The Motion Picture Association released a report detailing its reasoning behind the rerating of some 85 classic feature films including Bambi, The Birds, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.
As reported by Good Turn Daily, the organization reclassified a number of landmark titles from G to NN, meaning that they contain content that has been deemed “not nice” by a panel of appointed experts. The NN rating carries with it a recommendation to limit viewership of titles bearing the rating to adults and desensitized children who are supervised by a parent or guardian who is responsible for determining the level of violence, depravity and lewd behavior to which the already desensitized children should be exposed.
For example, the groundbreaking 2001: A Space Odyssey, initially given a G rating, was flagged with the NN label due to its “insensitive depiction of artificially intelligent beings” and “man-on-machine as well as ape-on-ape violence.”
Disney’s iconic animated feature, Bambi, was also “recategorized downly” to NN for “meanly frank depictions of nature and wildlife that are, frankly, mean.” The rebranding has placed the 1942 fan favorite within the same rating category as Ben-Hur and The Graduate.
1963’s The Birds was approved for all audiences aged 13 and up not long after the MPA created the PG-13 rating in 1984, but was slapped with the NN mark for subjecting viewers to “increasingly unpleasant bird-on-person violence coupled with the unresolved anxiety of having provoked it somehow through pollution, deforestation, throwing rice at weddings, etc.”
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was a highly popular release during the 1980s and maintained its allure among audiences well into the 21st century, and yet it has been mentioned in more official complaints to the MPA than have all of the other titles included in the report, combined. An innovative combination of animation and live-action, the blockbuster hit was originally stamped with a PG rating. Now it carries the NN designation because the appointed experts on the panel cited the movie for “underrepresentation of Rabbit characters” and “hurtful and discriminatory stereotyping of Toons.” Cartoon-conscious viewers reputedly took issue with the portrayal of Jessica Rabbit as a non-Rabbit, questioning the casting decision of an industry that is already criticized heavily for its lack of substantial roles for small herbivorous mammals, whether live-action or Toon.
There were also a few curious developments that resulted in films being “recategorized uply.” The Human Centipede, once rated R for “sadistic horror, violence, nudity and language,” will now be classified as E and recommended for all audiences due to its “positive depiction of group cooperation and conservation of natural resources.” The rating of E stands for “educational.” Other newly established ratings include AG (all good), SN (some necrophilia) and HTC (hurtful toward cats).
As stated by the MPA, the adjustment was precipitated by “evolving standards of an AG society in an NN world.”
Not surprisingly, the Association has experienced noticeable pushback from the film community and elsewhere since the rating changes were announced. “Whats next?… FUA? (F*** YOU America!)… well I guess thatd be FYA… I didnt mean to tweet that part,” observed one Twitter user. Another online comment read, “Generations to come are laughing at us right now. When people look back on this time decades and centuries into the future, they’re going to be amazed that we didn’t just rate everything W[oke] or N[ah — that ain’t woke].”