Australian Council on Children and the Media

Combat Wombat

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Not suitable 4 and under; parental guidance to 5 (mildly violent and scary scenes, sad theme (loss of loved ones))

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Combat Wombat
  • a review of Combat Wombat completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 October 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children aged 4 and under Not suitable due to mildly violent and scary scenes, sad theme (loss of loved ones) and a scary villain – an aggressive drop bear.
Children aged 5 Parental guidance recommended due to mildly violent and scary scenes, sad theme (loss of loved ones) and a scary villain – an aggressive drop bear.
Children aged 6 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: Combat Wombat
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Maggie Diggins (voiced by Deborah Mailman) has all a wombat could ask for: she is happily married to her childhood sweetheart Bradley (George Pullard); they both have a secure job digging tunnels for a construction company; and they have just moved into their new dream home. But then Bradley dies in a terrible work accident. Maggie blames local superhero, emu Flightless Feather (Frank Woodley), who saved everyone but Bradley, and she is determined to find out what really went wrong. Things get more complicated when Maggie saves young sugar glider Sweetie (voiced by Ed Oxenbould) and becomes famous as the new local superhero, "Combat Wombat". With Sweetie's help, Maggie discovers that something fishy is going on with alleged superhero Flightless Feather and his mysterious manager, koala CeCe (voiced by Judith Lucy).

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.

Australian-produced and themed animation; Animal superheroes; Action Adventure; Family Entertainment.

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 mild violence in this movie including:

  • A gang of naughty kids rampage Sweetie's convenience store.
  • A big brute threatens Sweetie and attacks Maggie - they get in a fight but no one gets hurt.
  • Koala CeCe reveals that she is in truth a drop bear. She attacks Maggie, Flightless, and Sweetie and chases them up a mountain, probably with the intention of destroying them.
  • In the fight, CeCe falls off a giant cliff - likely to her death (not depicted).

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:

  • The scene of the mining accident is quite long and detailed, showing Maggie and Bradley getting trapped with the ceiling about to collapse. They are panicking, and frantically trying to free themselves. Bradley sacrifices his own life by helping Maggie to escape, before he gets buried under rubble. Maggie is seen in distress and despair, trying to go back and save Bradley. For months she is grief-stricken and obsessed by the thought of retrieving his body.
  • It is implied that Sweetie lost his parents.
  • CeCe transforms into a massive and extremely aggressive drop bear with big teeth and claws. This is rather unexpected, and she is quite scary-looking.

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:

  • Some children in this age group may be scared or disturbed by the above-mentioned 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 further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • There are a couple of references to Maggie's big round butt that she smartly uses in fights to push over her opponents.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • "Sucker".

In a nutshell

Combat Wombat is an Australian animated production that tells the story of an ordinary female wombat whose life takes unexpected turns when she is confronted with loss, and when she unintentionally turns into a superhero and reveals the criminal activities of a greedy tycoon / superhero manager. Cute animations of Australian icon animals, lots of humour, a great Australian voice cast, and relatable characters make this Aussie production a good choice for a family audience with young school-aged children. A pre-school audience might be unable to follow the plot, and might get scared or upset over Maggie's tragic loss and the scary drop bear, which is why we recommend it to children over 4 and parental guidance under 6.

The main messages from this movie are that sometimes life forces you to change directions and reinvent yourself, and that it is the people around you who you care about that make life rich.

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

  • Friendship
  • Courage
  • Determination
  • Dreaming big
  • Believing in oneself.

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

  • Greed and vanity: even though Flightless Feather turns out to be a really lovely guy on the inside, he gets blinded by his vanity and wish to be famous and admired.
  • Ruthlessness: CeCe claims that her criminal activities are justified by the greater cause of inspiring people and giving them a role model. In doing that, she is more than happy, however, to manipulate, lie, and even sacrifice lives.

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