This was meant to be a review on Deadpool – latest uber-cool release from the Marvel stable. It isn’t – I didn’t get in. Well technically I could have, but would have had to leave my son sitting outside waiting for me to come out. He’s a late teen and the policy at our local Odeon was strict – no age ID, no getting in! There was even a written note to tell me why he wasn’t getting in… the films a 16 and this is being strictly enforced.
I am sure if we were going in to Revenant, it would have been a “wave through”. I am equally sure another cinema would have let us in, no worries. But on this day and at this (low price) showing, the law was the law!!!
Every few years the people who manage film certificates MAKE A STAND. The last time I came across this was with Watchmen – also a 16. It may be coincidence, but the two were both adaptations from the broad comic/graphic novel area, both firmly aimed at and directly appealing to young men. Maybe young men need special protection from themselves!
In some ways this is quaint. The good old state looking out for the moral wellbeing of the younger generation, ensuring they aren’t roused into a frenzy of violence. When I was 16 (we go back a way, but the films did have talking and were in colour!) then the only medium for “adult” entertainment was the cinema. TV was staid; there was no such things as videos, let alone DVD’s; gaming systems involved a dot moving across the screen between two lines (bats). Certification meant something. I couldn’t blag my way into “The Exorcist”, so I simply wasn’t going to see it.
Unless I am missing something and the large screen and darkened surroundings of the cinema add a whole new level to the ability of what we see to influence what we do, times have changed. The assaults on our senses come from all angles. As a parent I have tried to steer my young folks through this maze by being aware of what they are seeing and doing in games and videos and the internet and talking to them about what it means. I use certification as guidance and do what I think is best.
16 is a bizarre barrier. A young person is criminally responsible at the age of 12, not able to have sex until 17, not able to drink or smoke until 18. About the only new thing they can do at this age is drive a motorbike (up to 11kw) or drive a tractor. Maybe Deadpool encourages the unsafe use of a JCB, so should not be viewed until you are of an age to drive one! Oddly, as a “responsible adult” I could take a 12 year old to see a 15 film and any crime they commit as a result of this “age inappropriate” material is their sole responsibility!
Age legislation here is outdated and irrelevant. “Does this matter?” you ask… well YES!!! As soon as we have legislation that is meaningless, the breaking of it becomes meaningless. We get into having the laws that we select to follow. And these areas of grey become a real problem. You only have to look on the roads, where driving while holding on to a phone and making a call is illegal (because it is proven to be dangerously distracting) and yet most people choose to do it. Selective law breaking is at play, except in this case it is a danger not just to our own morals, but to other innocent people.
I suspect none of those up for election at the end of February will try to sort this out. It would involve taking a stand of common sense against reactionary media and the powerful “moral majority”. Doing the right thing is in short supply in this world!