Australian Council on Children and the Media

Barnyard: The Original Party Animal

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Viol. Theme.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Barnyard: The Original Party Animal
  • a review of Barnyard: The Original Party Animal completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 September 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence.
Children aged 5-8 Not recommended due to its themes of animals in peril, and the loss of a father.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended. Most children in this age group will enjoy this movie.
Children over the age of 13 Though this movie is really aimed at younger children, older children will probably also enjoy it.

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: Barnyard: The Original Party Animal
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence, Mild themes
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Barnyard: The Original Party Animal is set in a barnyard where the animals pretend to be dumb animals when humans are around but once the humans are gone they stand up, chat, throw parties and generally have fun. The group is led by a bull called Ben (voiced by Sam Elliott). Ben is a very responsible leader. He has meetings, he organises the animals, makes sure everyone is properly protected and also makes sure that no humans know they can do what they do.

Ben has a son called Otis (Kevin James) who is the exact opposite. Otis spends his time, partying, playing and teasing humans. He insists that he isn’t like his dad, he doesn’t want any responsibility, he simply wants to party. Ben tries to lecture him but in the end gives up and shoulders the responsibility by himself.

One of the barnyard rules is ‘stay within the fence perimeter’. It is coyote season and many of the animals need protecting. One night, Ben is on guard and Otis is supposed to come and help him on his shift. Otis is singing at the latest Barnyard party and persuades his dad that he isn’t needed. While the party is happening, the coyotes sneak in and try to take some of the hens. Ben gets there quickly to protect them; however the coyotes outnumber Ben and although he saves the hens he is fatally injured. Otis now needs to make a decision about whether he can lead the Barnyard or not.

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.

Animals in danger; death of 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:

  • The coyotes threaten to take away six hens and eat them. The hens are terrified.
  • Ben is attacked by the coyotes; he fights with them, is mauled and killed
  • Miles the mule repeatedly kicks the farmer in the head to stop him seeing the animals talking.
  • Some mean boys come and push a cow over. The cows retaliate by following the boy into his bedroom, pushing him out of bed, and telling him off using English. The boy is very scared.
  • Otis goes to the coyotes’ den to rescue the chickens who are being terrorised by a coyote. Otis is attacked by lots of menacing, tooth baring coyotes.
  • Otis and his friends retaliate, hitting the coyotes on the head with pieces of wood, punching them and throwing them out of the yard.

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.

Children under five are likely to be concerned by the violent scenes above, particularly the attacks on the hens, and the attack on Otis.

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 scenes, children aged five to eight could also be disturbed by the scenes of Ben’s death, his burial, and by Otis’ sadness.

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 in this age group could still be concerned by Ben’s death.

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 this film would scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

None of concern.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern.

Use of substances

The animals drink at the party but it appears to be milk rather than anything stronger.

Coarse language

None of concern.

In a nutshell

The movie’s main message is that it is good to have fun, but you also have to know when it is time to take responsibility. If you don’t take responsibility for your actions then you have to face the consequences.

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

  • teamwork
  • the importance of listening to others
  • taking responsibility for your actions
  • courage.

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