Home Opinion Midweek Mouth-off: Dumbing down and declawed

Midweek Mouth-off: Dumbing down and declawed

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We’ve just seen it with The Wolverine, it’s happened notably before with Daredevil and now the highly anticipated Snow Piercer is getting a similar treatment.

In short, these movies are being heavily edited,  dumbed down and declawed for Western audiences – typically going from R-rated to a much more “accessible” PG-13. Although we’re sure we can predict your reaction, today we want to know how you feel about this kind of heavy-handed studio intrusion. Has it reached the point where you’d rather skip the film on circuit and instead wait for the director’s cut on DVD and Blu-Ray for the “real” experience?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: August 7, 2013


  1. DarthofZA

    August 7, 2013 at 10:52

    It doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, they should dumb it down so that kids can also enjoy the movies. I think I reached the stage where I have realized that things like blood or sex don’t make a movie more mature. Those are cheap tricks to try and grab the attention of the older immature audience. I honestly don’t think blood would of added any extra enjoyment to Wolverine. The sex scenes in series like Sparticus and Game of Thrones ruined those series for me. You can show that sex is being had without actually showing the sex being had. I’m glad I got to watch Wolverine with my little brother.


    • James Francis

      August 7, 2013 at 11:43

      You are assuming, though, that these are just age-related cuts and not also rearranging of story elements and plot details.


      • DarthofZA

        August 7, 2013 at 11:46

        With that, sir, you are correct. With regards to the changes made Snow Piercer, that really sucks. The blood and sex cuts don’t bother me, the story ones are a completely different story. I should stay away from forums when a baby has caused me to have only 2 hours of sleep :P.


        • James Francis

          August 7, 2013 at 11:55

          So what if violence and sex is integral to the storytelling process? For example, Spartacus would fall over without such excess, as it helps establish the shows’ overall bombastic approach.


          • DarthofZA

            August 7, 2013 at 12:09

            I agree the violence was ok there, but the porn I still feel was unnecessary. I don’t watch porn. And I won’t watch a TV series that puts it in either. They could of shown the sex without it being porn.

          • James Francis

            August 7, 2013 at 12:14

            Wouldn’t it be a double standard to include gratuitous violence, but not gratuitous sex?

          • DarthofZA

            August 7, 2013 at 12:45

            Maybe it is. I don’t really have a valid arguement for it. I can just say that, personally, I’ve stopped watching several series because of the amount of porn in it. And I still don’t feel like it does anything for the series. The same could be said about the violence though..

          • James Francis

            August 7, 2013 at 13:02

            I guess that’s my point: if you are opposed to cuts that affect the story of something, would you oppose cutting violence and sex that do a lot for the content?

          • DarthofZA

            August 7, 2013 at 13:38

            I would argue they don’t actually do a lot for the content. Especially the sex. Having some cloth hiding certain body parts or the camera panning away when they get down and dirty doesn’t take anything away from the story. The fact that they’re having sex might be relevant, but the exact size and shape of their body parts and how they use them is not. A 5 minute porno scene in Spartacus with 0 dialogue, for example, does nothing more than a 10 second scene where they showed they were going to have sex and then have the camera pan away would of.

          • James Francis

            August 7, 2013 at 13:48

            By that virtue, if you do not support double standards, you have to agree that sanitizing the violence would have no impact either.

          • DarthofZA

            August 8, 2013 at 15:19

            The violence part does make sense to me. It is the porn that doesn’t. What message does seeing the sex happen convey that seeing them getting started and then maybe moving to a shadow or fading out doesn’t?

          • James Francis

            August 8, 2013 at 16:04

            I understand where you are coming from. But think of it the other way around – why would the violence be justified if they could have done it more clinically? The fact is, the excessive nature of the violence is in tandem with the show. As such, not having excessive sex would seem out of tune with what the show is doing. My point being, it’s two sides of the same coin. While you may not appreciate the role of the gratuitous sex, it does bring the same ambiance to the table as the violence. If you are going to mute that aspect, you might as well mute the violence. And doing either would ultimately sanitize the very style of the story, coming back to the original point of whether it is right to adjust the story through editing. In short, remove one part and the whole house comes down, so we can’t be picky about what should and shouldn’t be used.

          • Wtf101

            August 8, 2013 at 15:50

            If I may, Luke’s hand did not gush blood like a geyser erupting when it was severed. Luke’s reaction nailed the “okay that hurts!” part quite brilliantly.

