A video is circulating around the internet about a child who wants to be able to watch Deadpool when it’s released February 12th. Because the movie has an “R” rating parents would understandably not want to take their small children to see the movie. Being clever like any child, he wrote a list of why he should be able to watch the movie. From covering his eyes, to getting good grades, he makes his case to be able to watch this rated R flick.
And now, internet warriors are taking up the cause on behalf of the kid to get a new PG-13 edit of the movie released. To be clear they aren’t trying to get rid of the R-rated version, they just want a PG-13 version as well. They currently have close to 2,500 signers on a Change.org petition. I’m going to explain why this is both foolish for the movie and the parents.
First, as a parent you have to learn when to say no to your kids. If parents are unable or unwilling to set rules and standards surrounding what content their kids can watch then having different edits of the movie will not tackle the real problem they are facing. Which is the fact they are trying to put the responsibility of parenting onto the content creators. We’ve seen this fight in the past with video games and Al Gore’s wife Mary Elizabeth “Tipper” Gore’s crusade against music in the 80s.
Who should have the ultimate say in what one’s kids watch? Personally as a parent myself, I would rather be the guardian of what my kids watch, and yes, that means saying “No” from time to time. Though I know they will be disappointed when I do. However, they will learn that there are times they have to take that “No” and accept it. As we grow up we have to take “No” as an answer. This is a job of a parent, not content creators period.
Second, the rating of the movie has been a point of contention since it was announced. Fans of the comics know that though Deadpool is a comic, it’s content is at the very least in the R rated range. If you edit the movie down to even a PG-13 rating, you risk losing the essence of what makes Deadpool, Deadpool. He’s an insane, smartass who loves to break the fourth wall, while eating Chimichangas. He is not “Ronald McDonald with Knives” as is stated in the linked video. I understand that is what a kid might think, but again, that is something a parent has to explain, not the content creator.
Finally, If Fox bends on this issue, then we might see subtle censorship. Before you say I’m claiming the sky is falling, hear me out. If a studio has to get into the habit of creating edits of movies for special groups of people, how much longer will it be before the same consideration is given to Christian or Muslim fundamentalists? Believe it or not editing costs a lot of money and is a major part of the filmmaking process. The more edits that have to be made the more expensive it becomes to release a film. What will end up happening is that studios will just release a version of the movie to meet every groups need, with little care about the content of the story.
I do feel for this kid, and all other kids who will not be able to go to the theater to see the movie, but parents have to make that decision determining if they will let their kids watch the movie or not. I myself am looking forward to the release of Deadpool. Comic book based movies have been stuck in PG-13 land for too long. There are so many stories that would benefit with an R-rated adaptation.