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Ghost in the Shell, Spark, Saw: Legacy, King Arthur and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 03/08/17 at 09:54 AM CT

Well, I've recovered (for the most part) over last week's illness and apparently the MPAA Ratings Board has recovered from providing me with nothing. In fact, this week offers a deluge of new ratings, including the upcoming live action Ghost in the Shell film, yet another Saw movie, an animated film featuring a super-powered monkey, another animated film about a unique superhero and yet another take on the Arthurian legend. All in all, it looks like an impressive linup and one I'm eager to start talking about... so let's get to it.

MPAA Official Logo

Up first, and fast approaching its release date, is a live-action version of one the most important (and a personal favorite of mine) Japanese animated films of all time, Ghost in the Shell. The tech-noir anime film was one of the first, true cyberpunk stories to ever be told and I think it holds up rather well for being released in 1995. A lot of people sure seem to be up-in-arms over the fact Scarlett Johansson was cast in the lead role (as opposed to an actress of Asian descent) but I say as long as they stick to the original story, I don't mind who is in the lead (plus, I like Johansson - even after the disappointing Lucy). Still, the film does feature plenty of Asian actors - including Takeshi Kitano as Section 9 Chief Daisuke Aramaki, Chin Han as Togusa and Rila Fukushima (who will be familiar to those who remember The Wolverine). Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Pilou Asbękand Michael Wincott round out the cast. Essentially Ghost in the Shell takes place in the future where technology and humanity have reached a point where it become difficult to distinguish one from the other. Johansson plays The Major - an enhanced cyborg tasked with helping Section 9 take down a variety of technological threats. But while the film is about finding a hacker, what it's really about is finding humanity in this world - and what it means to be human. It gets surprisingly deep and I just hope director Rupert Sanders (known mostly for Snow White and the Huntsman) is up to the task. It won't be easy, but the previews have me hopeful. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, suggestive content and some disturbing images.

Another story that is near and dear to my heart is the tale of King Arthur. While I have enjoyed many a novel that explores the story, films, for the most part, haven't been able to capture that same story. Aside from The Sword in the Stone and the goofy, yet hilarious Holy Grail, it's been slim pickings. Here's hoping that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword can turn things around. Far from being a typical Arthurian legend, in this story Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) has been conned out of his birthright and finds himself on the streets, forced to grow up in the back alleys - that is until he manages to pull a certain sword from a certain stone and fulfill an ancient prophecy. In order to become the leader he needs to be, he will not only have to harness the sword's power, but the power of the people - leading a rebellion to overthrow Vortigen (Jude Law), the man on the throne who murdered his parents. The film features a good lineup - Katie McGrath, Annabelle Wallis, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen and Hermione Corfield all contribute to the cast. I'm hoping this isn't yet another gritty reboot of a classic character (which fails more often than it words) so I may wait this one out until I get more information. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language.

A pair of animated offerings are up next. Both deal with main characters who have some not-so-standard abilities. In Spark: A Space Tail, a teen monkey with a big destiny to stop the power-mad General Zhong from utilizing a creature with the ability to make black holes, and taking over the universe. It sounds crazy but the talent lined up is strong: Jessica Biel, Patrick Stewart, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank and Jace Norman lend their considerable talent to the proceedings. Meanwhile, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie brings us a very different kind of hero - the kind that comes about when some shifty middle schoolers hypnotize their mean-spirited principal and turn him in to a hero of their own creation... one who wears underpants on the outside. Apparently this is based on a popular book character. Jordan Peelem Nick Kroll, Kevin Hart, Kristen Schaal, Ed Helms and Thomas Middleditch lead this films. Both look absurd but will probably keep the kids entertained. Spark earns a PG for some action and rude humor.while Captain Underpands earn the same raging for mild rude humor throughout.

Rounding out the important films for this week is Saw: Legacy. Unfortunately, right now there is also nothing know about this film - including whether Saw: Legacy is going to be the final title. One thing known is that this is the eighth film in the long-running franchise and comes a full seven years after Saw 3D: The (not so) Final Chapter. Saw is not my favorite horror series, though it is one of the more inventive and gruesome out there. It is not even know if Tobin Bell is coming back or what the plot may be or pretty much anything other than its unsurprising R rating for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and for language.

Those are the major entries this week, but be sure to check out the full MPAA Raings Bulletin below:


Rated PG for mild rude humor throughout.


Rated PG for thematic material.


Rated R for language.


Rated R for sexuality, graphic nudity, language and brief violence.


Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, suggestive content and some disturbing images.


Rated G.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language.


Rated R for language including some sexual references.


Rated R for language throughout, drug use and some violence.


Rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and for language.


Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and brief nudity.


Rated PG for some action and rude humor.


Rated PG for thematic elements and some language.


Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some violence.


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