Mel Gibson's bloody epic APOCALYPTO has become the subject of a film rating legal battle in Italy after the country's cinema review board ruled the movie could be seen by kids. The surprise decision comes as most other countries in Europe are making a point of imposing tough ratings on the film for its brutal portrayal of ancient Mayan torture and human sacrifice. The gripping movie features graphic scenes of decapitation and mutilation. A top Italian consumer group, Codacons, announced yesterday (04JAN06) it plans to appeal the decision in court. Codacons president CARLO RIENZI says, "The film is probably very beautiful and well done. However, minors must be protected more than the economic interests of film production companies." Rienzi and his consumer group are seeking a court ruling banning kids younger than 14 from seeing the film when it is released in Italian cinemas today (05JAN07). But the Italian review board members plan on standing by the decision they made on 19 December (06). A spokeswoman for the censors says, "We are used to being subjected to images like the hanging of Saddam Hussein in all the newspapers. I don't see what the scandal is just because we see a bit of blood."