Australian Council on Children and the Media

Furry Vengeance

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, PG to 10 (Violence, Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Furry Vengeance
  • a review of Furry Vengeance completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 September 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 5-10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged over 10 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: Furry Vengeance
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild comedic violence
Length 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Furry Vengeance is a children’s comedy directed by Roger Kimble.  The film follows the story of Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser), who moves his family from Chicago to the remote Oregon town of Rocky Springs for a year, while he manages a property development project for Leyman Enterprises.  Although Sanders considers this position an opportunity to improve the family’s financial security, his wife, Tammy (Brooke Shields) and son, Tyler (Matt Prokop) feel isolated and unhappy in their new surroundings.  It also soon becomes apparent that Neil Leyman (Ken Jeong) is a tyrannical and unethical boss, with no qualms about destroying native environments for profit, despite the supposedly “green” nature of his company.

As Dan focuses on meeting Mr. Leyman’s escalating demands, Tammy and Tyler become increasingly dissatisfied with their lives in Rocky Springs.  Another emerging problem is that the local forest animals have begun acting together to fight the land development that will destroy their homes.  They devise countless ways to sabotage the project and make Dan’s life miserable.  As Dan becomes increasingly disturbed by the animals’ cunning and often malicious actions, his family and work crew begin wondering if he has developed psychological problems.  The situation escalates until Dan is forced to re-evaluate his current priorities and ultimate life goals.

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.

This film involves the themes of loneliness, isolation and relationship breakdown. In addition, although intended to be comedic, there are several references to war and recurring negative references to mental illness and dementia.

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 great deal of physical and verbal violence in this movie including:

  • The forest animals set off a rock fall to intentionally force an unidentified Leyman employee off the road and over a cliff, presumably to his death
  • Mr. Leyman continually yells at Dan and other employees
  • Leyman Enterprises’ security guard yells at and threatens Tammy;
  • The forest animals attack the security guard
  • One scene depicts a flashback to various historical eras, when men who had tried to clear sections of the forest for settlement purposes were attacked by forest animals
  • Tyler yells at his father
  • Dan is attacked by a racoon, which bites, kicks and urinates on him.  In retaliation, Dan hurls the racoon into the undergrowth
  • The forest animals purposely set off a rock fall causing Dan to have a car crash
  • A racoon unplugs the step-machine while Dan is using it, and this sends him flying over the handlebars and into the wall-mounted flat screen television
  • A squirrel purposely knocks an acorn into Dan’s muesli, so that he damages his teeth
  • Skunks sneak into Dan’s car and then spray him, causing him to crash the car
  • A large goose intentionally chases Dan into a bush that is full of bees, causing him to receive dozens of stings over his entire body
  • Dan has a nightmare that the forest animals are attacking him, knocking him down and throwing rocks and sticks at him
  • Hundreds of forest animals go on a rampage at a Forest Festival event, intentionally scaring and injuring the people there by shrieking and chasing, kicking, punching and throwing things.

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:

  • A large, upright grizzly bear suddenly appears from the forest and chases Dan; and
  • Dan dreams that he rolls over in bed to find Tammy has developed a frightening racoon face.

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 violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • A squirrel sitting on the road appears as though it will be run over
  • Dan tries to run over a racoon
  • Dan aims a crossbow at a racoon and threatens to shoot it
  • Dan yells at and chases a racoon
  • Mr. Leyman tries to shoot a racoon with a tranquilliser rifle.
  • A bird lures Dan onto the roof, where he slips and falls from the second storey.  Dan then remains unconscious in the paddling pool until morning

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.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared 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 disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

Some products are used in this movie, such as Apple computers. In addition, there is a brief musical reference to the Mission Impossible theme. There is also mention of Bruce Lee and Hannah Montana, and fleeting visual references to films such as The Blue Lagoon, Grease, Braveheart and Risky Business.

Sexual references

There are some mild sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Dan says he has to remove a leech from his “no-no zone”
  • Tyler’s girlfriend ponders aloud about kissing him

Nudity and sexual activity

There are no direct depictions of nudity or sexual activity in this movie, however, there are some mild scenes where:

  • Dan kisses his wife Tammy briefly
  • Dan is shown naked from the waist up, taking a bath
  • Dan is shown apparently wearing a bra

Use of substances

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

  • An unidentified man smokes a cigar.

Coarse language

There is some mildly coarse, threatening and discriminatory language in this movie, including:

  • “God”
  • “Jeez”
  • “I’m in Hell”
  • “Shut up”
  • “Amazon woman” (said as a put-down)
  • “Idiot”
  • “Out of the way, fuzzball”
  • “I’m going to crush you”
  • Several references to animal excrement
  • Many negative comedic references to mental illness

In a nutshell

Furry Vengeance is a comedy containing some clever animation but with little humour for older audiences.  Most of the intended laughs revolve around people and animals intentionally injuring one another or animal poo/urine jokes.  While children will find some of these incidents funny, adults may become frustrated with the film’s lack of substance.  Further, the continual depiction of animals as calculating, almost sadistic creatures is a little unsettling.  The focus on revenge through aggressive action also establishes a confusing sub-text, which muddies the films’ intended message that success cannot be gained through selfish deeds.

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

  • consideration for others
  • forgiveness
  • kindness, rather than aggression.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • The potentially serious consequences of aggressive actions, in comparison to the benefits of learning how to share and work together
  • The actual vulnerability of many animals, and their inability to defend themselves in the sophisticated manner depicted in the film
  • The stigmatising consequences of discrimination for people with dementia or a mental illness.  

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