Australian Council on Children and the Media

Elephant Tales

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Short takes

Parental guidance recommended under 8 and for sensitive children 8- 13 (Scenes of animal distress).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Elephant Tales
  • a review of Elephant Tales completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 April 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Parental guidance recommended due to scenes of animal distress
Children aged 5 -13 Some parental guidance might be needed for sensitive children.
Children over the age of 13 OK 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: Elephant Tales
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Zef and  his younger elephant brother Tutu find themselves orphaned when poachers kill their family. Zef tells Tutu that their mother was taken up in a rainbow and Tutu is determined to find her. Zef finds it increasingly more difficult to tell Tutu the truth but along the way they meet other orphaned animals: Chump the Chimp, Stretch the Giraffe and Cub the lion cub who all join them in their search.
They encounter many dangers along the way such as bad storms, scary creatures and even scarier men whom they call ‘the badness’. Tutu gets lost at one stage and Zef gets caught in an animal trap Chump, however, is very resourceful and manages to free Zef, along with many other trapped animals. Unfortunately in the process, Chump knocks over some petrol cans which set fire to the men’s camp but the animals all manage to escape unhurt. Eventually Zef, Tutu and their friends all reach an animal sanctuary where they are welcomed and well looked after.

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.

Animal distress, hunting

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:

  • Poachers shoot at the elephant herd but all that is shown is gunfire in the night sky.
  • Zef is caught in an animal trap
  • The animals all chase the men who appear scared of them, but they manage to fight back and lasso Zef. They then capture all the animals and tie them up.

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 a number of scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Zef and Tutu are left orphaned which greatly upsets Tutu in particular, who keeps crying for his mother.
  • A large vulture scares the young elephants.
  • Tutu decides to go off on his own to find his mother and gets lost. It takes sometime before he finds Zef again and he is very scared on his own.
  • When the men capture Zef, they take him away in a cage and he cries real tears – it’s very sad.
  • When Chump accidentally sets the camp on fire, the animals all run away except the lion cub who is still trapped in a cage and obviously very distressed. Chump goes back for him and manages to free him.
  • Cub gets very tired along the journey and appears to be too weak to carry on.
  • Zef talks about the ‘badness’ and how it destroyed all their families and left children on their own.
  • Zef and Tutu are looking around the campsite and find a trunk full of elephant tusks. Tutu thinks he can smell his mother.

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 could also be distressed by some of 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.

More sensitive children in this age group could also be distressed 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.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be distressed by anything in this movie.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Use of substances

None

Coarse language

None

In a nutshell

Elephant Tales is a. delightful movie that would appeal to people of all ages. The scenery and photography is beautiful and the animals are wonderful. However it does address the issue of animal hunting and can be distressing.

The main message from this movie is that people should stop hunting and killing animals for monetary purposes.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Care and appreciation of the environment
  • Conservation and protection of wildlife
  • Courage and bravery
  • Loyalty

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss what will happen if people continue to hunt and kill wild animals and the fact that not all people are bad and that only some people do bad things to animals.

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