Making the Grades
I feel for parents who must rely on the rating systems available to select movies for their children. This week I screened Theodore Rex and Sense And Sensibility. These movies are as different as two films can possibly be, yet both are rated PG. Theodore Rex is promoted as a family movie while Sense And Sensibility is targeted at an adult audience. The irony lies in the fact that Theodore Rex is a violent, dark movie. It's Barney meets Blade Runner, while Sense And Sensibility doesn't contain one violent act or word and no sex.
Theodore Rex is a science fiction attempt in which Whoopi Goldberg plays a cop teamed up with a talking, human-like dinosaur -- one of many that has been created by the local mad scientist who has a plan to rule the world. The opening scene features a murder, as a rollerblading person is chased down by a truck full of body hunters. These strange creatures kill so they can sell organs. A violent explosion follows as Whoopi and her other partner try to destroy the truck and its crew. By the end of this scene, I wasn't sure if I was screening the right movie. This is a family film?
The movie seems to be attempting to thwart the evils of prejudice, as dinosaurs fight to be accepted as equals to the "softskins." Yet I have little sympathy for a "family" movie that subjects children to murders, torture, and endless flatulence jokes, so in the end a short moment can be had where the dino teaches that using his mind beats firing his gun.
The ratings on videocassettes and movies can help to guide parents, but sometimes the system fails. Theodore Rex is one of those examples. If you have had a similar experience where a rating didn't seem to fit the content of a film, please write and tell me. Meanwhile, leave Teddy Rex on the shelf and keep digging for better video fossils.
Canadian parents please note: The Canadian version of this video contains two graphic previews of other R-rated movies at the beginning of the tape. The distributor of this movie in Canada has not offered any explanation as to why these ads are on a tape being rented to a family audience.