Consistently rated PG across Canada, except for Quebec which does not have a PG rating. Manitoba and the Martimes were concerned about language and violence, while Ontario and BC were only worried about violence, and Alberta was only worried about language. Elsewhere there is agreement that this is not a film for young children, with Great Britain setting a restriction on children under 12.
I discussed the film with a couple of children in their early teens, who like it, and I asked them if they thought it was a violent film. They said there is fighting, but it’s not really violent as there is no blood when people are killed. True enough. But large numbers of people are killed, from a captured emissary to hundreds of henchmen to thousands of soldiers. It seems the galaxy is a heavily populated but lawless place, and what is supposedly the most peaceful planet is a police state with a brutal and corrupt prison.
In this wild west universe, feuds between planets simmer for generations, and a thirst for personal vengeance drives both the main plot and assorted sub-plots. There’s no authority, just not-as-bad-as-everyone-else guys, bad guys, worse guys, really bad guys, and truly evil guys, all of whom accept and use rule by force. Sure, there are a few funny lines, but the eponymous band of misfits (“a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac”) are equally comfortable cracking one liners and mowing down the enemy. They lost my sympathies when someone surrendered (played for laughs), and he got the same brutal treatment as everyone else. None of which distinguishes this film from many others where the hero is moral only in relation to a corrupt society, and the solution to any problem is to kill large numbers of people.
Although the killing may be bloodless, the violence is pervasive. This is yet another film promoting the idea that deceit and murder are the only tools we can rely on to survive our lawless society. It’s a well made, well told, cheerfully violent film, and I’m not sure a steady diet of this is good for anyone, adult or child.