4 Reasons The Terminator Apocalypse Is Not Appropriate For 13-Year-Olds

It’s being reported today that director McG has lost his ultimately-right-but-seriously-misguided-in-his-execution ratings battle with the studio for an R rating for Terminator: Salvation. The story itself broke on AICN (via Vulture), which discovered an official MPAA rating for the movie on Pizza Hut’s tie-in website. Perfect. Harry Knowles suggested that the PG13 rating was not as threatening to the film’s integrity as you might think in a way that only Harry Knowles could:

If the MPAA decided this film was so entrenched in an unbelievable universe then they might have given the film a hard PG 13. Especially if you look at the sort of things they’re allowing in R films these days… and by that, I mean an intense amount of cock. They could’ve looked at this film and said… HMPH NO COCK, PG13.

An Intense Amount of Cock is the name of all of Harry Knowles’s albums. They’re just numbered. You’re going to love the lead single off An Intense Amount of Cock IV. It’s called “HMPH NO COCK” and it’s intense. It’s our generation’s “Tubthumping.”

But I disagree with Harry Knowles (always). The PG13 rating is no good, and not something to pretend is actually a cool decision on the part of Hollywood. Although McG’s original argument for an R rating seemed to hinge on whether or not the studio agreed that gratuitous shots of a young woman’s tits was vital to the integrity of this beloved franchise, because McG is 14, the truth is that the Apocalypse does have an R vibe to it. Admittedly, the Apocalypse also has a NO PIZZA HUT TIE-INS vibe to it, so there are a few ways in which this has already slipped the rails. But here are 4 reasons why the Terminator Apocalypse is not appropriate for 13-year-olds:

Roving Gangs of Cannibals
After the Apocalypse, be it nuclear or Robo-, resources are going to become extremely scarce. Not only will supplies be wiped out, but without any reliable transportation to deliver replacements, things are going to get pretty bleak. Even the black market will eventually run thin, at which point the only thing left to barter will be humanity itself. That’s when the warring tribes of cannibals take over. I’m not saying they’re wrong. We’ve all got to eat. “You don’t know until you’re faced with the choice,” etc, etc. I’m just saying, bearing witness to this inevitability should at least require a parent or guardian. Raise your kids, jerks.

Roving Gangs of Cannibal Rapists
See above, and add the high frequency of pre-meal rape in a Post-Apocalyptic wasteland.

As far as I’m concerned, words are just words, and they should be de-mystified lest they take on more power than they deserve. It’s just like Harry Potter being the only one brave enough to say Voldemort’s name aloud. It’s just like that. (No nerdo.) As far as I’m concerned, there’s no reason that children shouldn’t be exposed to cursing and taught the values society places on particular expressions and epithets so that they understand it and can manage it well. But that’s swearing now, in our unApocalypsed world of iPhones and Celebreality. When it all turns to irradiated dust, the shit that’s going to come out of people’s mouths is going to be fucking terrifying. I’m 56 years old, and I will still be putting up my earmuffs.

Complete Reshifting Of The Entire Framework Of Mortality
Coming to terms with the fact that everyone dies, and that you yourself will die, is something that most people have and should experience by the time they are 13. Whether it’s suffering the death of an aging relative or a beloved pet in one’s youth, or just an abstract understanding culled from books and movies, at some point, by the time people reach adolescence, they understand the stakes. But Apocalypse is something else. Apocalypse is mass, inescapable, nightmare death. Apocalypse is not the slow release of one’s grip on life, or the inevitability of time. It’s instantaneous, blinding flash holocaust. It is the annihilation not just of self, but of every structure on which your idea of self and “the world” is built. It’s impossible to fully grasp, and it’s theoretical existence alone is abject horror. Eat your pizza.