Imagine Saving Private Ryan with no profanity. Imagine The Passion of the Christ with less gore. Imagine Titanic with the steamy sex scene eliminated. Well, that is what you are going to have to do is imagine because earlier this month, a U.S. District Judge in Colorado determined that it was an infrigment of copywrite laws for a firm to make changes in movies and then distribute them.
Businesses such as CleanFlicks, Play It Clean Videos, and CleanFilms have been ordered to stop production of editing films and turn over their inventory. These companies are some of the companies that have taken the "questionable" content out of movies and then offer them to the public for sale or rental. The questionables could be sex, nudity, profanity and graphic violence.
Now I understand the idea of these companies, desiring to take popular movies and make them family friendly. But I must admit, the idea of "cleaning up" a movie does bother me.
Take Saving Private Ryan for example. This movie is quite the war flick. And war is not family friendly. As in real war, the movie has ample blood, gore, guts, profanity and violence. Hey, war is hell and needs to be shown to this generation as something not to glamorize. I remember Vietnam. But most of this generation of 18 years old to 40 something, before the events in Iraq, didn't have a clue about the ugliness of war. Unless you count Forrest Gump. Saving Private Ryan provided a close to life visual of war. War is not sanitized and shucks and golly gee. If you want your kids to see a sanitized and false look at war time, show them Hogan's Heroes re-runs.
Most of us, other than in film have never experienced the brutal experience of seeing a person put to death, let alone a crucifixion. Even the church has sanitized the events around the brutal act. So when the world was first exposed to the movie The Passion, we were horrified. It would be a horrible way to die. But let's not sanitize the event. We did that for too long as it is.
Personally, if there is any editing going on for my family, I'll do it. I should be able to either use that time to teach my kids something if I deem it necessary.
One writer mentioned a comparison that I thought was applicable. Mark Moring, writing in the magazine Christianity Today said: "Picture it this way: Go to a museum that includes Renaissance art, and you're going to see a lot of naked people in paintings and statues … So what do you do? Do you want someone to alter the art itself, to put some boxer shorts on that statue or some strategically placed Post-It notes on that painting?" Beautiful!
Just be glad that these companies weren't around when Gone With the Wind was released. Rhett Butler may have departed that final scene with "Frankly, my dear, I just don't care."
It's not the same.