC's flagship film critic show this afternoon, the latest Star Wars film - The Force Awakens was reviewed.  A lot of the discussion was about the suitability of the bbfc (British Board of Film Classification) rating of 12A - children of 12 and under to be accompanied by an adult.  Mark Kermode considered this correct while Simon Mayo opined that a PG would suffice.  I think that both the bbfc and Dr. Kermode has the right of it.

The bbfc ruling can be read here: My own opinion is that not only is there brutality, which actually many key plot points revolve around, but the shear quality of the filming makes the violence more real.  In the tradition of such movies, damage seen is fleeting but the effects, while having to be digital, just make it is more believable because the main images are shot on 35mm.  At one stage in the movie I felt greatly saddened and actually felt like I had seen too much war.  Unbelievable I know because in real life I have been fortunate insofar that I have only seen war zones and not war itself, but such was the effectiveness of the movie.

The counter point to this is to ask whether a child be so affected?  Maybe not but frankly this movie is different from the previous films.  Oh yes, the battle scenes are fabulous, Stormtroopers still die in drifts but (and I think this is important) this time they are humans too.  The battles are no longer the mindless blast-fests of previous years.  Also I find that some of the disturbing images have stayed with me.  Make no mistake: this is a dark movie.

Would I recommend Star Wars: The Force Awakens?  Of course I would.  The lead actors:  Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are wonderful.  The real-feel to the filming gives the whole visual  experience and there is psychological intelligence to the plot.  Yet it maintains the pace and sheer excitement of the Lucas original movies.

With the direction of J.J. Abrams, Star Wars has indeed returned.  It is as if Parts I, II and III never were.

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