Skip to 2002, and the 12 rating became advisory shortly after the release of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. Now it really was "Still a PG, but we're serious this time". And then the bastard thing took over cinema as we know it.
Cinema film classifications are essential. We need them. But 12A doesn't work. It encourages studios to dumb-down adult action movies to fit the rating; allows incorrectly classified older films to scare the pants off 10 year olds, and makes 13-year-olds believe that when you shoot someone they don't bleed, scream or writhe in agony, but just fall athletically to the floor and lie still.
Films at 12A can contain a wide variety of issues, which in turn reflects what many child experts, parents and the media say about children at the pre-teen age; their interests, personalities, likes and dislikes; are extremely varied at this point on the way to adulthood.
We believe that public consultation is crucial to continued public trust in what we do. Our new Classification Guidelines reflect explicitly concerns raised by the public during the 2013 consultation and will, I believe, ensure that we continue to be in step with what the public wants and expects in order to make sensible and informed viewing decisions.