Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Watchmen

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language
Profanity:Strong language
Nudity/Sex:Very explicit sexual references and situations, male and female nudity, pornography
Alcohol/Drugs:Smoking, drinking, character abuses alcohol
Violence/Scariness:Extremely intense and graphic violence with very grisly images, near NC-17-level material including guns, knives, poison, murder, fire, attempted rape, child murder, global genocide, and hand-to-hand combat
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:March 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:July 28, 2009

This movie deserves two separate reviews. The first is for fans of the the award-winning graphic novel, a dense, complex, challenging story of superheroes and costumed crusaders with lives that are messy, dysfunctional, and bleak.

You will be very satisfied with this film. Director Zack Snyder (300) is a fanboy who is passionately committed to the book and in essence and detail he really gets it right. The visuals are stunning, especially Night Owl’s flying “Archie,” and he has meticulously realized the vision of writer Alan Moore (V for Vendetta). Although Moore famously has had his name removed from the film because he does not believe that the story he designed to be told in panels on a page can be translated to screen, I think even he would agree that this is a much more sophisticated and faithful adaptation than “V for Vendetta” or “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

While there are moments that reflect Snyder’s understandable nervousness in meeting the demands of the graphic novel’s devoted — sometimes obsessive — fans and one serious weak point in the flat performance of Malin Ackerman as the story’s most significant female character (both Silk Spectre characters, mother and daughter, would appreciate the irony of apparently casting a performer solely for her looks to play one of their roles), overall the film faithfully and successfully grapples with the multi-layered storyline and the fascinatingly flawed characters.

And now for people who are not familiar with the book:

Don’t expect “Iron Man,” “Spider-Man,” or “The Dark Knight.” In fact, as darkness goes, this makes “The Dark Knight” look positively sunny. These are not people who get bit by a radioactive spider or come to earth from an exploding planet. Most of them have no special powers. They are just adrenaline junkies who like to get up close and personal with things that are very dark and disturbing, sometimes for reasons that are very dark and disturbing. And this is a dark and disturbing film, a hard-R with sex and violence that is just this side of an NC-17.

If you think all of that relates to the fact that it takes place in a slightly tweaked alternate world in which Richard Nixon is still President in the 1980′s, then you are beginning to get the idea.

And just to give you some further sense of how fully-realized the world of Watchmen is, the graphic novel, which was on Time Magazine’s list of the top 100 books of the 20th century, is filled with all kinds of artifacts and ephemera, newspaper clippings, excerpts from a memoir, and a separate story about a boy reading a comic book about a pirate. Snyder has separately produced some of this material and it will be integrated into the film when it comes out on DVD.

One of the highlights of the film is the opening sequence set to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” bringing us up to date and provide some history and context. The song has, like everything else in the film, at least two meanings. The first is that intended by the song, the upheavals of the 20th century. The second is Moore’s cheeky parallel adjustments. In one quick shot, a female character replaces the sailor planting a kiss on the nurse in the iconic V-J Day photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Years before, there was a group of masked crime-fighters called The Minutemen. One was the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a cigar-chomping, heavily-armed tough guy who sports an ironic (and anachronistic) smiley-button. It is his murder that sets off the story, and he appears in flashbacks that illuminate the past and present. The Comedian is the only Minuteman to belong to a sort of loose successor organization, The Watchmen. But caped crusaders have been outlawed by the Keene Act, and they are not working together any more, at least not officially. Former Watchmen members have gone on to other things. Ozymandias/Adrian Veidt (Matthew Goode), the most intelligent man in the world, now heads up a global corporation. Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), once a scientist, was turned into a blue creature with the appearance of a man but with power over time and space. When he needs to think, he hangs out on Mars. His girlfriend is Laurie/Silk Spectre (Akerman), a second-generation crime-fighter. Her mother, the first Silk Spectre, was one of the Minutemen. And then there is Rorschach (the superb Jackie Earle Haley), named for the famous ink-blot test that inspires his mask. As in “V for Vendetta,” these characters all struggle with ends/means issues, but in Rorschach’s case, the line between justice and vigilantism is especially permeable. Everyone is compromised. The good guys are not all good but, even more intriguing, the bad guys are not all bad.

The range of perspectives on how to confront injustice, the moral compromises, and the personal and professional demons of the characters are set in the political context of an escalating nuclear arms race. Do we as a society exploit those who are damaged in ways that are convenient for us, allowing them to do the dirty work while we have the satisfaction of moral superiority? Can you fight bad guys without becoming one of them? Is being smart the same as being wise? Who watches the Watchmen? Does knowing the future reconcile you to it? What is the mask and what is the face? And what does it say about us that we call this entertainment?



  • James Nicholson

    Thanks (Again!) for another wonderful bit of perspective. I read the book decades ago and have ben looking forward to the movie since last summer. I appreciate your point of view, as always. I hope your criticism of Ackermans performance will lower my expectations to the point where i dont quite notice. Cant wait to see the movie – it a birtday present from my brother.
    i turn 40 today!
    yay?
    (keep up the great work)
    Jim

  • Nell Minow

    Happy birthday, Jim! And thanks for the great comment. Please let me know what you think of the movie.

  • jestrfyl

    Nell,
    This is a great (pre)review. I appreciate how you composed two – one for fans and one for neophytes. Also your warnings were well toned and informative, rather than simply alarmist. My son and I are seeing the movie tomorrow in as good a theater as we can find. The hype has been high, so it will be totally fascinating to see what the response is. Stay tuned!

  • Tracy

    I’m disappointed to hear that you found Malin Ackerman’s performance flat. I just finished the graphic novel earlier this week for the first time and loved it, and my particular favorite was Laurie. As a teen girl, I suppose I connected the most with her, and I admired Mr. Moore for creating a strong female hero. I hoped Ms. Ackerman managed to convey that, but it seems you did not feel she did. I’ll have to see the film to judge for myself.
    I am, however, pleased that you praised Mr. Haley’s performance; I’ve been looking forward very much to seeing how Rorschach will translate onscreen. He was a fascinating character.

  • Nell Minow

    Great comment, Tracy! I agree that Laurie is one of the most pivotal characters in the book so I was especially disappointed to see Akerman’s performance not live up to my hopes. Please let me know what you think after you see the film.

  • Tim1974

    I am sorry to see yet another movie displaying male frontal nudity only. It has become a redundant, blatant, disgusting double standard. How tiresome and pathetic !

  • Your Name

    Nell, I always appreciate your thorough reviews. Yours is the first positive review I’ve read. I’ve been on the fence about seeing the movie til now. I was looking forward to seeing this movie for my B-day. I have not read the novel yet. Since I found out about it, I thought maybe I should read the novel first. I am a little disappointed that the director felt it was necessary to include “adult” material. I hope its not for shock value and it adds to the movie experience.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for the comment! The very brutal violence and very explicit sex is in the book as well so it was the author’s decision to add it, not the director’s. If you think that may bother you, I suggest you skip the movie as it is truly disturbing. I suggest you read a chapter in the novel at least to see if it is a movie you really want to see. Let me know what you decide!

