Australian Council on Children and the Media

Puss in Boots

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Not recommended under 6, Parental guidance 6-9 (Violence; Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Puss in Boots
  • a review of Puss in Boots completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 December 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 6-12 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children over the age of 13 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: Puss in Boots
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Puss in Boots is a prequel to the Shrek series of films and not the classic ‘Puss in Boots’ tale. Years before meeting Shrek and Donkey, Puss (voice of Antonio Banderas) is in a position of having to clear his name of charges that make him a wanted fugitive. He is trying to find magic beans that will enable him to get to the giant’s castle so that he can take the goose that lays golden eggs.

While trying to steal magic beans from the infamous criminals Jack and Jill  (voices of Billy Bob Thornton & Amy Sedavis), Puss meets another ‘cat burglar’, Kitty Softpaws (voice of Salma Hayek), who leads Puss to his former friend, Humpty Dumpty (voice of Zach Galifianakis). It was Humpty who caused Puss to be branded as a criminal and memories of this betrayal make Puss reluctant to trust him, but he eventually agrees to team up. Together, Puss, Kitty and Humpty set off to steal the magic beans, go to the giant's castle, seize the golden goose, and finally clear Puss' name.

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.

Revenge; betrayal; orphans and orphanages

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.

Puss in Boots contains cartoon styled action violence and scenes depicting intense peril throughout. The film contains no blood and gore, but does depict the death of a main character. Examples include:

  • Puss engages in sword fights with humans. In a tavern rough looking men taunt Puss and one man pulls the bar stool out from under him. In response, Puss throws knife at the head of one man, narrowly missing him. When another man approaches with a knife in a threatening manner, Puss holds his sword to the man’s throat pinning him to a wall. On several occasions we see Puss engaging in sword fights with soldiers (no one is injured).
  • In one scene we see Puss “dance-fighting” with a hooded cat. We hear Puss say “put up your dukes”, and see the two cats growling and hissing at each other while trying to box each other. Following some crude cat-like antics, Puss picks up a guitar and hits the hooded cat across the head at which point Softpaws takes off her mask and chastises Puss for hitting her across the head; Puss protests loudly that he didn’t know that she was a woman.
  • Puss and Softpaws run across a rooftop to escape soldiers who are hurling spears. The spears stick into the roof, narrowly missing the pair.  
  • Jack and Jill are very large thugs, who will stomp on anyone who gets in their way.  They ride an armoured wagon fitted with multiple cannons that fire from the sides. In one fight Jack head-butts Puss nearly knocking Puss unconscious and Jill holds Puss upside down over a ravine; Puss escapes. On several occasions Jill fires an oversized handgun at people, animals and objects. At the end of the film we see Jack and Jill lying in hospital beds encased in plaster casts as if every bone in their bodies has been broken but do not see how they were injured.    
  • In a flashback scene, Humpty is bullied and knocked down by some boys in an orphanage. The young Puss comes to Humpty’s rescue, knocking down two of the bullies and then throwing a wooden spoon at them as they run away, knocking them down again. Girls throw rubbish at Humpty. 
  • In one scene a rampaging bull is about to run down an old woman when Puss jumps on to the back of the bull’s head, grabs the bull by the horns and forces it to the ground, saving the old woman’s life.
  • A giant mother goose, who is searching for her stolen gosling, crashes her way through a village destroying houses and nearly stamping on terrified villagers. The giant goose chases Puss, Softpaws and Humpty, who are in a wagon, on to a stone bridge that collapses and falls into the ravine hundreds of feet below. After the collapse the giant goose is left pinned beneath a large section of stone bridge while Puss, Softpaws and Humpty are suspended in mid air hanging onto a rope. To allow the others to be saved, Humpty lets go of the rope and plummets to his 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 scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • After Humpty, Puss and Softpaws plant the magic beans, a blue, swirling cloud comes down from the sky and touches the ground. A giant beanstalk erupts out of the ground and shoots up into the air, capturing the trio in its leaves and hurling them high up into the sky and through the clouds. 
  • While in the giant’s castle, Puss, Humpty and Softpaws are chased by an unseen creature referred to as the “Great Terror”. We hear the sounds of a large creature crashing through undergrowth hear the sounds of growling and see a giant red eye peering through a hole. 
  • While escaping the Great Terror, Puss and Softpaws tie a string to the cork of a giant champagne bottle and then pop the cork. The two cats ride the cork while Humpty slides down the rope. Softpaws falls into a river and Puss jumps in to save her. They are swept into a whirlpool and then ejected via a fountain of water out of the castle, using giant leaves as parachutes.

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 disturbed by the above-mentioned violent and disturbing scenes and by the issues relating to the film’s two lead characters being orphans.

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 disturbed by some scenes in this film.

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

There is no actual product placement in the film but, as with the Shrek films, there is a large amount of associated merchandise available.

Sexual references

Puss in Boots contains some sexual references and innuendo. For example:

  • When Puss leaves a female cat he has spent a night with he tells her that he will never forget her, but then calls her by the wrong name.
  • On two occasions we hear Jack telling Jill that he wants to have a baby with her and refers to her biological clock. Jill rejects Jack’s request, telling him to practice on their wild piglets.  
  • Puss refers to himself as ‘a lover not a fighter’. Puss also is referred to as “Mr. Frisky”, "Two Times” and “Furry Lover”. 
  • In one scene Humpty removes his clothes (off screen) and changes into a golden egg suit. Softpaws looks at Humpty and then makes the comment “Humpty you’re not wearing underwear” to which Humpty replies, “I’m not embarrassed”.     
  • Just before Humpty is hit in the groin with a giant golden egg he shouts out “Gonads”

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • In the opening scenes of the film we see two discarded wine glasses (some milk left in the bottom of the glasses) and fish bones lying on the floor with a fluffy female cat lying on a pillow suggesting a romantic night, and we see Puss putting his sword belt on and leaving via the window as the female cat gives a deep sigh.
  • In one scene a man removes his shirt to show Puss the tattoos on his torso. The man then begins to unbutton his pants to show Puss his golden eggs tattoo but is stopped before he pulls down his pants. 
  • When Puss enters a nightclub he winks and blow kisses at female cats, causing some to faint.
  • Puss and Softpaws dance with each other in a somewhat sensual style, flirting as they dance; purring and leaning in close with Softpaws wrapping her tail around Puss’s neck. They kiss behind the cover of a large hat.

Use of substances

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

  • In a scene depicting a bar we see men sitting at tables with glasses and bottle of alcohol in front of them, and we a man drinking alcohol from a bottle several times.
  • On a couple of occasions we are told that Puss drinks only pure milk and see Puss lapping milk from a shot glass.
  • When prison guards search Puss they find a bottle of catnip in his boot and there is an inference that the bottle may contain marijuana.

Coarse language

Puss in Boots contains some low-level coarse language and putdowns. Examples include:

  • Crazy woman, Holy frijoles, oh my god, gold pooper, smelly thing, little stinky, rotten egg, shut up.
  • Dance moves are referred to as the “litter box and the butt scrape”.

In a nutshell

Puss in Boots is an entertaining animated action adventure that targets a wide ranging audience from seven years and up. Younger children may be scared by the violence and scenes of the heroes in peril.  

The main message from this movie is that friendship and love can turn even the worst of bad intentions around.

  • Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:
  • being willing to atone for one’s misdeeds
  • selflessness and bravery:

Parents may also wish to discuss the way in which Humpty treats his friend Puss and the far reaching real life consequences that result from lying and manipulating others for personal gain.

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