Australian Council on Children and the Media

Arthur and the Invisibles

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Violence, Scary Scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Arthur and the Invisibles
  • a review of Arthur and the Invisibles completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 January 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended for children under the age of eight due to the nature and frequency of the violent scenes
Children aged 8-13 Could see this film with parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Children over the age of thirteen could see this film 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: Arthur and the Invisibles
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence, Mild themes
Length 99 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After a year at boarding school 10 year old Arthur (Freddie Highmore) is spending the summer with his grandmother (Mia Farrow) while his parents are busy working in the city. While disappointed that his parents haven’t taken a greater interest in him, Arthur loves hearing stories about his grandfather’s adventures in Africa. His grandfather (Ron Crawford) mysteriously disappeared four years earlier and Arthur enjoys poring over his journals and attempting to recreate his inventions.

Arthur is particularly fascinated by the story of the Minimoys, a civilization of people so tiny that they are considered invisible. The Minimoys had given Arthur’s grandfather an extremely valuable ruby which he was rumoured to have buried somewhere in the backyard.

With a money-hungry developer hounding his grandmother over her property, Arthur sets off to find the ruby. In the process he is shrunk down to microscopic size when he himself is transformed into a Minimoy. At the entrance to their Kingdom Arthur meets Betameche (Jimmy Fallon) and his older sister Princess Selenia (Madonna), both of whom will accompany him on his quest to find the ruby and save his grandfather, whom Arthur learns is being held prisoner by the evil wizard Maltazard (David Bowie).

The trio set out and face one obstacle after another but just when it seems that all hope is lost, Arthur comes up with a plan that may save them all.

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.

Missing relatives; Separation from a parent

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:

  • A friend of the Minimoys is found badly beaten just outside the gate to their city
  • Arthur uses a sword to fight a band of mosquito-riding warriors.
  • During the fight, Arthur is repeatedly blasted off his mosquito mount and hangs precariously while he tries not to get blasted to the ground.
  • Arthur tries to avoid getting beaten by a spiked club.
  • Selenia fights a group of warriors: punching, kicking and flipping.
  • While “unmasking” a couple of warriors it appears that their faces are slashed off.
  • Selenia roughly shoves Arthur and Betameche out of a flower and they both plummet to the ground.
  • There is a bar fight pitting Arthur, Selenia and Betameche against Maltazard’s henchmen.
  • Selenia tries to fight off Maltazard.
  • Maltazard tries to annihilate the Minimoy’s Kingdom by flooding the city and drowning all the inhabitants. He proclaims that the Minimoy’s will “die in agony with his name on their lips”.
  • Arthur bounces a ball into Maltazard’s cavern and it destroys the pipe system and crushes many of the wizard’s followers.

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 five, including the following:

  • The scene where Arthur gets shrunk to Minimoy size and transformed into a troll-like figure may scare very young viewers. Arthur himself is terrified during the process and later says, “I thought I was going to die.”
  • The appearance of some of Maltazard’s henchmen could also frighten very young children.
  • Some of Maltazard’s henchmen stage a trap to enter the Minimoy Kingdom and kidnap Princess Selenia.
  • Arthur, his grandfather, Selenia and Betameche must run for their lives to escape the raging flood that Maltazard has unleased on the Minimoys. At one point his grandfather is unable to go on and begs to be left behind. Certain death is only moments away when they find a toy car and jump inside only to race down tunnel after tunnel with the water right behind. The car stops before they reach the entrance to the kingdom and they must, once again, run for their lives. The scene is suspenseful and the music dramatic and some young children could be disturbed by its intensity.
  • Arthur’s grandmother believes that he has run away. She knows nothing of his plan and is completely distraught at his absence.

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 scared or 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.

Some children between the ages of eight to thirteen could be concerned by some of the above mentioned scenes.

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.

It is unlikely that anything in this film would frighten children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

While there is no sexual activity in this film, Princess Selenia wears tight fitting pants and a tight-cropped shirt that shows a bit of cleavage and exposes her midriff.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Arthur’s grandmother takes ‘sleeping drops’ to sleep. One night Arthur accidentally knocks over her bottle and extra drops spill into her cup. She instantly passes out on the bed.
  • At the bar of an underground club Arthur, Selenia and Betameche drink a smoking green concoction.

Coarse language

Mild name-calling.

In a nutshell

Arthur and the Invisibles is an animated adventure featuring excellent graphics and special effects. While many younger children may want to see the film, it is definitely best suited to older children and adults.

The main messages from this movie are to have hope for the future, to have faith in your dreams and to believe in the unbelievable.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Creativity
  • Courage
  • Determination
  • Hopefulness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of being open and honest and telling people where you are going and what you are doing so that others don’t worry about you in your absence.

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