  • jestrfyl

    Well, my son and I saw The Movie this afternoon. I think some of the reviews regarding the violence have been more meek than I might have expected. This is a violent, gross, bloody – excellent, thought provoking, fascinating movie. It does well in comparison to the book, to the point that I am not sure just why Moore wanted his name removed. However, I don’t think we will see any Happy Meal toys coming from this one. Parents – this movie is NOT for kids – no fooling. However an older teen might glean some interesting points form it. If nothing else it is an interesting alternative history and the actors who played key historic roles did well. My son was interested to realize that the contemporary action takes place while he was one year old (and the key final scenes took place on my 33rd birthday). This led to a fun conversation home from the theater.
    I agree completely with your B+ grade. It is not a perfect movie, but it was worth every one of the 500 cents I paid to see it (but I am not sure I would feel that way if I paid the full retail ticket price). Fans and comic geeks will not be the only ones to appreciate it. There are some very timely philosophical points to ponder. If nothing else, what do we make of the detail that Mr Manhattan is circumcised (this should give you a hint about some other aspects of the film)?

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, jestrfyl as always. It sounds like our reactions to the movie are very similar, and I appreciate your illuminating comments.

  • Chris

    I read the novel, and it is truly graphic, but with that also comes much deeper insight on the society of the time. However, the movie added heavy gore to the already apparent violence and the nudity/ sex scenes where way overdone. My first thoughts at the end of the movie was how was it not an NC-17 movie. If properly edited, it could turn out to be an amazing movie.

  • DISAPOINTED

    Im sorry… Im new to this web site and I was under the assumtion that these reviews were given by a “mothers perspective.” By giving The Watchmen with its nudity,disregard for God,offensive language ect. a b+, this will be my last visit to “movie mom” and i’ll be sure to advise all mothers I know christian or not to steer clear from this web site and stick to “plugged in” as will I. How disapointing.Oh,and please change your name to something more fitting.

  • Your Name

    Don’t listen to her, Ms. Minow. You’re one of the only film critics whose opinion I trust because you always give any given movie a fair, unbiased look, regardless of the genre or content. Keep doing exactly what you’re doing and don’t change a thing.

  • Nell Minow

    Dear Disappointed–Thanks for your comment, and I appreciate your point of view. But from my perspective being a mom does not necessarily mean giving a bad review to every movie with violence, sex, and bad language. As you can see, I have recommended this movie for adults only, and only those adults who are comfortable being made a little uncomfortable in the exploration of some enduring and important themes. One of the most violent films ever made had a man chopping up his enemy’s children and feeding them to him in a meat pie. That was written by Shakespeare — Titus Andronicus — and it also had some very strong language for its time. The Bible has some brutal and lascivious material, too. So do ancient myths.
    These stories help us to explore and understand some of humanity’s great conflicts. I tell parents and other interested readers what is in the movie so they can make an informed choice about what is right for their family. The review clearly gave you the information you needed to decide the movie was not right for you, which is fine. But if you are looking for a critic who will only reflect back to you your own views — which are not based on having seen the film, as mine are — then you are better off with another critic. I do not believe that all mothers have to feel the same way or that reading someone you agree with all the time is the best way to achieve understanding and I welcome you and your criticism back any time.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks Your Name! I am so happy that you see in my reviews just what I hope for them. And I appreciate your support and your response to Disappointed. It always saddens me especially when someone who claims to be acting on behalf of Christianity shows so little grace; I think it gives a very poor impression of people of faith.

  • Your Name

    Neil!
    Thank you for your work! It’s greatly appreciated for parents, I believe. Although not a parent myself, I read your reviews to help make my deciseions on whether a film is good for me. I’ve seen a lot of different movies, so there’s nothing I haven’t seen (excpt the slasher films, which doesm’t appeal to me.
    I’d much rather have a critic that not only gives a review, but is willing to be unbiased towards the content of the film, as there are many good films thst contain a lot of violence. Casino, Godfather, Scarface.. just to name a few. I refuse to see SAW.
    I look forward to seeing Watchmen, since the film has several interestíng points to make about our society.
    A few comments:
    It’s sad to read that there are some parents/guardieans thab have no respect for children by taking them to violent films such as this one. I read about two children, aged 4 and 6, who went to this film! I wish theater owners would take reeponsibility!
    Here in Sweden the censur gave this film a 15 and above without any cuts in the film, as there hasn’t been a cut in any films since Casino in 1995. Fortunately, this means only 15 and above.
    I think it may be time for America to reconsider it’s policy. The rating policy should be restricted more to age limits for films such as Watchmen.

  • Andreas Ulanowsky

    The above was written by me.

  • Tracy

    Well, I saw the film yesterday and I do agree that Akerman as Laurie WAS very disappointing. It’s a bit sad when a picture on a page can convey more emotion than a human being. Sure, she did the fight scenes well, but anything else felt flat.
    I was very, very pleased with Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley as Nite Owl and Rorschach– since they’ve worked together before, I think they brought that friendship to the performances, and it really showed. The bond between Nite Owl and Rorschach was even more palpable than in the graphic novel.
    I was very pleased with how the film turned out, except for my disappointment in Ms. Akerman and in Matthew Goode, who didn’t seem commanding enough to play Ozymandias.

  • Concerned

    I do not consider myself a religious person, to be more specifically, I am not religious at all but I do look at this site for a perspective on the “child friendliness” of movies, yesterday I saw the Watchmen, after reading the brilliant graphic novel months ago, and I thought of two things, first of all the movie was a very accurate portrayal of the book although the ending changed and I don’t think it was quite as effective.
    But even more so, I saw in the first couple of rows a group of children with their parents, I would say the oldest child was about nine or ten years old and the youngest was a baby. I got to thinking about warning the parents about what the movie had in store for their kids (like I said, I had read the graphic novel). I decided not to butt in and just take a seat. Everything that I had predicted about the violence and sex exposure that these kids were about to see was true, and in retrospect I wished I had talked to the parents beforehand.
    After the dark themes and borderline R-rated content of The Dark Knight, I would assume parents would be more concerned about taking their kids to see these movies and not assume that because they are comic book movies that they will be family friendly. Given that the confusion with The Dark Knight was understandable (it was PG-13, and there was plenty of marketing towards an even younger audience), Watchmen had the warning signs besides the graphic novel (the fact that this was an R rated film made by the same director as 300 should have been a dead giveaway), but still I saw a plethora of kids expecting Spider Man and leaving with Apocalypse Now.
    I understand that you do your best to inform parents about movies and that there is only so much you can do, so perhaps this is just a warning to the readers of your blogs: tell parents that this is not Spider-Man or Super-Man, for people who have not read the graphic novel and may not comprehend the underlying themes of the actions of the “heroes”, this is essentially blood porn. This is extremely violent and sexual (on a side note I was rather disappointed with the comic nature of the sex scene because it failed to grasp the theme of Dan’s struggle with real life versus the romanticized life of the superhero which was what the sex scene meant in the book), you will see Dr Manhattan’s genitalia(like in the book) you will see Rorschach doing unspeakable acts of violence (like in the book), and you will see the Comedian attempt to rape the original Silk Spectre (like in the book).
    In a nutshell, the storyline, whether you choose to see or read it, is rather brilliant. But either way this is not Spider-Man, Super-Man, Iron Man, and its not even The Dark Knight. Hell, Heath Ledger’s Joker could have been a protagonist in this movie. Instead it is a grimly dark movie with complex characters, a crumbling society, and a lot of blood and sex. This is may be about superheroes but it is not a superhero movie, this a movie about the line between heroism and vigilantism. Parents if you want to see this movie, then get a babysitter.
    Or better yet, read the book.

