Scott Pilgrim Is PG-13

Published 5 years ago by

scott pilgrim vs the world movie image 14 600x333 Scott Pilgrim Is PG 13

On the heels of a relatively weak opening weekend for the R-rated Kick-Ass, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) just gave another upcoming comic book adaptation, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a PG-13 rating. While this is great news for the marketability of the Edgar Wright-directed young adult hero film, what does it mean for the content of the film?

It is important to look at director Edgar Wright’s track record to determine the impact. The man behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz used profanity and violence in heavy doses to exhibit hilarious situations and great satirical stories, but it didn’t necessarily run the show. It’s hard to imagine an R-rated Scott Pilgrim considering the source material. In the end, a PG-13 rating gives the movie an opportunity to hit the broadest audience possible, and the great chance for success beyond the already hooked fans of the comic.

Plenty of people are quick to call this a response to the poor box office opening of Kick-Ass. It’s hard to really pinpoint the epicenter of the decision to make a film starring Michael Cera more accessible to the masses. While Kick-Ass was about a high-school superhero, it was geared for an adult crowd. Scott Pilgrim looks to be oriented for an audience closer to the titular character’s age, ranging from teenagers to those in their mid-20s.

Of course, the goal of every film is to market itself for the biggest demographic possible, but when the trailer showed a highly stylized movie with “high school” drama galore, the audience was clear. An R-rating would simply be foolish. A PG rating would be unreasonable. The “BAM-POW-THWAP” satire on campy comic book entertainment lends itself well to the middle-ground, keeping the action unique and universally enjoyable.

edgar wright Scott Pilgrim Is PG 13

Edgar Wright is one of the most sly and clever filmmakers out there today. His visions are influenced by everything he sees and gives the audience a chance to interact with every scene, at least in his most recognizable parody films. Instead of falling into a trap of simply making tip-of-the-cap jokes, he creates fully structured stories with original characters experiencing all-too-familiar events.

The trailers for Scott Pilgrim show the filmmaker may be taking a similar approach, but with a bigger box of tools. Stepping away from his regulars (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), Wright is getting opportunities to solidify himself as one of the most promising directors in Hollywood. Scott Pilgrim may not be for everybody, but snagging a PG-13 rating proves it can appeal to the masses, while still maintaining a level of maturity needed to tell the story. The rating was earned for “stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug reference.”

The film is clearly constructed by people who love comic books, but also have a sense of humor about them. More importantly, they are creative and unique individuals, expressing their story through video game sound effects and comic book visuals. If Michael Cera ever had a platform to be believable in beating somebody to the ground, this is it.

Does the PG-13 rating scare you off the film a bit? Or does the increased accessibility prove it may have mass appeal?

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World hits theaters August 13, 2010.

Source: MPAA via Superhero Hype

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  1. Do your research; the Scott Pilgrim books don't warrant anything higher than a PG13, and they have nothing to do with Edgar Wright's previous films. It was never going to be R-rated.

  2. Erica,

    Thanks for the insight. I should and want to read the Scott Pilgrim comics, but in the effort to get this story to fans of it like you in as time-sensitive a manner as possible without being irresponsible, I went through some synopses and images. But I didn't do it enough.

    Based on the director's background and the public's generalized comparison to Kick-Ass, I made an assumption it would be teetering between R and PG-13. I miscommunicated my point on how the violence I saw in the trailer may be portrayed and work for everybody.

    But I looked further into it and altered my perspective. Thanks for keeping an eye on us.


  3. Cool. Thanks for the response.

    I can see why the Scott Pilgrim movie would get compared to Kick-Ass; but really, besides both being based on comic books, the two stories have little in common.

    As someone who had never heard of either until the trailers came out, Scott Pilgrim looks much more appealing. I'm looking forward to it even though I'm not a Michael Cera fan.

  4. I've never read the books, the trailer looks ok, but there is nothing more offputting to me than to the words Michael Cera attached to a movie. Will wait for DVD.

    Still annoyed that the studio cancelled the test screening I turned up for. Grrrr!

  5. PG-13 is exactly where I anticipated this movie falling. This one of my most anticipated films of the summer and all because of Edgar Wright.

    Mike I agree with you about Wright's use of violence in his satrical films. “Stylized violence” is how I would describe the violence in Wright's pictures… especially in “Hot Fuzz.”

    I really enjoyed your article. I don't think that Edgar Wright gets much love and I'm very excited to see what he can do away from Pegg and Frost. It will give us a sense on what we can expect from his direction of “Ant Man.”

  6. Thank Jessie…I feel like he may be my favorite comedic director out right now.

  7. Mike, do DVD releases of TV shows in the US fall under the same ratings system as movies? Shaun and Hot Fuzz had the halfway-house rating of 15 in the UK. Likewise Spaced: take a few expletives out and it'd easily make PG-13, so I don't see that being a problem for Scott Pilgrim.

  8. I'm not sure Dentist, but I agree they didn't go overboard with the other films, but i get the sense they toned it down from hard R in Shaun and Fuzz

  9. I tried reading the Scott Pilgrim books but just couldn't hack it. They seemed like an Americanized version of some of the dumber Japanese manga or anime. The 9 to 15 crowd might like it.

  10. MPAA, gimme a rating between PG-13 and R, and I'll be happy!