Melon Farmer.

Film Sony Pictures have announced they'll be releasing "clean" versions of their films as extras when people digitally buy the theatrical version. In other words, what you'd expect to find on a plane or on network television in the US (and as used to be the case in the UK until films stopped being shown in prime time outside of national holidays). Here's the Yahoo Movies version of the story.

My first reaction was "What?".

But my next was surprisingly sanguine.

Outside of the use of the word "clean" which somehow implies that the theatrical version is "dirty" in some way, it's not as though that version is being suppressed.

I'm not a parent, but I imagine that there will be films that we'd be happy to show our kids were it not for some elements which we don't think they're quite ready for.  The BBFC website offers guidance on the content of some films for this reason.

If the cuts are done sensitively and keep the overall story intact (unlike the murder perpetrated by Channel 4 on the likes of Angel or Alias back in the day) well then fine.

Quite often alternative lines are shot as part of the schedule anyway.  There's a great extra on the Cornetto trilogy dvds (Sean of the Dead etc) which takes the piss out of this and it does mean that you don't have to endure poor dubbing of the melon farmer variety.

That said, some of the items on the list seem ludicrous.  How the hell do you clean up Easy A, Captain Philips or Elysium?  I'm actually intrigued enough to want to watch some of these versions just to see what's cut out / massaged in order to remove the "objectionable" content.

The Sony video above has a sense of what's been done and sure enough, it's mostly new dialogue and alternative shots. True enough in removing the swearing some of the comedy is bled out, but given the titles selected, you could argue that if the only source of comedy is the swearing, they need to try harder.

So, yes, strangely, fair enough.

 Plus kids will then have the surprise of seeing what was cut out when they're older, much as I did when I saw the non-tv version of When Harry Met Sally back in the day.  I never did quite understand the argument scene outside the brownstone until I bought a copy on VHS and realised the BBC had cut out several fucks.

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