  • Anonymous

    There really should be a license requirement to be a parent. There are several sites out there, one of the best of course being Nell’s, that review films not just for their quality like most critics do, but also outline what content might be objectionable to viewers. Sorry to posters like “Disappointed” that Nell and the other sites don’t automatically slam a film just because it’s got mature content, but I happen to prefer that they feed me the information so that I can make an informed decision on my own as to whether I want to (a) see a movie with children, (b) see it by myself or with other adult friends, or (c) pass the the thing by altogether.
    What’s sad is the number of people who take children to see movies like this one, as a number of people have commented on here, or who post to complain that the Dark Knight was too dark and intense even for them as adults. The warnings are out there. Dark Knight was PG-13 for a reason, Watchmen got an R for a reason; don’t let the fact they’re based on comic books fool you into thinking they’re for kids (though I do think the marketers are to blame, at least in the case of movies like Dark Knight, when there are happy meal toys out there for a movie that probably shouldn’t be seen by kids who eat happy meals). Not to mention that most critics have highlighted that these movies have had rather mature themes, and several of them that aim their reviews at religious or family-oriented viewers, have been especially clear that even though they feel the films are well made and deserving of attention by mature viewers, they are NOT for children or squemish adults.
    Based on those parents reasoning, Heavy Metal and Fritz the Cat should be perfectly okay for children to see … they’re animated, after all.
    The information is out there. At a minimum, there’s the MPAA rating (which in recent years has been even more effective a tool by including just why a film got the rating it did, i.e., graphic violence, sex, etc.). But there’s also sites like Nell’s, Christianity Today, Plugged In, etc., that will tell you both whether or not the movie is worthy of seeing, and really who should be seeing the film.
    I’m sorry, but these parents who insist on taking young children to R-rated movies have no excuse, and need to have their parenting licenses revoked.

  • Disgusted Mom of 4 boys

    I am ABSOLUTELY sickened after seeing this movie. I had NO IDEA that this film was so vulgar. It’s essentially a graphic porno movie! I went with my husband and 14 year old not knowing that this was an adult film. As soon as the sex scene started after the burning building scene, we left. It was all I could do to stay in my seat and not vomit when I saw the dogs fighting over a little 6 year old girls’ leg after they found her panties in the fireplace. WHAT KIND OF PERVERTED NUT-JOB WOULD WRITE THAT STUFF????????? My son has read the book and said that none of that happened in the book. It probably made no reference to the dildo sitting next to the tv screen at the beginning of the movie. This guy should be banned from writing or making movies again. It was the biggest waste of money, time and brain cells that I ever spent in my life. What do you think my son learned watching a pregnant woman get shot or the other woman beaten and almost raped. I, as a woman and a mother, am completely disgusted that we allow human waste such as this director to spew his poison on everyone and the twisted media allows everyone to think this is a feel-good superhero movie. I’m almost tempted to send my kids to counseling after seeing this movie so that they aren’t growing up believing that you can shoot your pregnant wife (hmmmm, that seems to be happening alot in the news these days) or beat and rape your wife (again, check the news). Are we at the point where it has become commonplace to eat popcorn while we watch our women beaten and raped? I’m trying to raise outstanding, responsible young men who adore their wives NOT treat them like objects to be abused at will. With movies like this, it makes my job significantly harder. Thanks to the director. I hope your wife raises the children and you have supervised visitation.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Dear Disgusted Mom — I am sorry you had such an upsetting experience and sorrier still that you did not read about the movie or pay attention to the R rating before deciding to bring your family. I am not aware of any media that portrayed this film as a feel-good superhero movie; perhaps you are confusing it with something else.
    I hope this experience makes it clear to you that you cannot take for granted the appropriateness of any film without checking it out. While the point of view of the movie in no way endorses the behavior you describe, I agree with you that it is not suitable for a young teenager or even for many adults. The movie is very faithful to the book, so if your son has read it, he should have warned you what to expect. My review also makes it clear that the movie contains extremely explicit and brutal material.
    In the future, I strongly urge you and your family to immediately leave the theater as soon as you realize the movie is inappropriate and get your money back. That will not only protect your children from exposure to those images and ideas but it will communicate to them very effectively what your priorities are, including your commitment to protecting them.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Many thanks to Anonymous, Concerned, and Disgusted Mom for helping to make it clear that this is not a movie for kids and that parents should not permit their children to see it. I see children at just about every R-rated movie I attend and I always wish I could find a way to let the parents know how harmful it can be for kids to be exposed to that stuff. That is one of the reasons I write what I do, to give parents the information they need to make decisions that will help them protect their families.

  • SpaceGhost2K

    TO “Disgusted mom of 4 boys”, your quote:
    “What do you think my son learned watching a pregnant woman get shot or the other woman beaten and almost raped?”
    I think he learned that his parents don’t really pay much attention to him. He read the book and got away with it, because his parents had no idea. They didn’t bother to look at what it was that their son was reading.
    When he asked to go to the movie, they agreed, which means that he learned that his parents are easily manipulated. What parent takes a kid to an “R” rated movie? Do you know of any “R” rated movie appropriate for a 14 year old boy? Schindler’s List or Saving Private Ryan, maybe?
    He also learned that only sex and nudity are forbidden, or maybe violence towards woman. Violence in general is apparently okay, though.
    Lastly, he learned how to play the blame game. His parents didn’t accept responsibility for taking him to an inappropriate movie. No, they shifted the blame to the makers of the movie.
    Movies like this don’t make your job harder, ma’am. You do. A little effort on your part before seeing the movie would have resulted in a lot fewer discussions about why there was a toy penis on the dresser.

  • SpaceGhost2K

    To Nell,
    Kudos to you for the “B+” rating. Even with the offensive content, you saw the movie for what it was and graded it appropriately. Many other people in your shoes would have missed the story because of their indignant outrageous at a glowing blue member. You managed to get the point across without taking it out on the movie or the vision.
    I am very impressed.
    But to answer a question I know is coming, no, I have no intentions of seeing the movie or reading the book. Even with the good reviews, things like this and Grand Theft Auto (which got stellar reviews for the storyline), just don’t appeal to me. I have that much in common with “Disgusted mom” above. The difference is, I don’t just use the Internet as a tool to complain. I use it to get info so that I don’t HAVE to complain.

