Mel Gibson has removed five to six minutes from his monumental film, which is to be re-released March 11, 2005. Interestingly enough, the film’s distributor, Newmarket, has no plans to release this version on DVD or VHS. Rather, the idea is to release this version of the film each year around Easter, an intriguing marketing concept. But that’s not really the scope of this post, read on for some more details and the real discussion I have in store for you.
As part of the ordeal of editing the film for its re-release, Gibson took it to, your friend and mine, the Motion Picture Association of American with the hope that the newly edited film would receive the much lighter PG-13 rating. No such luck. The MPAA still thought it to be R material. So rather than play the tug-of-war game like most producers do in similar circumstances, Gibson has decided to release this new version “unrated”. He thought that releasing it with the same rating might defeat the purpose, as the goal of this endeavor is to bring out “a new version for new audiences to discover and everyone to be inspired by”.
In my continuing attempt to understand the “other side” of the rated-R dilemma within the Church, I’d like to peacefully invite those who don’t watch rated-R movies to offer their thoughts on these unique circumstances. As one who only loosely looks to the rating system for guidance, I must say that the original version of the movie was indeed extremely gruesome and could easily be inappropriate for many. However, I was torn by this factor, as it was still a powerful movie that I wanted to recommend highly to friends and family otherwise.
In my opinion, leaving the strange marketing concept behind (i.e. no DVD release, but instead re-release every year), I think Gibson is doing just what I would have hoped for. I am one who finds movie editing by third-party companies to be less than desirable, as generally it is poorly done, not to mention just a way to shift the responsibility of dictating appropriate movie content from the MPAA to some other faceless group of people.
So from within this context, I am wondering what the general consensus will be from the Mormon population of non-R watchers. I don’t mean to point this out as a low blow, but this movie did technically “beat the system”, as it will not be rated R. The same way many other movies, which are edited by third parties, are not rated R. This is a booming industry here in Utah, but never have I heard of these third parties resubmitting their edited versions of R movies for PG-13 approval. So viewing of these edited films partially falls under the category of “what we don’t know can’t hurt us”.
But the caveat not to be left out in the case of The Passion Recut is that we do know that the movie would still be rated R, if it were rated. So the question remains, will a Mormon non-R watcher watch this new version of the movie? Would it do me any good to [potentially] actively recommend this movie to non-R watching friends and family (after I see the new version, of course)? Or do the same rules apply? Rather than have this question be answered in a speculative way by those of us who do watch rated R movies, I invite all non-R watchers to give us their thoughts.
We here at By Common Consent promise to respect your thoughts whatever they may be.