Back to the Outback

image for Back to the Outback

Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 6 (cartoon violence, threat and peril, themes of bullying and abandonment)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Back to the Outback
  • a review of Back to the Outback completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 December 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to cartoon violence, threat and peril, and themes of bullying and abandonment.
Children aged 5–6 Parental guidance recommended due to cartoon violence, threat and peril, and themes of bullying and abandonment.
Children over the age of 6 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Back to the Outback
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild crude humour, animated violence and coarse language
Length: 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Some of Australia’s deadliest creatures – Taipan snake Medusa (“Maddie”), funnel web spider Frank, thorny devil Zoe, and scorpion Nigel – have had enough of their lives in captivity at a Sydney Wildlife Park, and being shown off to humans who think they are monsters. So, they decide to escape, hoping to make it back to the outback. In a chain of unfortunate events, world-famous star of the Zoo, koala Pretty Boy, gets caught up in the escape as well. Luckily, they have the support of the ‘Ugly Secret Society’ – an underground organisation of unpopular animals helping each other out. Will they manage to reconnect with their families and mates in the wild, or will ambitious zoo keeper, Chaz Hunt, manage to put them back in captivity? Voice cast includes Australian stars Isla Fisher, Tim Minchin, Eric Bana, Guy Pearce, Miranda Tapsell, Keith Urban, Celeste Barber, and Kylie Minogue.


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.

Animated; Australian Wildlife; Adventure; Family; Friendship.

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:

  • Zoo animals are handled roughly and verbally abused.
  • A mean boy burns ants with a magnifying glass.
  • There is a great amount of cartoon violence, animals and people wrestling, pushing, hitting, and kicking each other.
  • Animals get threatened to be clubbed to death, with a knife, tranquiliser guns, and even a bazooka.

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:

  • There are some creepy looking animals, including different types of spiders.
  • There are quite a few scenes of peril (being confronted with a huge crocodile or a shark, falling down cliff sides, hanging over the edge of a cliff etc.).
  • Chaz’s son believes his mother was killed by a wild animal – it turns out she ran away with another man and abandoned him (I am not sure which one would feel worse for a child).

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • It is indicated that Frank the spider has a strong urge to mate, expressed through flirting with other spiders and doing a courtship dance; there are several references to mating.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Two cane toads are kept in separate cages and it is indicated that this is so that they don’t reproduce. Once freed from their cage, they kiss passionately including intertwining their tongues.

Use of substances

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

  • A biker-gang woman mounts her bike while still drinking a martini, then falls off her bike.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Suck
  • Dang
  • Bone head
  • Nuts.

In a nutshell

Back to the Outback is an Australian-American animated movie with a famous Australian voice cast which is a refreshing change in the mass of American accent movies. However, the story features the obligatory outcast heroes, cranky loners who realise they do need friends, a boy who has lost his mother, and bad guys who had difficult childhoods and turn good in the end. It also includes the clichéd wild car chase, complete with shooting guns and explosions and several ridiculous near-fatal situations. That amount of comedy violence is disappointing in a G rated movie. Nonetheless, there are positive messages and role models. Suitable for children from 5 but parental guidance is recommended until the age of 7.

The main messages from this movie are that one should not judge a book by its cover; and that good friends can become your chosen family.

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

  • Friendship
  • Determination
  • Courage
  • Kindness
  • Being yourself.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of being yourself, even if it’s against what people expect from you.