Australian Council on Children and the Media

Muppets, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 4, PG 4-8 (Violence)

Age
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8
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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Muppets, The
  • a review of Muppets, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 January 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 4 May lack interest for children of this age. Also there are some violent and scary scenes.

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: Muppets, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Muppets tells the story of the well-known crew 30 years on from their days of fame and success.  The story begins with Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) and his brother Gary (Jason Segal) who have been life long best friends and remain close even in their adulthood.  On the eve of an anniversary trip to Los Angeles with his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), Gary surprises Walter with a ticket to join them so that he can fulfil his lifelong dream to see the home of the Muppets.  When they arrive in LA the trio find the Muppet studio condemned and in disrepair. 

A disappointed Walter continues with a tour through the studio and accidently overhears a conversation between the evil Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) and a group of evil muppets who have concocted a plan to buy and demolish the studio to drill for the oil that lies beneath it.  Unless the Muppets can raise $10 million dollars by the end of the week the studio will sold to the evil group and the future of the Muppets destroyed for good. 

Walter is devastated by what he has overheard and enlists the help of Mary and Gary to find the Muppets and encourage them to save the studio.  When the trio find Kermit (voiced by Steve Whitmore) he suggests a reunion concert as the only way to raise the money in time, but he is a little concerned about whether the old crew can be reunited in time!

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.

Kidnapping

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 frequent violence in this movie, mostly slapstick, which young children may imitate, including the following examples:

  • Walter and Gary play fight with plastic guns pretending to shoot one another
  • Walter is bullied for being childish because he likes the Muppets when all of his friends like different things
  • A fight between Miss Piggy and another pig puppet who is threatening to replace her.  The two wrestle, pull hair, slap and punch each other.
  • Kermit is jammed in the door by another muppet
  • Tex threatens the Muppets and tells them they are “all dead”
  • Whilst visiting Fozzie bear in a dark alley, a number of gun shots are heard
  • Walter receives an electric shock from a fence
  • The television network that is supporting the Muppets Renunion shows another show that is called the “Punching Teacher Show”.  The ad shows someone raising a fist.
  • Miss Piggy head butts the table
  • Guest host Jack Black punches two of the Muppets which causes a bigger fight with all of the Muppets
  • Jack Black is kidnapped by the Muppets against his will.  The Muppets dress up in stealth costumes and use martial arts moves to grab Jack and tie him up.  He is put into the boot of a car.
  • Gonzo jumps off a building then blows it up, throws weapons and smashes a television

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:

  • During one scene a chef is seen cooking and burning puppet food that is lifelike.

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.

No additional 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.

Nothing of concern

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 product placement in this movie, including:

  • Cars 2
  • Apple Ipad
  • The Economist
  • Red Bull
  • NBC
  • Fox
  • Vogue
  • Google
  • Coke
  • Greyhound
  • TAB
  • Rolls Royce
  • Universal Studios
  • Air France
  • Hard Rock Cafe

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Reference to Jack Black putting on “his balls”

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Miss Piggy and Kermit kiss passionately
  • Mary and Gary kiss passionately

Use of substances

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

  • Mary and Gary have a glass of wine with their anniversary dinner

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • hell
  • butt
  • freaks
  • God

In a nutshell

The Muppets is a generally family friendly movie about the well-loved Muppet crew who learn that despite their differences, they are still a family. Under 4s may find it rather scary and there is a lot of slapstick violence that under 8s may imitate.

The main messages from this movie are about family commitment, loyalty and being true to yourself.

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

  • trusting in yourself and being less concerned about what others think
  • standing by the people that matter to you

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

  • Gary struggled to prioritise his own relationship with Mary over his concern for Walter.  Why was this?  Why was it important for Gary to let Walter find his own way?
  • There is a lot of violence in this film.  It could be helpful to discuss this type of humour with your child.  Do you think the violent acts are less problematic because they are puppets?  Why or why not?

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