  • http://www.myspace.com/nolefan32 Dave

    Hear, hear SpaceGhost2K.
    Imagine that, using the Internet as a tool to be informed beforehand, rather than just a sounding board to complain why movies with ratings that make them for mature audiences only should be viewed by mature audiences only. Gosh, if only a few more people had paid Nell a visit BEFORE they went and saw the movie instead of AFTER, wouldn’t the world be a beautiful place?
    I love visiting Nell’s site, love reading her reviews. Can’t think of a single time where I read one of Nell’s reviews and then saw a movie, and then wanted to kick myself afterwards because it was that bad. Okay, maybe once or twice when Nell tried to warn me the film was *that bad* and I ignored her advice and saw it anyway. Never have I been disappointed, though, by a film that she gave a glowing review to that also read like something I might be interested in. Nor have I made the mistake of taking a child to see a film too mature for them. The Movie Mom is spot on, both as a critic and as a fellow parent helping us watch out for stuff our children probably shouldn’t see with us.
    Shame there are so many that would rather complain about Nell’s grading, or that there are directors out there who make movies aimed at adults-only audiences, or whatever else besides taking a little responsibility as a parent ahead of time to know exactly what it is they’re walking into.
    As for this movie, a B+ tells me I’m probably going to wait it out until it gets to Blockbuster, I don’t need to see it right way. Even then, Nell’s review is clear enough in telling me I probably want to be in a certain frame of mind before I do see it.
    Thank you, Nell, for your reviews. Except for a small handful that seem to want the world to raise their kids for them, you are providing the rest of us exactly what we need to make informed decisions as parents and as movie goers. Don’t change a single thing about how you do business.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Dave and Spaceghost2K! I appreciate the kind words very much and agree entirely that it is wrong to blame the movie when it is the responsibility of the parent to take a moment to investigate a movie before taking a child, especially when the movie is rated R.

  • A Child

    I’m a kid. Yeah. I’ve been waiting for this movie for a long time. Sounds very appealing, I must say. But will I see it? As many others said, no. And by my own accord.
    I feel that something will be lost in this movie. Sure it’s violent,violent, and even more violent. But does that make Watchmen a good movie? Maybe for some of you. Watchmen in itself is absolutely stunning, and one of the most brilliant pieces of literature that I’ve ever had the privilege of reading with my two eyes. I’m no fanboy, and I’m not not seeing it because I don’t believe it will stay faithful. No, I am one who tends to get lost in the action. I have the same problems with Jason Bourne and Bond’s latest. And with a film of this magnitude and violence, I’m afraid that I’ll miss all the underlying subtleties and messages that make up Watchmen. Sure, I can still watch it online, and then download a perfect copy months before it’s released. By why would I want to waste part of my life being lost?
    But Isn’t life itself just being lost? Funny, isn’t it?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I love your comment, Child. You are far wiser than many adults. Thanks for writing and please let me know what you think of the movies you do decide to see.

  • A Child

    I HAD TO REWRITE THIS ENTIRE THING! Refreshed my catchy and – oops. gone.) (And I think it was some of my best work, ever.)
    To dissgusted mom of 4 boys:
    Maybe you should have realized that it was rated R before getting the brilliant idea to take your 14 year old boy to see it. You obviously didn’t watch the trailers and I hope you didn’t come into the theater expecting sunshine and unicorns. Watchmen is violent but it has a purpose.
    “My son has read the book and said that none of that happened in the book” and “It probably made no reference to the dildo sitting next to the tv screen at the beginning of the movie” with a side order of “This guy should be banned from writing or making movies again” First of all, Yes it did show the didlo. Your son is not the saint I know you believe him to be. I’ve seen unspeakable things, by my own parents, and society (along with its mass quantity of didlos) is not so forgiving. I mean come on! Where else are we gonna put our massive didlo supply other than on the top of tvs at the beggining of movies! Thats just common sense.
    Second, well, I just answered that. Your son lied. I know, shocking (for you anyway). If he read Watchmen, then he cannot ever be telling the truth by saying the R rated movie version is not violent. Not to mention that he’s 14, and he’s not going to understand the half of Watchmen anyhow. I only understand it because I have a deep grasp on society and the rules and tone that bind it (I was living on the streets at one point in my life – when I was 9, making a life for myself because my parents were killed, and horribly at that. I’m still not old enough to drive, though fortunately I’ve been adopted to loving parents who understand and don’t take me to R rated movies without the slightest of research). Watchmen has a message. It represents, to me, the society whos dead skin is falling off, but there is not another layer to replace it with. A populace who doesn’t know what it wants and doesn’t want. A dangerous world if you ask me. But a good message nonetheless.
    “I, as a woman and a mother, am completely disgusted that we allow human waste such as this director to spew his poison on everyone and the twisted media allows everyone to think this is a feel-good superhero movie” This is not a feel good superhero movie, nor was it ever purported to be one. Exscuse my “vulgar” language but what the hell were you thinking? You wouldn’t know what it was purported to be because you knew nothing about it and were trusting your 14 year old son against your better judgment, assuming you posses one. Watchmen should never be confused with the latest spider man flick. Why is it that parents wont let their kids play GTA, which is rated M in most cases, yet they completely ignore the R rating and bring their babies along for the ride?
    “I’m almost tempted to send my kids to counseling after seeing this movie so that they aren’t growing up believing that you can shoot your pregnant wife (hmmmm, that seems to be happening alot in the news these days)” No. Your the one who requires counseling. You need to look at the rating and say “Hmmm, its rated R. Maybe I shouldn’t take junior to see it”. They’re going to grow up believing anything you tell them, and most of its not true in the real world. I forgot to include this earlier but you should be thanking the director for leaving a lot of the stuff that happens in the real world out of the movie. But I guess you wouldn’t know, because you didn’t even see the entire movie. As for the news, everyone knows its biased to the bone. Thats what gets people to watch. Violence. But Watchmen is different.
    “Are we at the point where it has become commonplace to eat popcorn while we watch our women beaten and raped? I’m trying to raise outstanding, responsible young men” Okay I’ve heard enough and the quote wasn’t even over yet. It hasn’t become commonplace. This is a movie for SMART people who like SMART movies. Obviously not your type. Everyone who brought their children is in the wrong theater, but everyone else there knows what their in for and what they’ll feel like coming out of the theater (and its on the upper end of the elated “oh my god lets go kiss a puppy” scale). As for outstanding, responsible men, I think both parties have already faulted here. Sorry but again “DO YOUR RESEARCH!”.
    I recently saw Slumdog Millionaire and despite a *gasp* R rating that we knew about AHEAD OF TIME, me and my mother both agreed that it was a very good film with a good message to boot. Watchmen is just as brilliant. And Brilliance is not always G rated. Sorry ma’am.
    PS: Nell, I saw that opening times a changin sequence at least. Your right, its positively brilliant. It perfectly creates the atmosphere and history that lasts the rest of the film. Bravo on your review. Maybe I’ll give this movie a chance after all. And thanks for your praise. I think I will comment here again, with more to the point comments, sadly enough.

