A bit of a rant to start off the day today. I ran across this post, whining about Ratatouille. Not about the film per se (everybody is entitled to their own opinion of course), but about how it is an “assault on G rated movies.” The author complains mostly about 2 things, the use of the word “hell” in the movie, and “violence.”
Before I start, if you would like to see a more levelheaded response, you could look at this one.
Now I will start with the “violence.” Violence in cartoons as a cause, is sort of a pet peeve of mine. As I pointed out yesterday, countless Bugs Bunny and other cartoon that have been yanked because they are “too violent” while other subject matter which is just as questionable (if not more so) is given a pass.
Worse, there is no clear cut definition as to what constitutes violence. It follows the “I know it when I see it philosophy. The complaint against Ratatouille revolves around a 10 second scene where a woman is apparently threatening a man with a gun. You hear the gun go off (fired through the ceiling apparently), and then see them kissing. It is a quick nod towards noir type films, and perhaps a quick “shot” at the French. This is his “assault” on G ratings. He somehow manages to overlook the point in the movie in which Collette pins Linguini to the cutting board with carving knives, one after another. Or when she is preparing to spray him with Mace. The fact that there is a character that is in this movie that “killed a man, using just his thumb” is also neglected.
Now, I am not suggesting that the film IS too violent for these reasons. It is striving at a difficult balance to make a movie that appeals to both adults and children. Most of these things (if not all of them) go right over a child’s head. Think back to when you were a child. Did you think it was violent that Wile E. Coyote was using Dynamite to try and kill the Roadrunner? Did you contemplate how Elmer Fudd constantly using a shotgun would make you want to go out an own a gun? No, of course not. There was easy slapstick laughter that you saw as a kid. And only when (or if) you saw it again later as a teen or an adult did you “catch” these things.
Is there violence I would rather not see in “kids” stuff?Â Of course, as any reasonable parent would.Â And yet, I don’t here anybody complaining that a movie like “West Side Story” is shown, very often on a Saturday afternoon, which is “prime children TV time.”Â But you will say, West Side Story is a classic musical.Â You are correct.Â But it also shows graphic violence,Â street fighting and stabbings.Â Why isn’t the Parental Television Council looking to get that banned?Â I don’t hear anybody clamoring for Snow White to be rated PG, and yet here a hunstman pulls a knife and (half-heartedly) attempts to stab her, and the Wicked Queen tries to poison her.Â That is far more violent, and clearly part of the basis of the movie.Â But again, that is “classic” so it gets ignored.
I realize this is running in several different directions, but lets be honest for a second, so is the whole “too much violence” issue.
As for the use of the word, “hell” in Ratatouille (and Cars as the author points out).Â The word was used once in each movie.Â My daughter has heard it used more than that in a single Sunday Sermon.Â “Hell” has never been considered part of the “dirty word” lexicon.Â So I really don’t understand what the hell the problem is.
I am one to often be picked on for being to “politically correct” because I don’t condone things such as racist language for the sake of it, or sexist behavior (side effect of having a little girl).Â But even for me, there is a point where you have to say, are you complaining for the sake of complaining?
And finally, while the original author takes shots at Disney and Pixar to “grow up” I will point out that it is the job of the MPAA to rate the movie, not the producers, so if you have a problem with the rating.Â Complain to them.Â But in all reality, if your biggest gripe about a movie is that a character complained that he is in “Hillbilly Hell” or that a character in warning another what to expect says, “Welcome to Hell” then I suggest you grow the fuck up.