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Got a movie you’re really looking forward to? Count on the censors at the MPAA to do their best to ruin it. Watchmen director Zack Snyder recently spoke with MTV and revealed that they’ve already been monkeying with his upcoming superhero film. It seems they have a problem with assassins who use guns.
Snyder points to evidence in the trailer. He says, “So the MPAA said, ‘Look you can’t have him [holding the gun]‘ … I don’t even think it’s one second. I think it’s like 12 frames. He’s pointing the gun at the camera, and they said, ‘You can’t do that.” He’s not firing the gun, he’s not splattering brains with the gun, he’s just holding it. The problem is that the MPAA has a weird rule about characters on screen pointing their gun at the viewer. So Snyder decided to do something funny. He says, “So we erased the gun, and put a walkie-talkie in his hand.”
Remember what Spielberg did to E.T.? Snyder admits, “Because I was like, ‘Well, it worked for Spielberg, so we should do that. Just put a walkie-talkie in his hand!’ … [The editors] were like, ‘But then you cut to a real gun!’ but I’m like, ‘No one will ever see that; they’ll think he had a gun in the other shot, so it’s fine.” You can see the scene he’s talking about in the trailer at around 1:33. You’ll see someone hit with a stanchion. That’s the assassin in question. You’ll see a still shot of the moment included with this story.
It’s great that it sounds like it’ll have no actual bearing on the film, but as always the MPAA’s methodology is utterly baffling. You can show a bullet exploding through a person’s head in Wanted, but you can’t show a guy simply holding a gun and pointing it in Watchmen. The inconsistent hypocrisy of the MPAA continues unabated. I’m all for a ratings system which helps parents decide what they should show their kids, but it would be nice if some day, there was a rating which allowed filmmakers to make movies for adults. You know, people who can think for themselves. Unfortunately that rating right now is NC-17, and since theater owners won’t show it, it’s worse than useless.