This week, the news broke that the Harry Potter spin-off titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be given a PG-13 rating for "Fantasy action violence." There hasn't been many details, but you can imagine that this means that there will be a fair amount of action. While this doesn't quite come as a surprise as most of the Harry Potter movies had a similar ratings following the first three films, the reason why it was given a more mature rating is pretty cool: as the story became more mature and grew with it's audience, so too did the rating.
It just makes me think of the fact that we all grew up watching the Harry Potter movies and the series really did grow up with us. As we grew up, we became more interested in slightly darker characters and stories than our younger selves. (C'mon, who didn't kinda like Draco Malfoy by the end?)
Also with Power Rangers, another '90s/early 2000s favorite getting a reboot. Let's look at how these franchises, much like superheroes, are growing up with their audiences and the times.
'I Think There's Much More To You Than Meets The Eye'
Like I said, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be given a PG-13 rating for "Fantasy action violence." Hopefully this means plenty of wizard-duels and perhaps action scenes including the titular beasts, and said scenes will perhaps be more more violent, too.
Taking place in 1926, in addition to the escaped beasts, the film's story will follow a war between magic and non-magic folk. The official synopsis reads in part:
Due to the threatening presence of the fanatical New Salem Philanthropic Society, an extremist organization dedicated to the eradication of wizard-kind, battles to correct the mistake, and the horrors of the resultant increase in violence, fear, and tension felt between magical and non-magical peoples.
Other-worldly creatures aren't exactly new to the Harry Potter universe, but never have they been the actual focus. Big CGI monsters seem to one of the "in-things" in Hollywood right now, and for a universe as massive as this, they're definitely needed. It was also announced that there will be a number of new characters created for the film, the first of which is a "reptilian-like creature."
It's worth noting that as I mentioned before, Harry Potter grew up with its audience throughout its ten years, and now, J.K. Rowling and the filmmakers know that the once dorky kids who ran around with table cloths draped over them and thinking nobody could see them are adults now. (Well, I don't judge). So, the film is following suit with a film about adults, rather than children, in what will be the first of a planned trilogy.
'It's Morphin' Time!'
Then there's the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers reboot, simply titled Power Rangers. Again looking to take into consideration that the kids who grew up with the original series during the mid-late '90s, will be in their twenties now. From what we've seen and heard so far (and details are still relatively slim) this reboot will present a darker and more mature take on the series, with director Dean Israelite comparing the tone of the film as fun and funny but also grounded and edgy, similar to his previous film, Project Almanac.
"You can’t win everyone over, but we are trying to appeal to a more mature audience and gain new fans.”
While nostalgia alone will most likely be enough to get us to cinemas, it'll be nice to have something a little more on our level. (But not as much as the Bootleg fan film POWER/RANGERS, as some of us were maybe hoping for). Even past the audience, the look and feel of the Super Sentai-based series just simply wouldn't work in today's cinema as it once could.
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) — who will be playing our favorite floating head, Zordon — even compared it to the difference between the campy Batman television series of the '60s starring Adam West as the caped crusader, to the current, darker take on the character:
"This is as different a re-imagining as the ‘Batman’ television series as it became the ‘Batman’ movie series. You can’t compare those two, and nor can you compare this movie version of the ‘Power Rangers’ to that television series. It’s unrecognizable for the most part. There are tenets of the folklore that you hold onto for sure, but the inspiration is different, and the sensibility of it, and the approach to the filmmaking is completely different."
The new take on the franchise appears very evident in the new look of the characters, with the Rangers resembling the more popular, iron and sleeky look of superheroes today such as Iron Man and RoboCop and less tight-fitting spandex. Even Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa looks more intimidating than the character ever was. This version of Rita barely resembles the original, looking more like she should be standing before Shao Kahn as he shouts "Finish Him!"
Speaking of Iron Man, one of the writers on Power Rangers is Ashley Edward Miller, who worked on movies like Thor (2011) and X-Men: First Class (2011). Marvel's cinematic universe has a charm allowing it to appeal to all age groups, so it'll be nice to have some Marvel mojo on this, too.
'Don't Panic. There's Absolutely Nothing To Worry About'
At the end of the day, whether these films are more mature than their predecessors or not, let's be honest, we would go to see them anyway. However, it is nice to see the filmmakers taking their original audience into consideration rather than focusing solely on the already-established demographics.
Check out the trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them below:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to release on November 18th of this year and Power Rangers is scheduled for March 24th, 2017.