7/9/2000: MIB DVD – THE RATING STORY
Several readers want to know why the DVD version of Men In
Black has a higher rating than when it was released both
theatrically and on video in Australia. (See Urban
Cinefile’s REVIEW of the DVD) The simple answer is: the DVD
is closer to the original, which had to be modified to get its
classification lower, for commercial purposes. The detailed
answer, from Columbia TriStar, follows:
This is Columbia TriStar’s official statement on the
matter: "To avoid an M15+ rating, which would have limited
Columbia TriStar's advertising and promotional opportunities, the
theatrical division of Columbia made a number of changes to the
film (that were approved by the director). These changes,
detailed below, reduced the rating to PG and it is this version
that Columbia TriStar also released on video:
* When Will Smith chases the alien guy on to the rooftop about 12
minutes into the film, the alien vanished in a puff of smoke
while falling to avoid the implications of suicide. In the DVD
version, the original scene is restored - you don't see the body
hit the ground, but he falls farther and a thud is heard.
*Approx. 13 minutes into the film, Edgar is taken into the crater
by the bug. The impact of this scene was reduced but cutting the
visual of Edgar's empty skin being tossed out of the crater. This
is restored on the Australian DVD version.
* Around 22 minutes into the film, the newly possessed Edgar
disposes of a pest controller who has come to the farm. In the
theatrical version the intensity of the pest controller's death
was reduced by trimming the scene slightly, but on DVD this scene
is fully restored.
* At the 40 minute mark, a scene of the folded-in-half body of
the waiter that Edgar has just killed was edited to reduce it's
impact. The DVD version shows the complete scene.
* Ditto for the scene at 41 minutes where Edgar kills the 2
aliens in the restaurant with a spike. In the DVD version, this
scene is restored to its original version.
Most of these changes required only minimal editing, so there was
no radical difference in running time between the 2 versions.
There is one further difference with Columbia TriStar's
Australian DVD version of the film, but this has nothing to do
with the theatrical release - well not in Australia anyway! For
the UK and their own unique censorship requirements, two uses of
the word 'prick' were substituted for 'jerk'. Despite these audio
changes, with the film restored to it's original version for the
DVD release, the M15+ rating now applies."
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