The motion picture Association of America rated "Beowulf" PG-13 "for intense sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sexual material and nudity."
However, in my assessment, the film features far more strong, and possibly offensive or upsetting content, than that.
The content description in my review, published Friday, cited its "strong, sometimes disturbing, violent action (creature attacks, dismemberings, sword play, arrow fire, fiery mayhem and violence against women), gore, blood and goo, male and female rear nudity, suggestive sexual language and references, scattered profanity and brief sexual contact."
A little more descriptive and in-depth, wouldn't you say?
I don't mean to pat myself on the back not too much, at least but I pride myself that my reviews have some of the most in-depth content descriptions around. I believe it's one of most important, most useful things I can do for readers. Whether you disagree with my appraisals and opinions, you at least know what's in a specific film.
And yes, sometimes that means my critiques don't quite match up with the MPAA's Classification and Ratings Administration board, which is supposed to be filling that role.
But the MPAA often get things wrong. In my opinion, "Beowulf" probably should have gotten an R, based on the violent content alone.
Apparently there's a different standard for animated films, though. If you ask me, all three, PG-rated "Shrek" movies should have gotten PG-13s based on their crude and sometimes risque humor.
And the wildlife documentary "Arctic Tale" somehow got a G rating, though there are scenes of animal violence, including one where a sea mammal is killed and eaten. (During a Saturday morning screening of the film I attended, upset children could be heard crying.)
That film also featured a pair of walrus flatulence gags, by the way.
The studio that released "Arctic Tale" wasn't thrilled about my content listing, which made it sound more like a PG-13 film.
And neither were some of the producers of the recent LDS fantasy adventure "Passage to Zarahemla," which received a PG-13 from the MPAA. The "Zarahemla" folks took exception to my description of some of its violent content, specifically "vehicular mayhem." But any time a vehicle is driven recklessly and without regard to human safety, I consider that to be "mayhem."
(And for those who are wondering what the term "slurs" in my "Zarahemla" review referred to, they're antiquated, politically incorrect terms for Native Americans.)
Again, I'm just doing my best to let readers know what a film really contains. You know, since the MPAA isn't doing such a great job with that task.
Getting back to "Beowulf," my two-star (out of four) review was based on a screening I saw in the 3-D IMAX format.
I will confess, though, that I'm not a fan of 3-D. Even with some modern refinements, I still find it to be a headache-inducing experience. Especially when blown up to the 70mm format.And the rubbery-looking, motion-capture/CGI animation characters sure didn't help. Nor did the video game-style characters' actions.