          • James Francis

            August 8, 2013 at 16:09

            That, though, is just a matter of scale. The fact is that his hand was graphically severed. The movie could have opted to not show us that and simply suggest it, but that would not have been as powerful. Moving from no blood to a geyser is a smaller step than moving from showing no violence to showing something.

          • Kervyn Cloete

            August 8, 2013 at 16:16

            I’m going to be a complete nerd here and interject to say that his severed hand didn’t gush blood because the lightsaber cauterized the wound.

            We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

          • Wtf101

            August 8, 2013 at 16:22

            D’oh! I hate you for making sense!

          • Wtf101

            August 8, 2013 at 15:53

            Question, and I apologize for butting in all over the show: Why do you have to have gratuitous sex if you have gratuitous violence? Why would it be a double standard to have one and not the other?

          • James Francis

            August 8, 2013 at 16:23

            It’s a double standard to discriminate against the one but not the other. I’m not saying you have to have both. But if something resonates well with both, yet you hold back on one, you end up reducing the presentation’s true potential. You can do violence without sex (Evil Dead) or sex without violence (Diary of a Nymphomaniac). Then you have something that needs both (Hostel).

          • Wtf101

            August 8, 2013 at 15:56

            Why is violence and sex integral to the story? A good story does not always have to include bucket loads of gore and sex? In fact, if a show/book/movie is relying on sex to sell, is that not indicative of poor story telling abilities to a point? (Again, I am not attacking you, just having a friendly debate.)

          • James Francis

            August 8, 2013 at 16:12

            You are right, but that depends on the context. Put it this way: would 300 have been as powerful if they toned it to a PG level? In the case of Spartacus – it is at its core a bombastic and gratuitous show. As such taming any of those elements would have weakened it. Not everything needs excessive violence, sex, humor or drama, but some things would fall apart without these elements.

  2. Gustav Willem Diedericks

    August 7, 2013 at 10:53

    Depends. My opinion is that studios shouldn’t interfere with the director’s creative process. But if the movie turns out good and gets good reviews I will go watch it in the cinemas, and if it appeals I’ll get the Blu-ray/DVD with the director’s cut.


  3. Wayne Bossenger

    August 7, 2013 at 11:12

    That is such a shame, although I can understand why they do it, the logic is somewhat flawed…
    The directors cut of Daredevil is so much better than the film release, I’d like to think that if they took that approach from the get go, the film would have been a greater success, and perhaps have spawned better sequels/spinoffs than “Elektra”…

    I understand the films are targeted to kids and up, but a character like ghost rider really needed to be R rated… Compare Blade 1 and 2 (18) with 3 (15), the first 2 were much better than the third, and a part of that comes from what they were allowed to show from the rating. I’m keen to see the directors cut of the Wolverine for a much improved version, especially since I loved the film release! 😀

    Just because a film is based off a comic book, doesn’t mean it has to be targeted at kids, especially if the comic is aimed at older teens or higher.


  4. Trevor Davies

    August 7, 2013 at 11:19

    I think they should decide up front what age groups they’re targeting & stick to it. I’m perfectly happy to watch anything from A to R-18 as long as I think I’ll enjoy it. That said, I want to see a movie where what’s included is appropriate to the style of story they’re trying to tell – if it’s violent & someone gets stabbed, then there should be blood – which doesn’t mean buckets of gore either.

    We see movies as entertainment & art, studios see movies as business – we have different goals when it comes to what we expect to get out of watching a movie. What annoys me, in particular with the Snowpiercer mention, is that I feel I’m being short-changed by the studio. I understand why they’re doing it, a bigger demographic means more people who can watch it & equals more revenue. But at the same time something that sounds like I (possibly) would’ve enjoyed more has been “dumbed down” in order to achieve that.


  5. James Francis

    August 7, 2013 at 11:49

    There’s an amusing story about Studio Ghibli sending Weinstein a samurai sword with a note that said ‘No cuts’. Since then it has never touched the editing of a Ghibli film. So this kind of thing can be stopped. But on the other hand there is also a matter of business sense: different audiences like different things. Comedies are often the best example: what one country finds hilarious falls flat elsewhere.

    This kind of thing used to annoy me – I once loathed Shogun Assassin’s interpretation of Lone Wolf. But these days I figure that if I never see an original but enjoyed the recut, then I’m not poorer for it. And if I have seen the original, yet the recut annoys me, I just avoid the latter. Besides, if the film is a success, we’d likely get a DVD edition with more than one version.


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