Saturday, 7 April 2012

Sense Not Censorship 2 - Movie Posters

Let us get something clear, right from the off; I am in no way a prude, nor do I think that creative people should be subject to draconian censorship. However, I do believe, wholeheartedly, that those same creative people should be prepared to take responsibility for what they put into the public domain.

The case in point here is film posters. We know that there is a massive publicity machine behind the promotion of new movies - how else do they generate an audience to see the movies in the first place? We also know that the saturation point for media output has been met. So it would seem that the PR and marketing teams behind most new releases have run out of original ideas and now resort to lowest common denominator shock tactics. Or innuendo. Or, as in the example below, both.

As a parent of young children I think it should be my right to walk through my City centre, use public transport, or (retro-bloke that I am) use a phonebox occasionally without being confronted with an array of graphic, violent or gory images that I then have to try to explain to a confused, frightened or bewildered child. These same images should not be displayed on hoardings or those scrolling advertising boards. In a magazine that I can choose not to buy; fine. In certain parts of the cineplex not frequented by families with children; no problem. All it takes is a little sense, a little bit of thought.

We complain that our young people are increasingly violent, sexualised, horror-fixated, and disengaged from reality and then proceed to fill every available space with imagery that promotes violence, sex, and horror. The posters for each of the 'Saw' movies have been progressively grim. Graphically clever you might argue, but are they really suitable to be plastered anywhere and everywhere? Does the presence of a gun really enhance the attractiveness of the movie's hero/heroine? If so, are we really comfortable with this fact if we actually stop to think about the repercussions? Do the PR gurus deem the intelligence of the average cinema-goer to be so low that they cannot tell that a film is a thriller without there needing to be at least one firearm in the imagery? Never mind the Freudian aspect of guys and their guns!

I have chosen a few images to illustrate this post. I chose them quickly and there are many, many more examples of graphic, violent and just plain naff imagery that I could have picked. I return to my original statement: I do not wish to stop the creation of such material, I just wish some thought went into where it was placed.

UPDATE: May 2012

The latest offering from Mel Gibson - "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" - another example of the glorification of guns!