Australian Council on Children and the Media

Cats

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Not suitable under 7; parental guidance recommended for under 9 (animated violence and emotionally distressing themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Cats
  • a review of Cats completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 October 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not suitable due to upsetting themes and animated violence
Children aged 7–8 Parental guidance recommended due to upsetting themes
Children aged 9 and over 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: Cats
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length 87 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

House cat Blanket (voice of Hannibal Buress) is living a comfortable life in an apartment in a busy Chinese megacity. His young son Cape (voice of Max Charles), however, is bored and curious to explore the outside world. Cape has also been told that his mother has gone to a place called "Peachtopia" – a legendary place where cats live in freedom and peace. Determined to find this place and his mother, Cape escapes the apartment. Blanket, who knows about the dangers of the outside world, sets out on a desperate and dangerous journey to find his son.

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.

Father and son relationship; ambitions in life; chasing a dream; coming of age; friendship; longing and grief; the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence; finding the place where you feel at home.

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:

  • Blanket is chased and beaten by aggressive raccoons;
  • Cape is chased by scary raccoons and gets trapped, captured and put into a cage;
  • Cape is threatened to be tortured to death;
  • Cape gets stuffed into a plastic bag and closely escapes being cremated alive.

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 glass sculptures of distorted and scary-looking animals.

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:

  • Characters are seen extremely scared, fearing for their lives.
  • There is an ongoing theme of loss and grief:
    • As a kitten, Blanket gets lost outside of the apartment, nearly starves and freezes to death, which highly distresses his owner;
    • As a kitten, Blanket loses his best friend and father-like figure, who gets thrown out of the apartment for letting stray cats inside the apartment;
    • Cape's mother falls out of the window and does not survive the fall. Blanket and his owner are shown in distress and grief;
    • Blanket watches Cape being trapped in a plastic bag and thrown into a furnace. Convinced that his son is dead, Blanket is shown in heartache, distress and grief;
    • Cape eventually learns that his mother has died and is very upset;
    • There is no classic happy ending: Cape wanders off into the world and it is not clear whether he and his father will ever meet again.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Nothing of additional 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.

It is unlikely that children over the age of thirteen will be frightened by this movie.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • a Chinese Soda brand.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

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

  • Characters are seen consuming strong alcohol, like vodka.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • fat, "Fatty"
  • idiot
  • stupid

In a nutshell

Cats is a computer-animated movie directed by Gary Wang. Mild animated violence and emotionally distressing themes make it unsuitable for children under 7. Parental guidance is recommended for children under 9 due to emotionally distressing themes.

The main messages from this movie are about the importance of a father-son relationship – especially in the absence of the mother – and that you cannot find peace and a sense of belonging at any place if you cannot find peace and home in your heart.

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

  • Parental love
  • Friendship
  • Making sacrifices for loved ones
  • Taking risks and moving out of one’s comfort zones to help loved ones.

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

  • being a workaholic/fanatic: the movie's villain is a frustrated artist who has lost his inspiration and turns his anger against innocent animals.

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