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Film | by Shane “I Don’t Do Clean” Hnetka

It will probably be quite a while before Regina gets a 4DX movie theatre. Wait, what is 4DX, you ask? Imagine D-Box but with more shaking, plus scents, smoke and mist adding (well, “adding”) to the movie-going experience. I guess somewhere along the way some fool committee decided movies ought to be carnival rides. To me, a movie — especially a really, really good movie — doesn’t need gimmicks. Simply watching it is an amazing experience. So if ticket sales are down, maybe just make better movies?

Sony Cleans Up Its Act

In an appalling act of censorship, last month Sony announced it would start releasing “clean” versions of its movies. Sony would take a movie and remove the violence, swearing and other offending content so delicate parents could buy a version to watch with their children. Ugh.

Censored cuts of movies are nothing new — studios make them all the time for broadcast television. Of course, the TV versions of some films — like, say, Brian De Palma’s Scarface — don’t work at all (in fact, the censored-for-TV Scarface is so hilariously bad, the DVD includes highlights for laughs).

What’s new here is that the public hasn’t been able to buy censored movies so easily. But here we are, with Sony’s initial list “clean” slate of movies that initially included 50 First Dates, Captain Phillips, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Easy A, Elysium, Ghostbusters, Moneyball, Pixels, all five Spider-Man movies, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and White House Down.

Moneyball? What the hell child wants to watch a movie about baseball statistics, censored or not?

Censorship Sucks

Predictably, many directors are super-pissed about this and several movies have been pulled from Sony’s “clean” slate, including Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, Big Daddy, 50 First Dates, and Goosebumps. Good. No other studio sells “clean” versions of movies, and anyway I can’t see the point. I saw Ghostbusters uncut as a kid — in fact, Wee Shane even bought that version to own. The thought of censored versions just pisses me off. I remember hating TV edits as a kid and searching out the real versions. As well, my parents, who like and respect movies, would never have forced “clean” versions down my throat.

It’s all well and good for parents to monitor what their children watch. But does Goosebumps, already a kids’ movie, really need a “clean” version? Does Spider-Man? If they were okay to take your kids to at the theatre, then they’re already fine.

If a movie isn’t appropriate for children, don’t show it to them. Don’t make some idiot censor a substitute parent.

Shane Hnetka is a made-in-Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.