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Including updates on the latest research carried out by the Office of Film & Literature Classification, media releases and other breaking news.
18 April 2020
Read our latest research report, Growing up with Porn - Insights from young New Zealanders Read more
18 April 2020
This page contains frequently asked questions and advice for parents who want to talk with their young people about pornography. Read more
22/04/2021 - R16: Graphic violence and offensive language Read more about Mortal Kombat
What is it? Mortal Kombat is a live action reboot of the iconic video game franchise of the same name. The film focuses on Cole Young – a washed up MMA fighter who has a mysterious dragon insignia branded on his chest. Cole is tracked down by Jax Briggs and Sonja Blade who want to know more about the insignia. Sonja is holding a mercenary named Kano captive who also happens to be branded with the insignia. Fortunately they find Lord Raiden, Liu Kang and Kung Lao before long. Liu Kang and Kung Lao are preparing the Earthrealm for its biggest challenge yet. The Outworld sorcerer Shang Tsung is seeking to enslave the Earthrealm by killing all its fighters before the next tournament. Cole’s heritage may hold the key to defeating Shang Tsung and his merciless warrior Sub-Zero.
What to expect? Mortal Kombat is an entertaining live-action adaptation of the iconic video game franchise. It introduces a new heroic character to the Mortal Kombat universe and captures the origin stories of some of its established stars.
Whilst the games have generally been classified as R18 in New Zealand, older teenagers are likely to be aware of the content and the fantastical context of the film will further mitigate the impact on this audience. The film also lacks the interactivity of the games which tends to amplify the impact and effect. Furthermore, older teenagers will have already been exposed to other films and shows with material similar to that seen in this film.
12/04/2021 - R13: Violence, cruelty and sexual material Read more about Voyagers
What is it? Voyagers is a sci-fi thriller about a group of young astronauts travelling through space to colonise a new world in the wake of devastating climate change. Sela, Christopher, Zac and their crew have lived their lives in confinement to prepare them for spending their lives in a space ship. Only their children and grandchildren will see the new planet. When they discover they have been medicated to keep them placid, they stop taking ‘the blue’, resulting in an explosion of emotions and violence.
What to expect? Voyagers predominantly deals with sex, cruelty and violence. To a lesser degree some lighting and music horror conventions are used to create a sense of psychological tension, and verbal cruelty and bullying add to the hostile tone. Most of the sexual material is fleeting and unlikely to leave much of an impact on children. There is sexual harassment, which within the close confines of the ship is likely to unsettle some younger viewers. As this behaviour is roundly condemned, it is unlikely to negatively shape their attitudes to sex. However moments of cruel violence, particularly a scene where a crew member is senselessly beaten to death, in combination with the tense claustrophobic setting of the ship, are likely to shock and disturb children.
12/04/2021 - R13: Violence, cruelty, offensive language Read more about Ascendant
What's it about? Ascendant is an Australian thriller. It follows a young woman called Arya who wakes up bound and trapped in the high-speed elevator of a high-rise building that is still under construction. The lift is controlled by a man who tortures her by making the elevator go up and down. Video screens in the lift show him simultaneously torturing her father, who works for the CIA. Arya’s special powers are slowly revealed. Flashbacks show that these powers arise from her special connections with nature as a child.
What to expect? The slow-moving feature presents as a horror thriller with a fanciful scenario. It primarily deals with cruelty and violence, as well as some highly offensive language. While inherently cruel, the torture of Arya's father is obscured. Only an impression is created of the grizzly harm and cruelty presumably being inflicted - video interference stops the viewer from seeing any detail. Nonetheless the sustained focus on Arya's distress, and the implication of her increasingly bloodied father’s torture, remains likely to shock and disturb children.
11/02/2021 - R16: Sex scenes and nudity Read more about Ammonite
What is it? Ammonite is a romantic drama film. Set in the 1840s, the film is loosely inspired by the life of Mary Anning, a pioneering self-taught palaeontologist. Mary works alone on the wild and brutal Southern English coastline of Lyme Regis. With the days of her famed discoveries behind her, she now hunts for common fossils to sell to rich tourists. When one such tourist, Roderick Murchison, arrives in Lyme on the first leg of a European tour, he entrusts Mary with the care of his depressed wife, Charlotte. Despite the chasm between their social spheres and personalities, Mary and Charlotte begin a passionate and all-consuming love affair.
What to expect? Ammonite is a bleak and slow-moving film about forbidden love. The film has merit for its period aesthetics and stellar performances by a female-centric cast. The film requires age restriction due to the sex scenes: children and younger teens are likely to find the sex scenes and nudity shocking and confronting. These scenes are intentionally titillating, and society perceives that there is potential for harm in exposing children and young teens to adult sexual behaviour before they are developmentally ready for it.
26/11/2020 - Unrestricted M: Offensive language and suicide references Read more about Mank
What is it? Mank is a biopic detailing the difficult events and history surrounding writing the script for Citizen Kane in 1945. Alcoholic, washed up and with a broken leg, Herman Mankiewicz, a.k.a Mank, is charged by Orson Welles to write a film that is a thinly veiled criticism of the media mogul, William Randoph Hearst – a task that is politically dangerous, given Hearst money and power. Welles organises for Mank to be nursed and supervised to finish the script without alcohol. The film weaves between present and past, as Mank reminisces about his history with Hearst and Hearst’s wife, Marion Davies, in order to construct his masterpiece.
What to expect? Mank is an entertaining, dialogue-driven biopic about writing and redemption. Filmed in black and white, the cinematography and structure of the film heavily references and pays homage to Citizen Kane. The film is likely to be of interest to fans of director, David Fincher, and people interested in cinema history. Despite dealing with suicide and the self-destructive behaviour of its protagonist, any restriction would be unreasonable. The suicide content is of low impact, especially given the historical context and the style of the film. The offensive language in the film is also unlikely to harm, given its infrequency and stylised nature. However, these elements do indicate that the film is targeted at a mature audience.
20/08/2020 - R13: Violence, sexual material and offensive language Read more about Lowdown Dirty Criminals
What is it? Lowdown Dirty Criminals is a New Zealand crime comedy film. It follows two young men in search of a better life. When Freddy loses his job, he and his best buddy Marvin naively conclude a life of crime may lead them to the wealth and standing they desire. But when they mess up their first job while working for the shady Mr Speights, a sequence of hilarious and violent events snowball out of control, and they eventually find themselves the targets of “The Upholsterer” and her henchmen.
What to expect? Lowdown Dirty Criminals is a light hearted comedy film. The film’s unrestricted availability is likely to be injurious to the public good predominantly due to its treatment of sex, crime and violence. The overt sexual material is clearly aimed at an older audience, who are expected to have some knowledge of sex, sexual behaviours and sexual relationships. The main characters cleverly evade law enforcement and the crimes they commit are depicted in a light-hearted manner- giving the film a certain level of moral ambiguity. Younger audiences are unlikely to put these elements into their filmic and generic contexts without being negatively affected. The violence is likely to be normalised by children as a way of retaliating against others, and could affect their ability to empathise with the real life suffering of others.