  • Michael

    Nell,
    While I don’t always agree on your take on movies, I do appreciate your work. Based on yours and other reviews, I think I’ll pass on this movie for now. But I would like to make one comment in response to all the people that are upset that this movie was rated R as opposed to NC-17.
    This is the new R! The line doesn’t get crossed, it gets shifted.
    I recently watched a documentary on IFC about censorship in movies in
    America, especially as it applies to sex and nudity. Our society’s views on sex, nudity and violence has changed tremendously over the years. I had to reflect on my own views and agree that they have changed as well. As a teenager in the late ’70s, I was shocked when a movie had a quick glimpse of the male genitalia, but these days, not shocked at all. I suspect your views have changed as well. Would you say that had the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” been released 20 years ago that you would still have found it suitable for “mature high school” as opposed to adult based, not on the subject matter, but purely on the multiple scenes displaying a penis?
    The filmakers interviewed in the documentary were very pleased that the ratings board was allowing more in R rated movies and thus avoiding the dreaded, money-losing NC-17 rating. But they were clear that they needed more. And I have no doubt that they are going to get it. With the display of the male genitalia becoming more common how long can it be before they start showing the female genitalia? So far, I have only seen one movie that showed any part of the female genitals and it was rated NC-17, but wouldn’t you agree that it is only a matter of time? If the fimmakers argument is true that film does indeed reflect real life, then one only needs five minutes on the internet, or chat with college kids about what takes place at their hangouts to come to the conclusion that today’s female is proud to display everything she has. Are are we ready for that?
    Or, one young filmaker talked about having to film one scene in his movie three different ways, penis 1) fully erect, 2) semi-erect and 3) flaccid in anticipation of a fight with the rating people to get his movie an R rating. He presented his case to the ratings appeal board and ended up getting to use the semi-erect scene.
    I make this long precursor to get to this question. Isn’t it time we stop shifting the line and start allowing full distribution and marketing of NC-17 movies? There are obviously many people who do not want to see male genitals and extreme violence that is currently being shown and the display of female genitals or erect penises is sure to cause a big uproar. However, these people still want to see movies with adult subject matter. And since we all know that kids will always find a way into R rated movies (I did without a parent), let’s just give the NC-17 filmakers the opportunity to reach their intended audience.
    I would have no problem taking my 10 year old daughter to an appropriate kids movie in a theatre that is also showing NC-17 movies. I would also know that any NC-17 movie I choose to view may have any scene the fimmaker thought necessary to include.
    Surely this would avoid so many people from being offended by the content of movies and assinging blame to filmmaker, rating board members, film critics, etc. instead of themselves.
    Is my thinking flawed?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Another wise and well-expressed comment, Child. You have a gift for expressing yourself and I am honored by the time you took (twice!) to explain your thoughts. If you do go to to the movie, let me know what you think. And please keep writing, either as comments or via email to moviemom@moviemom.com.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Michael. That IFC documentary is very, well, revealing, isn’t it? The MPAA ratings change to reflect what is going on elsewhere in society. In general, a PG-13 tends to be close to what you can see on broadcast television. And that, of course, has become very raunchy, with jokes on “Two and a Half Men” about oral sex and one night-stands. A long way from when Lucy and Ricky slept in twin beds and the network would not permit the use of the word “pregnant.”
    I agree with you entirely about the NC-17 rating. So far, however, most mainstream theaters have not been willing to book NC-17s.

  • Your Name

    Nell Minow,
    All “Disgusted Mom of 4 boys” did was state her opinion about the movie she saw, she did not ridicule put down or insult anyone here as far as I saw, perhaps I missed something. So why did you commend Spaceghost2K for ripping down and insulting the mother as you stated in the following, “Thanks, Dave and Spaceghost2K! I appreciate the kind words very much and agree entirely that it is wrong to blame the movie when it is the responsibility of the parent to take a moment to investigate a movie before taking a child, especially when the movie is rated R.” Is she not allowed her own opinion? You should not side with people who degrade others, Nell. “Spaceghost2K”‘s post should have been removed as offensive. I’m sure you must agree with me that speaking out about your point of view about the subject at hand is what we all expect. However, people spewing hate about others speaking their point of view is completely off track, they are not commenting about the subject but the person speaking of the subject.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks for writing, Your Name, but please read what I wrote again. I thanked SG2K and Dave for the kind things they said about my reviews and as your own quote shows I did not criticize Disgusted Mom for her opinion about the movie but made the point that it is the responsibility of the parent to check out a movie ahead of time — especially when considering an R-rated movie for a 14-year-old. While I do not permit gratuitous insults, I encourage a free and frank exchange of ideas on the site and often publish comments with which I disagree in substance or in tone. And it seems to me that the people who responded to Disgusted Mom were more moderate in their terms than she was in hers. SG2K even agreed with her that the content of the movie was not appropriate or appealing and called her ma’am. I did not find the comment at all offensive.
    Digusted Mom is entitled to her opinion that the movie is horrific and offensive and I thanked her for her comment. But she is not entitled to blame anyone but herself for relying on her son’s (inaccurate at best, dishonest at worst) representation of what was in the book and mis-characterizing the media’s portrayal of the movie when the press and the MPAA rating made very clear what the content of the movie included.
    I appreciate your taking the time to express your concerns and I hope that this response makes my views clearer.

  • Your Name

    However you look at it “Spaceghost2K” was commenting on the person making the subject, not the subject itself, something which you approved of. Also “Spaceghost2K” called into question the mothers parenting skills, perhaps she is a good mom and perhaps not, I would need to know a great deal more about her to make that kind of decision.
    Anyone who goes back and reads the post made by “Spaceghost2K” can easily see that it is implied that she is easily tricked by her son, and that she is to lazy and incompetent to raise him correctly.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I don’t read it that way, Your Name. I am sure she is a good mom but in this case she made a wrong decision by taking her 14 year old to an R-rated movie without checking into it first. I do not believe that SpaceGhost2K implied that she was easily tricked by her son, just made it clear that she relied on his (false) representation of the book. No one was blaming her for believing him and no one was suggesting that she was either lazy or incompetent. Anyone, parent or not, identifies with the difficulty of these choices in raising teens, who by their very nature are constantly testing all boundaries.
    Words on a screen can sometimes seem harsher than they really are. But considering that she used terms like “perverted nut-job” to describe the author of a disturbing but critically-acclaimed book with fans all over the world, the responses that she got were pretty civilized and do not support the implications you are drawing from them. I can tell this is a very sensitive issue for you and I very much appreciate your sharing your concerns and giving me an opportunity to clarify this further.

  • iorek

    This is a great discussion. I think there is a glut of crass, pointless sex and violence in movies just because that’s what sells these days, but the short term solution is personal responsibility, not shifting blame to the director or the movie studio. Nell’s review was completely right in its balance of some complex factors, and I loved the reactions of space ghost and child. You would think this would be a wake up call for mothers who were shocked to find what their kids have been reading in graphic novels all along, or shocked that an “R” rating really means what it says. Unfortunately, their reaction seems to be that movies like this should be censored to make the mother’s job easier.

