ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)



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Entertainment Media Analysis Report

Wing Commander (1999), PG-13
CAP Score: 73, CAP ID: 0.48

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President




Executive Summary / Commentary
Findings / Scoring

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"Wing Commander" (PG-13) -- in the shadows of "Lost in Space" and other sci-fi movies of late comes another relatively good sci-fi flick. The movie did have some neat graphics and some plot requiring a little thought to follow. And a great cast held back by a dry script. But other than that, a quite nondescript and forgettable movie -- one you might be glad you saw but would not go to the trouble to see it again.

In this computer game gone to the screen, a Lieutenant with special gifts to navigate the space-time continuum saved not only the earth but the entire universe! (Getting a little grandiose now, are we?) There's not much to say about "Wing Commander" other than it was.......a sci-fi flick with new age ethics. It was a good US Navy in deep space show. All the sewer pipe sailors should recognize the command structure, however adapted, in the movie. They even used depth charges on asteroids and torpedoes shot from "tubes." "Port!" "Starboard!"

There were somewhat graphic battle deaths, some sex talk and innuendo, some booze and drinking, and a few other issues of unacceptable programming such as the usual plethora of foul language. One of the male pilots was seen atop a female pilot with his face on one of her breasts. Though both were fully clothed I suppose the comments and implications were strong enough to leave nothing to the imagination, which I suppose was the reason for the PG-13 rating.

I cannot tell you why in particular this movie was given a PG-13 rating. The CAP final score was well within one standard deviation of the middle of the CAP scoring range for PG movies of 1995/1996. But as with any movie I analyze, it is possible I missed some programming that was particularly inappropriate. This does not seem likely, but it is possible. Roger Ebert claims "Wing Commander" earned a PG-13 rating "for sexual references and sci-fi action / violence." I have never heard of a movie or TV show to receive any restictive rating because of "sci-fi violence." The movie indeed had these issues, but some TV commercials and almost ALL half-hour sitcoms have more invasive content than "Wing Commander." I am so confused!? At the risk of sounding a braggart, we need to replace the MPAA system the CAP analysis model -- it is objective and incredibly linear.

FINDINGS / SCORING: Wing Commander (1999) CAP Thermometers

NOTE: Multiple occurrence of each item described below may be present in the movie.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • sharp-toothed demon image
  • battle anxiety, deaths, and injuries with blood
  • threat with a firearm to the head

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 22 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • racial/ethnic hatred

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • sexual talk, references and innuendo
  • open-mouth kissing
  • a man atop a woman, both clothed, but his face on her breast

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze and drinking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 2 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
    None noted

    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Presentation of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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