Australian Council on Children and the Media

Chicken Little

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Short takes

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

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Chicken Little
  • a review of Chicken Little completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 January 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to its violence and scary scenes, this movie is not recommended for children under the age of eight.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance is recommended for children between the ages of eight and thirteen.
Children over the age of 13 Children over the age of thirteen should be able 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: Chicken Little
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, some scary scenes
Length 81 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When Chicken Little (Zach Braff) raises an emergency call that the sky is falling, panic erupts all over town. When questioned, what Chicken Little believed was a piece of the sky can’t be found. He is labelled as “crazy”, ostracised by the community and, to a certain extent, his own family. Eventually he wins back the approval of society, and his father (Gary Marshall), but just when life is looking sweet … a piece of the sky falls on him again.

The piece of sky turns out to be a piece of an alien spaceship, and when he and his friends Abby (Joan Cusack), Runt (Steve Zahn) and Fish (Dan Molina) investigate, Fish accidentally winds up back on board the spaceship. When his friends attempt to rescue him, they become the prey of two enraged aliens who believe the group have abducted their child. When their attempts at hunting down Chicken Little and his friends fail, an all out alien invasion of planet earth is launched and it is up to an unlikely hero to save the day.

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.

None of concern.

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.

The film contains frequent use of violence. Being a cartoon, both the violence and the (occasional) consequences are often very unrealistic. Violent scenes include:

  • In the first scene there are a series of car crashes and near miss accidents, such as a fire engine taking off the roof of a car while a woman is driving, and a large metal ball careening out of control through town where it nearly crushes a pram full of baby bunny rabbits. They escape in the nick of time.
  • A bag of acorns is thrown out of a bus window at Chicken Little. They hit him and knock him down while the children on the bus laugh at him.
  • Runt is targeted during a game of dodge ball. Though he is scared and trying to avoid getting hit, everyone violently aims for him.
  • A bully grabs Chicken Little by the top of his head and throws him against a window.
  • Abby, Runt, Fish and Chicken Little are pursued through the woods and cornfield by enraged aliens who are trying to kill them with blades from the ends of their tentacles.
  • A number of objects and people are vaporised as an alien invasion attacks the earthlings while attempting to find a missing alien baby.
  • Chicken Little and his father are both blasted with vaporising rays and disappear into an alien limbo.
  • Chicken Little and his father have guns and a wide variety of weapons held on them while they are interrogated by aliens and threatened with death.

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 scary scenes in this movie, including the following:

  • On the alien spaceship, there are a number of strange looking organs suspended in jars and liquids. The music is suspenseful and the atmosphere is creepy.
  • Runt is shown to be terrified and begins to hyperventilate on more than one occasion.
  • the alien parents chase the four friends and their tentacles turn into choppers and blades.
  • the terrified group is pursued out into the town where they hide in a cornfield. The terror and suspense is very strong and could distress many young children, who could be disturbed to see Chicken Little and his friends hunted in such a brutal fashion.
  • A cute little baby alien is separated from its parents and is inadvertently left behind on earth. It whimpers pathetically as it watches its parents fly away.

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 be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

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 bracket 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 children in this age group will be frightened by any scenes in this film.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

There is one sexual reference in the movie, when Abbey and Runt sing the karaoke version of “If you want to be my lover…”

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern.

Use of substances

None of concern.

Coarse language

While the film contains no coarse language, there is a fair amount of name-calling, for example Abbey is repeatedly referred to as ‘Ugly’ and Chicken Little as ‘Loser’.

In a nutshell

The movie’s main message is to believe in yourself and to hold onto the truth no matter how crazy or unrealistic it may seem. The movie could provide parents with the opportunity to discuss the importance of communication and trust in relationships, and the possible consequences when one or both are lacking.

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