Here's an interesting idea from the Land of the Free . . . ClearPlay.
It's a modified DVD player that will play regular DVDs, but edit them on the fly based on downloaded templates. It'll remove violence, sex scenes or profanity, depending on what you choose to find offensive.
A quick glance at the list of movies available has some surprises: Fight Club and Saw are both there, and presumably run for about five minutes each.
I'm genuinely ambivalent about this.
While I find it offensive that someone's art can be arbitrarily cut up by some prudish hack, I appreciate the argument that a consumer should be able to choose what they see.
Mostly I feel sorry for people who would willingly rob themselves of the breadth of feeling you get from films like Pan's Labyrinth. If you take out the sickening violence, you miss the contrast with the childlike innocence at the heart of the story, and you might as well be watching The Little Mermaid.
Imagine if this catches on. Rather than a movie being rated PG, M or R, studios will release a different cut corresponding to each rating.
More cinemas be built to cater for the multiple versions of blockbusters. A new breed of auteur will arise that refuses to make multiple cuts.
And George Lucas will use it as an excuse for yet another special edition of Star Wars.
So what do we think, kids? Good idea or bad idea?