  • family man

    http://www.sdohana.blogspot.com
    THIS IS NOT A MOVIE FOR KIDS!!! Honestly, I’m surprised it’s only rated R. This is the strongest R rated movie I’ve ever seen. I am in the military and have seen quite a bit, but this movie is just completely over the top with gratuitous and graphic violence. Show me one time or even just let me hear the sound and I get it, but I don’t need to actually see someone getting hacked in the head repeatedly with a clever and see blood spatter everywhere to know what is going on. Nor do I need to see an inmate get both his arms cut off with a metal grinder. If you’re into gore, mixed with soft core porn, and a weak story line that tries to be philosophical (but fails on so many levels) then this is your movie. I went into this movie with high expectations. I loved 300 for it’s breakthroughs in film technique and picture style. The violence in 300 was palatable to me because it was done with comic book like textures and colors. Intelligent viewers understood what we were seeing and didn’t need it to be spelled out for us. The textures in 300 were completely void in Watchmen. It is in-your-face up-close-and-personal. To say the violence, gore, and sex is “graphic” is an understatement of HUGE proportions. The previews you see on tv are not even close to showing what this movie is really like. Parents, please take my advice and do not take your children to this movie. It is a VERY adult movie and not in any way a child’s comic book super hero movie. While you’re at it, you may want to think twice about seeing it yourself. I was thoroughly unimpressed with this movie. I hope the makers of 300 realize that they have done, and can do, much better than what they are currently offering moviegoers with Watchmen. That’s my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

  • Reader

    Moviemom, I want to thank you for your excellent reviews of movies. You are honest and you present your observations with critical thinking. While I’ve seen other websites and blogs gloss over movies such as Watchmen with “big blue penis!” or “two violent for my two year old!” you actually explain what’s going on in the movie, why it’s relevant, and pass along any warnings to concerned parents not in the know about the movie’s content. I like that your reviews focus on elements of the films. That’s what I’m looking for when I read about a film. I also love that there’s discussion questions for families and recommendations on which films to see if you enjoyed the film being reviewed.
    Now, if all “concerned parents” could be as objective and use critical thinking when looking at movies their families should and should not watch. The world would truly be a better place.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Reader. That means the world to me.

  • spirit

    Personally, this movie should have been NC-17. I went in, expecting something along the lines of Terminator 2 or We Own The Night in adult content, not something that resembles a porno movie. England got it right when they branded this film inappropriate for kids under 17, why can’t America get it right?
    And the extreme sex and violence was not needed to tell the story, regardless what the source material contained.
    And I was shocked by all the parents coming in with kids. They ended up leaving as soon as the blue naked man showed up. They too was expecting content along the lines of T2 or maybe Titanic, something that you can cover your kids eyes from, but because of an occasional F bomb, the movie would have been otherwise ok to see. But they weren’t expecting a porno/horror movie here.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, spirit. Yes, as I said to Jim A, the MPAA rating system is unreliable and inconsistent. R means that no one under 17 can attend without a parent. I am very sorry that parents would take anyone under 17 to this film without checking out very carefully the reason for the rating.

  • Dave

    I find it interesting the discussion that the ratings system seems to have lightened up in recent years. I for one have always been under the impression that there’s been an inconguency in the ratings, in that graphic violence never seems to earn as strong a rating as graphic sex does. Not that I would want a child to be openly exposed to graphic sex, but of the two, I’ve always thought it less egregious for a child to be exposed to the creation of life rather than to the taking of it, so I’ve always thought the standards were backwards. Seems lately that the two are coming into more balance, though possibly the wrong direction – instead of violence earning a stronger rating, sex now earns a less stringent rating than in years past.

  • Your Name

    Sex isn’t sn issue here in Sweden. Films such as Sex in the City have earned a “G” rating here in Sweden. Also, the films can be aired on television with nudity and profanity. I’ve even seen Scarface on television. Sex is natural. Violence is not. That’s the philosophy here in our country. Scarface was aired late at night, by the way.
    It’s the attitude that must change in America. Even Superman and James Bond films earned a 15 and above rating here in Sweden. That meant that no one under 15 could see Superman, at least, not without any cuts in the film.
    These days, the censurs have become more gental, in terms of fantasy films and summer action films. But, generally speaking, for sexual content, one can see it as a youngster. It always depends on the amount of violence or if the film’s topic is more adult oriented.
    Wedding Crashers earned a 7 and above rating here. When I wanted to rent the film for my family that i was visiting, I had forgotten that the film was rated R. That’s the difference between Swedish and American culture.

  • DaveP

    To Michael:
    There are PLENTY of R rated movies that show female genitals, so I’m not sure where you get the notion that female genitalia is an automatic NC-17. And by female genitals, I don’t mean pubic hair, but actual genitalia (vulva).
    You mentioned “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” which showed the penis. Did you know that “Knocked Up”, which was released the year prior to the Marshall movie, showed an up close (very up close) vagina during the birth scene? Every portion of the female anatomy was seen wide open and the movie was rated R not NC-17 (even Ms. Minow made mention of how up close and personal it was, in her review of the movie).
    “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay”, which was released just a few weeks after Forgetting Sarah Marshall, showed dozens of bottomless girls, vulvas very visible on a number of girls, also rated R, not NC-17.
    “Running Scared” had a scene filled with nude female strippers, female genitalia is clearly visible. One of the strippers even sticks her vulva directly towards the camera – rated R, not NC-17.
    I also saw “My Bloody Valentine 3D” in theaters back in January, and it had a very long, extended scene of full frontal female nudity – female genitals visible and the movie was rated R, not NC-17. The scene itself was roughly 10 minutes in length. Ironically, the scene was very much like the nude scene at the beginning of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, but the genders were reversed in the Valentine movie – a fully nude female is dumped by her lover and she gets upset at him. It was a very good movie and the nude scene was very female empowering, not degrading (unlike the Harold and Kumar movie, for example). I’ve seen female reviewers love and praise the movie. If a movie that shows female genitalia for a REALLY long time, in 3D, is given an R rating, I can’t imagine what movie you watched that was rated NC-17 for showing female genitals.
    If you want to see female genitals shown in a comedic way (sort of like the male genitals in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) watch “The Heartbreak Kid”. Very funny, non-sexual, depiction of up close female genitalia.
    Bacially the female genitalia that you see in a Playboy magazine is the type of genitalia that you can see in an R rated movie. Anything Penthouse-like would more than likely be NC-17, which is probably the type of movie you had watched. There are plenty more movies in addition to the above. You’ll just have to watch more R rated movies, or do some research, but you will find that female genitals have already been seen in R rated movies for a while now.

