Australian Council on Children and the Media

Agent Cody Banks

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Short takes

Not recommended undr 8, PG to 13 (Viol.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Agent Cody Banks
  • a review of Agent Cody Banks completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 October 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to the level of violence in this movie, it is not recommended for children under 8.
Children aged 8-13 Children 8 to 13 would need parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Children over 13 would be okay to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Agent Cody Banks
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Medium level violence
Length 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Cody Banks appears to be an average fifteen year old who loves skateboarding and gets tongue tied when talking to girls. Most of his student peers think he’s a bit of a sissy but there is something different about Cody Banks. While attending summer camps as a child he was secretly recruited by the CIA to become a teenage agent. He gets the call to duty when America’s security is threatened by a top scientist, Dr. Connors, who has created ‘nanobots’, microscopic robots that can be programmed to destroy matter. His intention is that they would be used for good purposes such as completely breaking up oil spills. However the US government fear that they could be used to destroy all manner of communications and defence systems. Therefore they decide to use Cody to get close to Dr. Connors’ daughter Natalie and uncover the secret technology.

Cody is transferred to an elite private school where he has trouble fitting in and trying to impress Natalie. As luck would have it however, he is in the right place at the right time to save Natalie’s fall from a ladder, for which she is very grateful and the two strike up a friendship. Cody is invited to Natalie’s birthday party where he discovers that the government’s fears have some foundation. Molay and Brinkman are the bad guys who are trying to make Connors use his nanobots against the US government. Cody discovers the laboratory and overhears their plans, however he is caught trying to leave and the chase is on. Meanwhile Molay and Brinkman decide to kidnap Natalie and hold her as an inducement to make Connors co-operate. The CIA takes Cody off the case but when he can’t get anyone from the agency to help rescue Natalie, he decides to go himself with dramatic results.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of violence in this movie which is glamorised, successful and has few real life consequences including the following scenes:

  • Ronica Miles, the female CIA agent, pulls a towel off a boy in the locker rooms and whips two other boys with the towel edge.
  • Cody grabs his younger brother around the throat and throws him out of his bedroom.
  • In Cody’s imagination he karate kicks and punches a boy to impress Natalie.
  • Ronica teaches Cody to kick box and is quite violent.
  • A group of boys pick up Cody and he attacks them all, kicking and punching them.
  • Cody punches one of the bad men in the stomach.
  • Cody fights off men in restaurant kitchen by hitting them very violently with saucepans.
  • Cody gets knocked out and is left bruised and bloodied.
  • Cody is chased on the mountain ski slopes by two men on motorbikes. He kicks one of them off and sets fire to his pants with flames from his jet-powered ski board. The other bike rider crashes into a tree and his bike explodes in flames killing the driver.
  • One of the bad men threatens to release the nanobots onto Natalie’s forehead.
  • Ronica comes to Cody’s aid in the mountain hideaway and sets off explosives all over the building while there is much fighting, kicking, punching, etc.
  • Natalie puts an ice cube containing nanobots into Brinkworth’s mouth. His mouth swells and he is in much pain. He falls to the ground groaning and shaking; his face changes grotesquely.
  • Molay suddenly appears behind Cody and is about to throw him off the cliff edge when the building explodes.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There is a lot of material in this movie that would scare children in this age group. In addition to the violent scenes above the following scenes would also scare young children:

  • A toddler is left in a car while his mum posts letters and he lets the handbrake off. The car careers backwards through the traffic and is about to crash into a train when Cody Banks manages to stop the car in time. By then the runaway car has already caused a pile up of cars.
  • The nanobots eat through Cody’s shoes.
  • Molay and Brinkworth are evil looking men, particularly Molay who has glaring eyes and a large scar around his neck.
  • While skiing down the mountain slope, Cody falls off the edge of a cliff twice, the second time landing upside down in a tree.
  • Cody and Natalie escape on a motorbike crashing it through a glass door.
  • The ice containing the nanobots melts and they escape destroying everything in their path.
  • When Molay appears suddenly behind Cody he looks really scary.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group could still find the movie quite scary as the violence is quite realistic and Cody is often in much danger.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group should be able to realise that the movie is only fantasy.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

There are a few sexual references in this movie including a scene where Cody is given x-ray glasses and the first thing he does is look at Ronica Miles with them. He also looks at the waitresses in a restaurant and they are shown in their underwear.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity but Ronica Miles appears in a revealing outfit with much cleavage.

Use of substances

There is no use of substances however the children at the birthday party are gambling on a roulette wheel.

Coarse language

There is no coarse language.

In a nutshell

The take-home message would be that good wins over evil but one would have to question the value of ‘good’ as the goodies use as many bad techniques as the baddies.

There are no real values that parents may wish to encourage.
Values parents may wish to discourage include:

  • violence being okay if it meets objectives
  • driving recklessly to impress a girl
  • coercion and intimidation
  • harassment by student peers
  • using a teenager to perform an adult’s role
  • using people to one’s own advantage
  • Lying and deceit.

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