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Which Scene in Prometheus Tipped the Movie Into an R-Rating?

It Came From Outer Space

There’s a good part of me that wishes that somehow I could watch Prometheus and have it all be like this picture or even this picture and still get the experience of watching Prometheus. Instead, I’m going to wait for the home video release, probably have a drink beforehand, and keep my finger on the pause button. Because I actually do want to watch Prometheus, as it was cut.

There’s an interesting story out from the LA Times, however, that’s about one pretty significant cut that Ridley Scott was asked to make from Prometheus, apparently the only thing in the movie that stood between it and a PG-13 rating instead of the box-office killing R. If you’ve already seen the movie, you’ve probably already guessed which one it is, and if you haven’t… well, HUGE SPOILERS below.

It is, of course, the scene where Noomi Rapace‘s Dr. Elizabeth Shaw gives herself a medical-robot-aided Cesarean section in an attempt to end the alien pregnancy that’s been forced on her by her crewmembers. And though I haven’t seen it, I’m guessing it’s taken the new #1 spot on terrifying robot-assisted cinematic birthing scenes, edging out Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith by a long shot. No, I don’t want to talk about this robot and it’s freaky scoop hands.

From the LA Times:

The scene, according to Scott, is the one that tipped the film’s rating from a PG-13 to an R. The director said the only way to land the more family-friendly rating would have been to remove the scene entirely.

“They didn’t even want the scene,” Scott said. “It wasn’t about just cutting it down, they didn’t want the scene.”

And that was something neither Scott nor studio chief Tom Rothman wanted considering the importance of the sequence and the toll it took on the Rapace.

Needless to say, in addition to being a difficult and emotional shoot for Rapace (see the whole article to hear her talk about her nightmares during the four days it took to get it down), the scene is fundamental to the movie. It’s unclear what the MPAA wanted the makers of Prometheus to replace the scene with.

The questions we are left with are numerous, but among them: would it have been PG-13 safe if Shaw had allowed the pregnancy to end in a classic Alien chestburster scene? Was the scene considered too heavy because it was a person deliberately performing surgery on themselves? Or was it considered t0o heavy because it was a woman performing surgery to remove a growing entity from her body, and the (fully intentional) parallels to pregnancy, birth, and abortion were too strong?

While I can see the merit of both of those last two arguments, I find it hard to believe that an MPAA rating audience completely missed the bodily choice parallels, and even harder to believe that if they noticed them, it wouldn’t heavily influence their ruling.

(via Think Progress.)

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