Violence broke out literally within the first five minutes of a PG-rated film that my boyfriend, his daughter and I watched Saturday night. I was taken aback by it.
The Dragon Pearl began with a fight featuring martial arts and someone wielding a shovel, and a little later on in the movie, an extended fight broke out involving children, adults and villains. That’s when I left the room, because it just went on and on. I was like, are they priming children for the more hardcore violence they will likely watch routinely as adults? At any rate, the shock of what I saw got me to thinking about movie ratings and what PG is supposed to mean or entail.
On the website run by the agency that issues film ratings, the Motion Picture Association of America, a linked .pdf file says PG means parents should do a little research on such movies because they may consider some material unsuitable for children. But the IMDb description of the movie is not thorough enough to provide a heads up about potentially inappropriate content. Also, the Motion Picture Association’s rating rules add that “the more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance.”
In that context, what exactly does parental guidance mean? I am inclined to think it means parents intervening during the film to maybe chat about a particular scene, speak out against any negative behavior or attitudes being depicting on the screen or raise other such concerns. But I have a feeling that there isn’t a whole lot of PG’ing going on in the room when parents and children watch movies that require it.