Australian Council on Children and the Media

Descendants 2

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Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (violence, scary scenes and themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Descendants 2
  • a review of Descendants 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 May 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to violence, scary scenes and themes.
Children aged 8–10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, scary scenes and themes.
Children over the age of 10 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: Descendants 2
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild Fantasy Themes and Violence
Length 107 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Descendants 2 starts with Mal (Dove Cameron) remembering her life in Livevil and feeling that she doesn't really belong in Auradon. She feels like a fake and when Ben (Mitchell Hope) exposes her cooking to be the result of a spell, Mal decides to return to the Isle of the Lost. There she finds that the Pirate Queen, Uma (China Anne McClain), together with the nasty character, Pirate Harry (Thomas Doherty), and their gang, have taken control of Mal's familiar area.

Evie (Sofia Carson) soon discovers that her friend is missing and tells Ben that she fears Mal has returned to the island. Evie, Ben, Jay (Booboo Stewart) and Carlos (Cameron Boyce) cross the sea to try and persuade Mal to return. However, Mal won't be deterred and Ben returns to the others quite crushed. While they plan what to do next, Ben is kidnapped by Pirate Harry and his gang. He is taken aboard the pirate ship and tied to a post. Mal, Evie, Jay and Carlos then must rescue Ben while fighting off the pirates. Mal has to again decide what is really important to her life.

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.

Fantasy; Magic; Witchcraft; Heroes and Villains; Good v Evil.

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:

  • The boys of Auradon practise fencing for self-defence. The fighting is very choreographed and no-one gets hurt.
  • Characters on the Island are aggressive and unfriendly pushing one another out of the way.
  • Harry demands money from Dizzy (Anna Cathcart), a young hairdresser on the island. He then smashes everything on a counter.
  • Harry ties Ben to a post on the pirate ship and threatens him with a sword.
  • Harry tries to get Ben to walk the plank but Ben is saved in time.
  • A sword fight breaks out between the pirates and Mal, Evie, Jay, Carlos and Ben. The fight is quite extensive but is done as a choreographed scene and again, no-one gets hurt.

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 Isle of the Lost is a rough neighbourhood with rubbish bins, graffiti and gangster youths roaming the streets. The characters look mean and nasty, particularly Harry the pirate who has a hook for a hand, a black patch over one eye and is quite menacing.
  • Uma is quite a threatening character who laughs wickedly.

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:

  • Mal casts various spells to help people say what they feel, to make food, etc.
  • Two young boys on the island want food and grab hold of Evie.
  • Mal keeps her mother as a tiny dragon in a shoebox.

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:

  • The final scene is quite scary. Uma jumps into the water and the waves are whipped up into a huge frenzy. Uma transforms into a giant octopus and lashes her tentacles out across the water. Mal then transforms into a dragon and flies over the water, breathing fire at Uma. Ben then dives into the water to try and make peace between them.

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 further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Some romantic liaisons between Mal and Ben who kiss on a few occasions.
  • Evie kisses Doug.
  • Carlos and Jane hug.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

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

  • Spells are used on several occasions including making a potion which helps someone say how they feel.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Descendants 2 is the sequel to the first Disney teen romance movie. There is more singing and dancing in this one which is likely to appeal to teens. The fight scenes are choreographed which somewhat reduces the menacing behaviour. However, the movie does have some scary scenes which make it unsuitable for children under 8 and parental guidance is recommended for 8 – 10 year olds.

The main messages from this movie are that no-one is completely good or bad and that most people are a mixture of both. What's important is to decide which path is better to follow. Being true to oneself is also important.

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

  • The importance of friendship
  • Sincerity
  • Acceptance of others
  • Forgiveness
  • Charity and kindness
  • Gender equality in the form of allowing a girl to join the fencing team.

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

  • Why are the teens on the island are so aggressive and nasty? Does the former king (Beast) have some responsibility for them?

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