Sunday, July 24, 2005

Two Very Different Wars

I've been largely thinking about only two things for the past day or so and felt I ought to share these. This post will probably slightly less light-hearted than previous posts have been.

Firstly, last night I went to see 'War of the Worlds'. I cannot say I enjoyed it. At least, I enjoyed small parts of it. I was slightly concerned before I went into that I would find it overly unpleasant and uncomfortable. However, I was under the impression that it would be ok, as it is a 12A - had it been a 15, I would have been much less likely to have gone in. This method, however, did me no good. Of course I expected it to be a thriller (UCI said it "Contains sustained menace, threat and moderate horror"). However, I did not expect it to be of the level that it was. I will not go into details, so as not to spoil it for those who do wish to see it (although I will if people would like me to). Around half way through I felt sick and extremely uncomfortable. Had it not been that James was there and enjoying it, and that I felt I needed to see the end to 'recover', I would have left.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not objecting to the film. Not at all. It was well made, faithful to the original and Dakota Fanning ('Rachel') was fantastic! However, I am appalled by the certificate it has been given. By the new certification rules, any child over the age of 5 can see this film as long as they are accompanied by a 'responsible' adult. I am 21 and I found this film horrendous in places. IMHO, it should have been a cert.15.
Ok. Rant over.

My second topic is to do with the events in London over the past two weeks. I live near London, I am on a 20minute direct trainline to King's Cross, I crossed London by train (for Ros' wedding) on the first weekend between the events... and I am not scared. I am not worried, I am not particularly bothered by it at all. I don't know why not. Perhaps I am totally mad. St.Albans has been bombed in the past (in 1991, by the IRA). I have regularly used trains and tube, especially in the last couple of years, as it is the easiest way for me to travel from Reading to St.Albans.
These attacks have made little to no difference to the way I behave, the way I travel, the way I behave, anything. I am not more wary, I am not nervous around Muslims (I have met a number of people who are - and argued with them about it accordingly). Am I crazy? Am I abnormal? Or are there others out there who feel the same? Everyone I have spoken to have said things like "Are you sure should be using the tube?" or "All this stuff on the news is really scarey, isn't it?". And always, my answers are 'yes' and 'no' respectively. Am I the only one?

9 comments:

Martin said...

I don't suppose, while you're here, you could explain to me why St Albans station was closed last Thursday?

It upset my travel plans quite a bit and I couldn't find any reason why...

postliberal said...

I don't think you are, really. Most people just don't fit into the easily simple commentry/media catagories of 'fearful' or 'defiant'.

I've often been traveling through Paddington station - so it was rather odd to consider how easily I could've been there. But I wouldn't think twice about using it again. If we don't get on with living, what's the point...

Sally said...

martin: I believe there was a 'security alert'. Presumably a bomb scare.

PL: Thanks. I don't think it's a case of defiance with me. A part of me is saying 'I will not let them win'. However, that is only part of it.
Statistically speaking, there are an awful lot of people in London and I'm just one of them...
Overall, I just see the point in worrying. I trust God and I know that if anything does happen, then it will be ok.

Steve LW said...

War Of The Worlds - I agree Sal. As you know, my stomach's up to more than yours (something I admire you for) and I too found parts disterbing, although I would say in great moderation and with artistic intent; it's certainly not a "slasher" movie. Definatly should have been a 15 (or possibly an 18 but I fear that would be asking too much of the current cinema climate). There was a very well written article in Spark (no, that's not a typo; I was as shocked as you are) in one of the last issues about the 12A certificate and it's effect (or 'affect', not sure on the grammar in this context) on cinema. It's main point was that it ruined the film experience for adults by filling adult film thearters...um, let me re-phrase that...film thearters showing films aimed at mature adults with children to increase box office takings. The 12A is practicaly the old 15 - looking at the ratings descriptions at http://www.bbfc.co.uk there is very little difference.

London attacks - I agree that we should not treat Muslims/Asians etc differently, but can we blame people for feeling more concerned by their pressense? I stress there is no rational reason for this, but is it not the inbuilt stereotype defence mechanism making people feel this way, and therefor to some extent out of their control?

hatchris said...

I think Steve has hit something there - almost everyone in Britain believes that the majority of Muslims is no threat. But because the current threat of violence comes specifically from muslims, it is only natural to be slightly fearful. Having said that, I have no problem using public transport in London. The chances of being killed in an attack are roughly the same as the risk you take every time you get in a car. Road accidents kill an awful lot of people, but we have no fear at all of using cars. I suppose it is the indiscriminate nature of terrorism and our lack of control over events that makes one worried, but I don't think you are alone in carrying on as normal.

postliberal said...

Perhaps it's blind optimism, but I would tend to fall into that 'there's more chance of a car hitting me' approach. After all, accidents are by thier nature unpredictable and sporadic. But if I feared it, I would never leave the house...living as usual is just something you do...

Sally said...

On the topic of film ratings, James' brother got back tonight from seeing The Island and said that that should be a 15, not a 12A too. Guess that's just the way it's going...

JamesP said...

I was surprised that the Island wasn't a 15 as well! Waste of a good idea in a film.

However, though I too was terrified by War of the Worlds, I can't argue with the rating. Remember the 12A states that is only suitable for children over 12, but a parent may take a younger child if they judge that child can cope. The advice is still that the film will not be suitable.

And is it possible to rate a film on emotional impact? There was very little on screen gore (handy that people turn into dust when zapped rather than spraying internal organs everywhere. Same way LOTR got away with a lot by using black orc blood), most of the violence was of the "fantasy" type (ie you wouldn't see it on the street).

Ratings are by nature an imperfect system, trying to objectify a very subjective and shifting artform amongst many pressures. On the whole, I think they get it right.

Apart from the island. That was horribly violent. And a waste of a good idea.

Sally said...

The comment about the orc blood is true. Did you know that only red blood applies? Hence, Kill Bill would not have got a certificate at all if some of the scenes with 'arterial spray' had not been shot in black&white?