  • Michael

    Hi Nell,
    I went to see Watchmen last week. I thought it was very good but it had lots of unnecessary scenes like the jail scene when Rorschach cut the mans arms off, after the fire that long pointless sex scene and I was dissapointed with the last 30 40 minutes I thought that it started to drag and it got predictable. I did like though how they changed history. During the movie I thought a lot about The Dark Knight and how they were both very dark movies. I read your review but I still saw the movie even though I am 13. I did not think that the sex was to explicit (I have seen worse) but the violence was like you said NC-17 style and language was extreme. Overall Raiting 3 out of 4 stars

  • Michael

    Thanks to DaveP for letting me know that the line between R and NC-17 is even further over than I thought. I must admit the only movie he mentioned that I have seen was Knocked up and since the birthing scene obviously was not real I didn’t count it. But I still believe most nudity and sex as well as extreme violence should be left in NC-17 and those films allowed to be distributed. I would never take my daughter to a rated R film, but since R films get plenty of viewings on HBO, Showtime, etc, I’m sure she will be exposed to what I would consider inappropriate movies at friends houses whose parents don’t use the parental locks available to them. I suspect NC-17 movies don’t get the same showings on those tv channels. By the way, Nell, I even think your reviews don’t give the entire picture of what to expect in movies by saying “graphic violence or sex/nudity”. That is why I read your reviews for your take on it, then visit the website kids-in-mind.com for details of sex, violence and language. All parents should visit that site before taking kids to any movie because it objectively explains what you see and hear and what is implied so there are no surprises. They even tell you if a scene has bare chested men as well as women.
    And you can be sure the line will move even further. I believe film producers do add scenes that aren’t necessary. An independent film I saw directed by the female French director Catherine Brulliet(sp?) had one scene that for some reason she thought the audience wouldn’t get that it was a gay bar with an all male clientele dancing suggestivly with each other and kissing so she added a scene of un-simulated oral sex between two men. I wonder if that gets a “G” rating in Sweden. Yes, Europe, we americans are too uptight about sex, but you are not uptight enough.

  • breyen

    it’s not the fact whether there is a rated R or NC-17 so much as the ability to cut out unnecessary scenes. I think hollywood needs a reality check by us adults implying that these movies are not necessary for our lives. their notion to entertain us has gone WAY past the marker. we now are like slaves to ART and MEDIA. IF they go too far, like ZACK and MIRI make a …, then we get DESENSITIZED. even as parents, WE are DESENSITIZED.
    Remember how mom says, “Its about time to CLEAN THAT ROOM of yours!” we have to do that in society…there hopefully will be a time soon where we could tell the media, TV, movies, and advertisements, that we want to FAST from too much OBSCENITIES…we want to reset, and have a break from the commercials at 10 pm, you know those “toy” commercials!! i even saw them at 7pm on the FOOD NETWORK and STAR TREK TNG!! many kids see this! these were RATED G and PG at 7 pm!
    …who here could go about society, and not have your kid see innapropriate material, or the “intense suggestion” of “Sex and Drugs”… here in los angeles, we have ADULT FILM advertisements on the freeway Bilboards owned by CBS and Clear channel!!
    should we not tell them that EVERY CHILD sees these BILBOARDS!!!
    Does anyone understand, that MEDIA pushes the SEXUAL and DRUG envelope just for kicks…LARRY FLYNT’s agenda is to spread ADULT FILM everywhere even College RAdio stations…University of California systems have had uncensored radio and newspapers.
    the FSC (free speech Coalition) is headed by the bigtime ADULT FILM lawyers and producers…they have WON several court cases in favor of STORES, CLUBS and MEDIA, to be CLOSER to schools and churches, all in the name of FREE SPEECH!!!
    …there has never been a better definition in the past 1500 years, for WOLVES in SHEEP’s Clothing than this!!! the SHEEP’s clothing is our nation’s FREE SPEECH, and the wolves are…
    Who here wants to predict the GRIM future for our children? there is no more dreams…Our children will grow up and LOOK and ACT just like their “ROCKSTARS”!!! maybe if there IQ is 140, they will be a doctor, lawyer, or teacher rockstar, but still a “rock star”.
    … if we know our children did not have the same DECENT MEDIA that we had when we were children, then i guess TOO BAD for them, HUH…just think–GIRLS GONE WILD for ALL our Daughters…
    …the only way to stop this is …LET GO of MOVIES that are not G or PG. LET go of TV. LET GO of RAP and ROCK music that are explicit!! write letters, join email chains and groups that tell them,”WAIT A MINUTE…YOU GUYS work for US!!! if we think that your media is TOO IMMORAL then we are going to warn you to make it A LOT cleaner…if you don’t then…WE HAVE an ORGANIZED BOYCOTT between ALL DECENT parents across the WHOLE country”!!
    ALL synchronized…
    …we will get their attention, starting with the ADULT COMMERCIALS on T.V. and then the CBS ADULT bilboards…
    …i cannot do this alone!!! i need your help and ideas…
    breyenhead@hotmail.com

  • army doc

    Moms read this too. I am a major movie buff, a father, a doctor and in the military serving all of you to protect our constitution. I believe in the freedom of speech and art. I think there are things that we as adults can see and kids should not. As an adult heterosexual male, I can see nudity in all of its forms of both men and women and enjoy it (labia, penis, whatever). However, I do not think young boys and girls should be exposed to it or the rampant violence profusing through our theaters. I do not think the movie “Watchmen” should have been rated R and I am definately angered at the B+ rating Movie Mon gave it. I sat in back of a group of teenage girls that snuck into the movie and it was completey uncomfortable. This movie justified posting someone outside the doors to monitor who went in and left. The theater would not even address it. I would bet the girl’s parents thought they were watching one of the age appropriate movies and expected the theater (as we do with law enforcement officials and speeding) to keep their kids out of the age-inappropriate ones. I can’t watch my kids 24 hours, seven days a week (although I try) and neither can you. We trust the MPAA and the theaters. The violence (including the graphic cutting off of arms and shooting of a pregnant woman), the profuse full frontal male nudity and the sex scene themselves should have provoked a NC-17 rating for Watchmen. I was ignorant myself in falling for the movie trailer on TV which gave no indication of the perversion, inhumanity and violence in the movie. Too tell you the truth, I do not know what constitutes an NC-17 rating, an R rating or even a PG13 rating anymore.
    The MPAA obviously supports movie producers and not parents. I think the MPAA is completely broken. I read that Watchmen cost $100 million to make. As of the latest box office reading, I think they have just now reached that mark. Given an NC-17 rating, they would never have even recovered production costs. The MPAA helped them make money at our expense. People like movie mom supported it by giving it a good rating. They say parents rate the movies for the MPAA rating but what parent would allow their child to see movies such as Hostel2 (graphic mutilation of male genitals) and Watchmen. Even the MPAA website states their mission as an advocate for the film industry. As a father of girls, I think both male and female frontal nudity should be in the same catagory. Watchmen was marketed to young people and many parents were caught off guard. Even the movie mom website itself didn’t give me heads up to the full nudity involved. It made it sound as though the male and female nudity in the film were equally distributed. Even the term graphic nudity was not used to describe the movie which I thought was common if male and female genitals are shown. To show how difficult it is to be the dad of young girls, even the “acclaimed” series John Adams on HBO had full frontal male nudity in it. I didn’t know and let my daughter watch it with me based on the TV14 rating (not a MPAA rating). I had no forwarning as a parent of the graphic content and had to explain to my daughter what was going on. This nudity was for “educational purposes (the guy was stripped naked and tar and feathered in all detail).” Would they tar and feather a female in that detail? No and I would be pissed off if they did especially if they gave it a tv-14 rating. I am surprised more women and moms of girls aren’t more outraged at the fact that PG and PG13 movies will show male rear and very brief frontal nudity and you won’t know unless you prescreen it. How is it justifiable for us to allow any child to view the graphic nature of any of these films. The MPAA says an NC-17 includes material that no one under the age of 17 should see. Should a kid under 17 see a man’s genitals cut off and thrown to a dog regardless of the justification, or, a pregnant woman shot for really no reason, or,a male tortuosly burned in all graphic detail for educational purposes. We are all parents, not male or female. Our kids are going the way of entropy and no one seems to care. There seems to be a justification for everything that is allowed in Hollywood and an acceptance of the MPAA. The MPAA is more concerned with piracy then film content. I am extremely disappointed with the movie mom website and will use other websites from now on to monitor movie content.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Army Doc, for your thoughtful comments and for your service to our country. Please note that (1) I was very clear in my review about the content of the movie to make sure that parents would not underestimate the graphic and disturbing nature of the material and (2) I recommended it for adults only. I noted as emphatically as possible that the movie is not appropriate for anyone under adult age and it is not appropriate for many adults, either. The B+ rating was not for family-friendliness. As explained in detail on the site, the rating is based on how well the movie meets the expectations and goals of its intended audience. For those fans of the book and people of similar interests, the movie gets a B+.

