Australian Council on Children and the Media

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • a review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 December 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children 8 -12 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes
Children 13 and over OK for this age 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: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild threatening scenes
Length 115 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The reclusive Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp), inventor of the world’s best selling chocolates and candies, has decided to open up his factory after more than fifteen years. He has hidden five golden tickets under the wrappers of ordinary chocolate bars and has issued a decree that whoever finds a golden ticket will win a tour of his factory, a life-time supply of chocolate and possibly a surprise beyond their wildest dreams.

The first ticket is partially eaten by Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz), the second is taken by spoiled-little-rich-girl Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), the third by champion-gum-chewer Violet Beauregarde (Annasophia Robb), the fourth by television addict Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry), while the fifth golden ticket remains elusive up until the day before the tour.

Charlie (Freddie Highmore) lives with his impoverished family in a dilapidated shack not far from the Wonka factory and has always dreamed of meeting Mr. Wonka. However there appears to be little chance of that until Charlie finds some money, buys a bar of chocolate and chances on the last remaining ticket. With Grandpa Joe (David Kelly) at his side Charlie joins the small group preparing for the tour of a lifetime.

As the group wends its way through the factory, greed, heedlessness, desire and vanity take control of the children causing them to reveal their true natures. The only one unaffected is Charlie, whose virtuous conduct wins him a prize beyond anything he could ever have imagined.

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.

Greed; vanity; separation from parents

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 fair amount of violence contained in this film, including:

  • Mike is sitting in his lounge room shooting creatures as part of some game while shouting at the top of his voice “Die! Die! Die!”
  • Violet karate chops a number of people.
  • A couple of Oompa Loompas are seen whipping a cow.
  • Willy Wonka is chased through the jungles of Oompa Land by an enormous flying insect, which he then attacks and mutilates with his machete.
  • Veruca is attacked by squirrels and forced down a garbage chute.
  • Mike shoots huge gumballs out of a large machine gun at various targets.
  • Mike violently shoves two Oompa Loompas aside.
  • Mike is slapped and dropped and nearly smashed when he sends himself into the TV.

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 are a number of scenes that would frighten younger viewers, including:

  • Life-sized singing dolls welcome the group to Wonka’s factory and towards the end of the song burst into flame, with wax and melted plastic running down their faces and distorting their features. Later these same dolls are seen in a burns unit.
  • The group is taken on a boat trip through various parts of the factory and wind up on a raging river, going over rapids and through darkened tunnels while Wonka has flashbacks to his childhood. There is loud, dramatic music playing in the background. Many younger viewers may be worried by the intensity of the scene.
  • As a child, Willy Wonka runs away from home and when he returns a few hours later his father and their entire house have disappeared, leaving him alone in the world.
  • Most of the children are, at one stage, separated from their parents and appear to be in life-threatening situations: Augustus is nearly drowned in a chocolate river and turned into fudge, Violet is turned into a gigantic blueberry and has to be juiced before she explodes, Veruca is sent down the garbage chute straight into the incinerator. In each scene the parents are visibly upset and no one is sure if the children will be alright again or not.
  • Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe are in the glass elevator about to blast through a glass roof and be killed, or so Grandpa Joe believes. There is a tense build-up in this scene before they break through the glass. While Wonka appears oblivious, Charlie is clearly worried. Many children may be frightened by the fear that Charlie and his Grandpa share.

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 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 disturbed 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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nestlé’s ‘Wonka Bars’ are mass promoted in this film and are being marketed heavily in association with this movie. Parents should be aware that the company is using marketing strategies from the film to better sell their products and that the entire film encourages the consumption of chocolates, candy, chewing gum, ice-cream and a mass of other sweets.

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

While there is no coarse language in the film, there is a fair amount of name-calling. The various children are at different stages referred to as nincompoops, brats, jerks and idiots. Mike repeatedly refers to Wonka as an idiot.

In a nutshell

There are many messages hidden in this film, firstly that you should be true to your heart and follow your dream, wherever it may lead, secondly that good things come to those most deserving and finally that there is no underestimating the importance of family.

With a host of schools, media and various corporations encouraging healthy eating, attitudes and lifestyles, parents may wish to discuss the importance of making healthy eating choices with their children.

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