Australian Council on Children and the Media

Alice through the looking glass

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Short takes

Not recommended under 10; parental guidance recommended 10 to 13 (Violence; scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Alice through the looking glass
  • a review of Alice through the looking glass completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 31 May 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 10 to 13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children 13 and over OK for this group

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: Alice through the looking glass
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, some scenes may scare young children
Length 113 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Alice through the looking glass is the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now older and has spent her last few years travelling the world on a ship. When Alice returns home she discovers that her mother (Lindsay Duncan) is in a dispute with Hamish Ascot (Leo Bill) and faces a difficult decision. To escape the real world Alice climbs through a mirror and finds herself, once again, in Wonderland (or “Underland”). Alice learns that her beloved friend Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is ill and she must go on an adventure through time if she wants to save him.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death; serious illness; family breakdown

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 some violence in this movie including:

  • Ships are shown firing cannons at each other. No one is killed but men are thrown about by the force of the canons.
  • There are some scenes showing the Jabberwocky breathing fire, killing villagers and destroying their homes. This is quite scary but it is only shown briefly.
  • The Queen of Hearts frequently talks about chopping people’s heads off
  • The Queen of Hearts slaps Time in the face
  • When Alice returns to the ‘real world’ she wakes up in a mental institution. A scary looking doctor tries to inject her with a needle but Alice instead injects him and manages to escape.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • The opening scenes show Alice on a ship that is about to crash into rocks due to an intense storm. Alice climbs up a mast and falls into the water.
  • Alice climbs through a mirror to escape some men who are trying to capture her. She falls from the sky, screaming, and lands in a tree.
  • Alice shrinks and is confronted by giant chess pieces on horses who charge at her. While running away, Alice accidently knocks over Humpty Dumpty and he falls and is broken into pieces.
  • The Mad Hatter is sick and dying. He is shown looking grey and dishevelled and towards the end of the film he can barely move. The other characters are distraught about the Mad Hatter’s illness. This may be scary and confronting for children who are used to seeing him lively and happy.
  • Alice must climb over a deep canyon to reach a scary castle. She almost falls several times.
  • In the castle there is a room of clocks, where each clock symbolises someone who has died. When a clock stops, a man clutches his chest and collapses.
  • The clock robots start off small and sweet but can join together to make a large robot that is rather scary
  • The young Queen of Hearts is running and falls, hitting her head badly. Because of the fall her head swells up.
  • When Alice steals the Chronosphere from Time, the world turns dark and Time says that if she doesn’t return it everyone will perish.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Alice and Alice’s mother both miss her father, and are sad that he is gone.
  • Towards the end of the movie, everything is freezing and rusting over. Alice’s friends say goodbye to each other because they believe that they are about to die. They rust over but in the end Alice saves everyone.  

 

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.

Some of the above-mentioned scenes and themes may also disturb children in this age group

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the film, but associated merchandise being marketed to children

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The Queen of Hearts and Time flirt with each other and almost kiss.

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • stupid
  • imbecile
  • idiot
  • bloody

In a nutshell

Alice through the looking glass is the sequel to Tim Burton’s movie Alice in Wonderland, based on the books by Lewis Carroll. The movie is an exciting magical adventure with a strong female role model. Fans of the first movie are likely to enjoy returning to the magical and enchanting world of Alice. Due to the violent and scary scenes the film is not suitable for children under the age of 10 and parental guidance is recommended for children in the 10 to 13 age group.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Every day is a gift
  • The only things worth doing are those we do for others
  • Believe in impossible things

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • bravery
  • kindness
  • honesty
  • determination

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the real life outcomes of stealing and lying.

 

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