Why do I get the feeling that President Bush probably has a little cheat sheet of issues and their concomitant language, stuff that (in theory, at least) reminds him which side of a debate he’s on, what’s “right,” and what words (and only what words) he’s supposed to be saying?
So it’s tilling old Earth, perhaps, but I just stumbled across Paul Davidson’s piece about the Live Free or Die Hard rating controversy, from June 8 in the Los Angeles Times, in which he talks about Bruce Willis taking to the Internet to connect directly with fans and address their concerns over the movie, etcetera. All fine and good… one big qualm, though.
The second paragraph of his piece reads, verbatim: “To know why fans are up in arms, you have to go back to how 20th Century Fox tackled this question: How does a studio take a money-making franchise such as Die Hard ($740 million worldwide to date) that’s been missing in action for more than 10 years and position it as a summer blockbuster that a new generation of moviegoers will clamor to see? If you’re Fox, you take what was once an R-rated, foul-mouthed, thrill-ride of carnage and mandate a friendlier, gentler PG-13 rating from the start.”
The problem is that Fox very clearly didn’t communicate this wish, to either Willis (who initially lashed out at the rating in a Vanity Fair interview) or director Len Wiseman. Or if they did, Wiseman is perhaps one of the worst directors working today — one who kept his actors in the dark and took a terrifically awful chance, somehow thinking he could call his bosses’ bluff. The fact is that Live Free or Die Hard‘s action is suitably “hard,” but the movie has several scenes in which characters very clearly drop F- and MF-bombs. The editorial circumvention in these scenes, both visually and aurally, is very poor; if the film truly was mandated PG-13 from the beginning, instead of being massaged down, this kind of slipshod filmmaking wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, be evident.
In air-quote honor of Paris Hilton‘s release from prison, and no doubt her transformation into a paragon of virtue and intellectual and spiritual pursuit, let’s pause to celebrate the inescapable Paris we all know (if not love) with the above photo, allegedly snapped in Amsterdam a while back. I know, I know… she’s changed. She read The Secret while in jail. Big whoop. Good to hear, by the way, that Michael Moore has been bumped from Larry King Live to talk about his health care documentary Sicko this evening to make way for Paris. Nice. Just fantastic.
Bruce Willis’ Die Hard series made its reputation as a bit of a gritty but certainly a gleefully R-rated series… until this iteration, of course, which hits theaters tomorrow with a PG-13 tag. Those fearing a watered-down Live Free or Die Hard needn’t worry, however — audiences don’t get cheated on its rating in terms of action, that’s for sure. There’s some pretty wicked pyrotechnics, but also a bit of cold-blooded hand-to-hand combat with Maggie Q. It’s a pretty hard PG-13, honestly.
There’s likely a little less blood in the movie than there would otherwise be, but the big hit/main concession comes in the form of language, in which a bunch of obviously harsher curse words get dubbed over with some quite shoddy ADR. More discrete thoughts will follow later, along with a full review posted later tonight or tomorrow.