Australian Council on Children and the Media

Legend of Tarzan, The

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Not recommended under 15 due to violence and disturbing scenes and themes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Legend of Tarzan, The
  • a review of Legend of Tarzan, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 July 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes and themes

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: Legend of Tarzan, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and violence
Length 110 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Legend of Tarzan is the latest action-adventure film about John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgard). John's parents had died when he was a child and he had been taken in by a family of apes and had grown up as their valued leader ‘Tarzan’. It is now 10 years since those times and John has been living a comfortable life in England with his loving wife Jane (Margot Robbie).

The Belgian King Leopold II decides to invade the Congo, in order to extract the mineral deposits and diamonds he believes are there. When his expedition is ambushed by tribal leader Chief Mbonga, King Leopold's envoy Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) is offered diamonds in exchange for Tarzan.

Upon hearing about potential incidents of the Belgians enslaving the Congolese, John is convinced by an American envoy - who knows about his previous identity as Tarzan - to go to Congo once more. When John and his wife Jane travel there, they encounter Rom and his mercenaries who kidnap Jane and several of their companions.

John discovers that Rom intends to use the diamonds to fund a large army to control and exploit the Congo for its resources. He sets out - with the help of the leader of the Apes - to take on Rom and to rescue his wife.

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.

Love and family; revenge; colonialism; slavery; mercenaries; sacrifice

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 considerable violence in the film, including:

  • There are many battle sequences within the film.  These include the use of weapons (swords, arrows, guns, and knives) as well as fists, to injure and kill. Dead soldiers are hung up on poles.
  • Characters are seen being trampled to death by large herds of animals.
  • A man is killed and eaten by crocodiles.
  • A young boy is threatened by a group of large gorillas.
  • A village is set on fire and burned down, and some of the villagers are taken as slaves.
  • The Chief of a village is shot and killed by mercenaries.
  • There are flashbacks to when a young boy’s mother and father were killed - his father is jumped on and beaten by a large group of gorillas.
  • A man is almost strangled with rosary beads
  • A woman is kidnapped and held against her will by several men - she is told to scream, so that her husband will come to her rescue.

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 in this age group are likely to find many of the characters and the violent scenes described above disturbing

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 are also likely to find many of the characters and the scenes described above disturbing

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.

Children in this age group are also likely to find many of the characters and scenes described above disturbing

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.

Younger viewers in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes and themes

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual content and nudity, including:

  • A male and female character share several passionate kisses.
  • A male character is naked in one scene
  • It is implied that John and Jane, who are seen lying naked together, have had sex.

Use of substances

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

  • Alcohol drinking by adults in a number of scenes

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • ‘bastard’; ‘shit; ‘ass’; ‘damn’; ‘hell’; ‘nigger’

In a nutshell

The Legend of Tarzan is an action-packed film that demonstrates the importance of taking a stand against things that are wrong or unjust. Despite not wanting to go back to the Congo, Tarzan cannot stand by while the Congolese are mistreated and taken as slaves by the Belgians. The movie highlights the importance of a person's heritage, and how family may not be just those to whom people are related to by blood. It also highlights the lengths to which individuals will go in order to take care of the people they love. Furthermore, the film emphasises that whilst courage is important, revenge-seeking behaviours can often result in negative consequences for everyone involved.

The film contains frequent violence and disturbing scenes and themes, so is not suitable for young children, and is best suited to viewers over 15.

This movie could give parents of older children the opportunity to discuss a number of issues, including:

  • The impact of colonialism on countries and the lives of individuals.
  • The wisdom of risking your own life and safety to protect people that you care about.

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