August 19, 2013 3:34pm PT by Graeme McMillan
What British Censors Actually Thought of 'Jurassic Park'
Jurassic Park may be a "must-see" movie for families, but it doesn't really get going until the fourth reel, and even then, you can't really believe that any of the main characters are in any real danger. The declaration of a particularly harsh critic? Not at all -- instead, it's from the official 1993 report on the movie from the British Board of Film Classification, which has made public its internal document about the movie's U.K. rating two decades after the fact.
What's so fascinating about the report isn't the grading system used -- the movie's theme was rated "U" for "Universal," but the violence is rated Parental Guidance; amusingly, the movie's outline is described as "Things go wrong in dinosaur park" -- but the accompanying comments, which take the movie to task for its slow burn ("It is really only in reel 4 that things hot up," it complains) and considers just how scary the movie actually is.
"After the children are rescued and head back to safety, there is more chasing and terrorizing in reels 6 and 7," the report explains at one point, describing those scenes are "nightmarish but all within PG since … one can't really believe the principals are going to be killed [and] there is little sign of violence being done to humans." The movie is compared with Alien ("On the big screen, this could be very effective," the reporter admits), and the comments end with "No way '12' or cuts for PG, yes way PG," thereby proving that the appeal of Wayne's World was indeed international.
Seeing behind the movie ratings scene like this is wonderful, and makes me wish it could happen more often. Who wouldn't want to see similar comments for Star Wars, E.T. or any other classic movie, written before anyone else had managed to see it and the general consensus had made up its hive mind on the topic? Somewhere, there is a report on Star Trek: The Motion Picture where the outline just reads "I don't know, something to do with robots and a bald woman."