Australian Council on Children and the Media

Boonie Bears: The Wild Life

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Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 12 (violence, scary scenes, themes). In Mandarin language with English subtitles.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Boonie Bears: The Wild Life
  • a review of Boonie Bears: The Wild Life completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 February 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to scary scenes, themes and frequent animated violence without consequence or repercussion.
Children aged 8–12 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and frequent animated violence without consequence or repercussion. Story in Mandarin language with English subtitles.
Children over the age of 12 Ok for this age group. Non-Mandarin speaking children must be fast-paced, confident readers.

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: Boonie Bears: The Wild Life
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, animated violence
Length 99 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Vick, a down on his luck tour operator, is overjoyed when he hears about a fun park called ‘Wild Life and the special, super-transforming, challenge that will allow one lucky champion to win a million dollars. A former classmate tells him all about how you get to wear a suit and transform into the animal of your choice – you and your teammates work together to get through the elimination round and make it to the final challenge. Believing that money will finally solve his problems and make him happy, Vick and his friend meet at Wild Life but when Vick’s friend leaves him for a better group he quickly puts together a rag tag team of his own with his bear friend, Bramble (a real bear and true friend), who has followed him to Wild Life, along with a mysterious stranger named Leon (voice of Chris Boike). What Vick doesn’t know is that Wild Life was Leon’s idea and that he invented much of the technology used to create the transformations. Furthermore, Leon wasn’t there to win the competition, he was there to shut the whole place down as the tech they were using wasn’t safe and would create permanent, aggressive transformations once the final round was complete. While Leon’s former partner and the current face of Wild Life, Tom, tried to keep the contest on tract and adamantly argued that the tech was safe, Leon’s only thoughts were of his deceased daughter Lily, how his invention had made her happy, and how, in her honour, he wanted to help others find the same happiness and not do anything that would harm or hurt them. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Leon’s artificial intelligence is manipulating the show, deceiving the people and ultimately attempting to destroy them all.

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.

Loss of a child; The dangers of trusting artificial intelligence; Fulfilment at any cost; The notion that having money and the lack of human responsibilities will buy or bring happiness.

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:

  • Frequent use of animated violence such as dangerous and reckless driving where pedestrians are nearly hit. Characters crash into tress and run into each other, they smash into rocks and fall off cliffs.
  • Lightning strikes hit numerous characters, taking them out of the competition.
  • In crazy fits of rage, transformed animals bite, gnaw, slash and attack people and things.
  • Animals are shot with guns and enclosed in cubes of ice. They are later kept in a cryogenic lab but then break out and cause mass destruction.
  • Characters are shot at, head-butted into bushes, repeatedly smashed and kicked in the head, thrown in the air, punched, tackled and beaten.
  • Buildings and property are destroyed due to the aggressive battle scenes when transformed humans, posing as animals, turn on each other and, when the day ends, Wild Life lies in ruins.

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 numerous transformations throughout the film when characters turn into the animal of their choice. Normally this is done in a fun and enthusiastic manner but after doing a final transformation, the people are shown in pain and the animals they become start getting very aggressive with red, glowing eyes, snarling teeth and loud angry growls. They begin to attack relentlessly and are terrifying the humans.

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:

  • Images of the humans fleeing or hiding in huddled corners from the snarling, attacking animals which all appear intent on killing them is likely be distressing to some younger viewers.
  • Leon’s daughter becomes ill and dies. There is a scene in which he relives a happy memory but tells her that he has to go. He is clearly distressed at the prospect while she tries to comfort and reassure him. While not scary, the scene is likely to upset some young children.
  • Some children may also be upset by the images of animals attacking each other when monster-like animals erupt all over Wild Life and everyone starts to transform.

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 further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • TikTok and WeChat are both referenced and shown in animated form.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • A child noticed that Bramble wasn’t wearing clothes and said it was, “creepy”. A couple of teenagers shot Bramble a disparaging look before a Wild Life employee whisked him away to put a suit on him.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Boonie Bears: The Wild Life is an action packed, animated, adventure. The Chinese film features English subtitles and a fairly predictable plotline. It is best suited to native speakers or older children who can read fast. Not suitable for children under 8 and parental guidance to 12 due to frequent, animated violence without consequence or repercussion and some deeper themes that could warrant good discussion.

The main messages from this movie are that true happiness lies within the reach of each and every person – It is not something that can be bought but is rather really simple and something individual that is found within us all.

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

  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • Persistence
  • Creativity
  • Determination.

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

  • Dangerous driving.
  • Living your life based on what other people want, or, based around amassing physical things that you think will make you happy. Does money actually buy happiness? Will fame bring you joy?
  • Trying to control the happiness and lives of others.
  • Deceitfulness and refusing to act in the best interest of others.
  • The dangers of allowing computers or AI to do the thinking for us.
  • It is also interesting to note that although this is a Chinese film and there are some Asian features most of the characters appear to be western and predominately Caucasian.

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