Warning: What you’re about to read has a blog disclaimer
On Saturday, May 16th, 2009, I went and seen the movie Angels and Demons. Personally, I thought this movie was a much better attempt at Dan Brown’s book, then the previous Howard/Hanks movie The Da Vinci Code. This post today, however, is not about the movie, but it is about the absurdity of disclaimer statements. As the trailers for this movie began to play, one of the trailers that was shown was Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp. Right before this movie started, there was the familiar green movie disclaimer statement that pops up before each and every trailer. What was inherently absurd, in my view, was the fact that its disclaimer had a line in there that noted that this movie contained “gangster violence“. As I looked at this statement for the few seconds it was on the screen, I couldn’t help but think how silly that statement is. As if there is a distinction between violence and gangster violence. If a movie has a guy running down the street who is looking to murder people, but is not in a gang, and shoots people down, how is that intrinsically different then a gangster using a gun to shoot people down? There is no difference. So, why does such a distinctive description need to be made?
I started to think how we’ve become a society of disclaimers. Everything we read, watch and use has a disclaimer. It’s as if someone out there knows that something is not right, but to compensate for having done it anyway, they slap a disclaimer on it to “make it OK”. I’m sure much of this has to do with legal issues, because companies do not want to be sued for someone who didn’t read that a movie was rated R vs. PG-13 and decided to see the movie or allow their kids to see the movie. However, I place that blame on the party for not being personally responsible and paying attention to the rating system. With that being said, if I am going to a movie like Public Enemies, Transformers, Star Trek and Batman; do I really need to be told that there is violence in the film? Isn’t that part of what we call the action of a movie any way and isn’t it part of the reason we go to see the film in the first place? In other words, when I go and see a Jet Li film, I’m not going to see or expect really great acting. I’m going to see what new Martial Art move he uses to beat someone up and take them out. If we’re going to have a disclaimer for Public Enemies called gangster violence, then shouldn’t we have a disclaimer for Transformers called robotic violence, another for Star Trek called space violence and lastly, for Batman called (I don’t know what to call this, maybe…) Bat-violence? And speaking of Jet Li, along with other Martial Artists, their disclaimer should be called martial arts violence or maybe ass-kicking violence (but then we’d have to have a disclaimer for the disclaimer, because we used the word “ass” to describe the violence and that word is profane). I realize that my blog is not going to do away with the inundation of disclaimers, but can we at least agree to reconsider the absurd descriptions contained within them?