  • Your Name

    This is ridiculous. I am 15 years old, and have always been raised to appreciate the human body for what it is. It is a body. There is nothing “wrong” with seeing a nude human form. It is perfectly natural.
    The fact that some people find nudity a more pressing issue than violence worries me. I went to see a movie with a large group of friends ages 13-17, and none of us went without the permission of our parents. You know your kids, and most are great judges of what they want to see.
    I hate horribly graphic movies… so I don’t watch them (Watchmen was an exception because I loved the novel). But it should be your kid’s perogative, at least above 12 years old, to watch what they want if they feel ready.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, 15-year-old! I enjoyed your comment and I share your mystification that people are often less concerned with violence than with nudity. In both cases, it is the context that makes more of a difference than the images.
    I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that almost all 15-year-olds believe that they are mature enough to make all kinds of decisions that the grown-ups they deal with believe should be made by parents or teachers. That’s exactly where you should be at this age; you are right on schedule for this important stage in growing up. And I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that just as you now know more than you did five years ago, you will know much more, and have better judgment, five years from now. You are clearly a very bright and thoughtful kid, but you are still a kid. And you may be surprised to hear that overwhelmingly the people I talk to who are just out of their teens tell me they wish their parents had been more protective of what they saw, not less. I hope you will write to me in a couple of years and see whether you agree. And in the meantime, I appreciate your comment very much and hope you will return often to let me know what you think about the movies you see.

  • Message To “Disgusted Mother”

    I previously made a posting on this website under “Concerned.” In it I described how I saw the movie with my friends (who are all college aged kids and two of whom along with myself had read the book) and how I saw a number of young children with their parents in the audience. I understand that you have been the victim of much criticism after your posting and I would like to be fair and rational towards your opinion. In short, you have a right to be disgusted with this movie. I was not disgusted because I read the book and knew what to expect, and although this movie had a lot of higher meanings and concepts about the human nature, the individual ego, right and wrong, etc., I like to watch violent movies for the sake of their violence (in my opinion the cheesier and more unrealistic, the better). That is my personal taste, and you certainly have the right to disagree with me and I am glad you choose to exercise that right.
    I am not going to criticize your viewpoints because, as I said before you have a right to have them, I am going to say that I hoped you learned from this a little more about responsibility in parenting. I have worked with kids on several occasions and I know which kids have parents that just don’t care; and I can tell that you, thankfully, are not one of them. On the other hand I hope that you understand that it is your job (not the MPAA or the movie theater’s job) to decide what is right for you kids. I came in to the movie knowing that their was going to be sex and violence and I enjoyed the movie (not specifically for those reasons but I was happy they weren’t cut from the movie) I would be upset if there was a ban on movies that weren’t considered “family friendly” because with the possible exception of the Pixar movies, I don’t enjoy movies that are “family friendly.” I like to exercise my right to see a movie that I would not want a young child to see: my main problem with your post was that you said “This guy should be banned from writing or making movies again.” This I do have a problem with, because Zach Snyder had a right to make this movie, and Alan Moore had a right to make the book. What the book and the movie was trying to do was ask the question what if real people (with the exception of Dr. Manhattan) decided to fight crime like Superman? Not romanticized comic book superheroes but real people. I would hope that you decide to read the book in the near future, a lot of the underlying themes of the book are lost in the movie, I think if you read Alan Moore’s book then you might understand things a little better about why Zach Snyder wanted to make this movie. As for the sex and the violence, I know you heard this before but: there was a reason it wasn’t rated PG-13.

  • jestrfyl

    I am looking forward to seeing the DVD. This was a good – but not great – movie. I had an odd thought thought as I watched it in the theater. The Advent hymn – “Watchmen Tell Us Of the Night” kept rollong through my mind. It would have been a curious piece to add to the soundtrack.

  • Your Name

    I just had the chance to see this last night on DVD. I must say that this film is one of the better films I’ve seen in recent history. It’s certainly an adult film. It’s also a verey interesting twist on reality. I can’t say that this film’s for everyone, but I will say that it does help us in thinking about our world.
    I’ve been thinking about how recent Superhero theme films have a darkness in them. It’s definately a far cry from Superman, Fantastic Four and other superhero films that were made in the 1980′s. There are some similatities between the Batman series (Nolan directing), 300 and Watchmem. All thres films suggest that we look at our world and question our role in it. Even The Matrix does this.
    I think it’s been interesting to see these films and I hope we’ll continue to see films like these be made. It’s too bad the Academy doesn’t even recognise these films. These films project inteligent story limes and good character development.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Your Name. This movie is not for everyone, and not for fans of traditional superhero stories. But like you, appreciate the reach and complexity of this approach. I think it will be while before the Academy awards films like this one (except for technical awards), but the fans demonstrate its appeal and meaning.

  • Toby Clark

    http://notalwaysright.com/when-presumptions-meet-postmodernism/4312
    http://notalwaysright.com/violence-on-tv-stupidity-on-the-couch/1144
    http://notalwaysright.com/kids-movies-cost-an-arm-and-a-leg/6535
    I’m sure I never had customers like these when I worked at a video shop. Although I do have to give the last one a bit of credit.
    I saw Watchmen a few months ago, when I was about three quarters of the way through the book. It is now among my favourite superhero movies, up there with the Richard Donner Superman, The Dark Knight, Iron Man 2 and Daredevil: Director’s Cut.

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