There is a great disturbance in the force. The Star Wars The Last Jedi rating is 12 in the UK, PG-13 in the US. Does this mean that Star Wars Episode VIII is not suitable for young kids?
In the UK, the original trilogy were all rated U – as were episodes I and II (in the cinema at least). Only with the darker Episode III did the rating go up to a 12.
These days, a 12 (or PG-13) rating is the norm for once child friendly action adventure. This also includes the genre du jour of the superhero movie.
The reason lies in economics. Films with this rating do demonstrably better at the box office compared to higher or lower rated movies. There are now legal requirements for final cuts to be delivered with this rating – from both the studios and even the banks that finance them.
Why does the high Star Wars The Last Jedi rating matter?
So why take kids see this and other higher rated movies?
Well, kids under 12 are constantly being marketed to about Star Wars. The vast majority of Star Wars toys, magazines, and even clothing are all aimed at the under-12s. Given there is so much product being targeted at them, it is grossly unfair to create the central piece of media – the movie – as being unsuitable for them.
I’ll be taking our 5yo daughter to see the film, as I have done with the previous two Star Wars movies (yes, I took her to see The Force Awakens when she was 3, and Rogue One when she was 4).
In 2015, I took the risk with nightmares, because I wanted to establish with her that Star Wars is for girls too. The fact that in Rey we finally had a female main protagonist only strengthened my resolve to take her, despite the high age rating.
Our daughter enjoyed it, and Rogue One a year later. And let’s be honest, while the original trilogy was rated U, they probably really shouldn’t have been. But those original movies were only a solid PG at most.
Should I take my kid to see Star Wars The Last Jedi?
In 2015, I was one of the only parents of kids of a similar age I knew that took their child to see The Force Awakens. But this time the Star Wars The Last Jedi rating hasn’t put off the parents of our daughter’s peers any more, with many telling me they are taking their kids (so far, only boys tho).
But I know there will be unnecessarily intense scenes of action in the film – not because they make dramatic sense, but because they need to secure the 12/PG-13 rating. It would be great if they could reduce the age rating and make Star Wars movies the family entertainment they used to be again. They would probably sell more toys if they did so too.
Image from ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, featuring Rey (Daisy Ridley). Photo: Jules Heath, ©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.