Australian Council on Children and the Media

Duck Duck Goose

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, parental guidance recommended to 8 (some violence and scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Duck Duck Goose
  • a review of Duck Duck Goose completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 31 May 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to some animated violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 5–8 Parental guidance recommended. Some animated violence and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 8 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: Duck Duck Goose
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence, crude humour and coarse language.
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Duck Duck Goose is a Chinese-American production. It is an animated adventure movie set against the backdrop of the stunning autumnal Chinese countryside. Peng (Voice of Jim Gaffigan) is a young, overconfident, and immature gander who loves to show off and cause problems amongst his flock. He is sure that it’s better to fly on your own, rather than in formation. To prove his point, he decides to hold back when the flock begin their yearly migration south to escape the winter, with the intention of going it alone and racing them to the destination. However, things don’t go quite to plan, and Peng is forced to make the journey south on foot. Along the way, he is adopted by a winsome pair of orphaned ducklings, Chi (Voice of Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman) and Chau (Voice of Lance Lim) who have been separated from their own flock. The trio are spotted by a villainous, crazy-eyed stray tom cat who decides they look like a good lunch for a hungry cat. The journey south is a madcap and perilous adventure, with the tom cat in hot pursuit. Throughout the journey, Peng finally learns the value of sticking with your flock and gets in touch with the better side of his nature.  

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.

Strength in numbers; families and friendship; sticking with the group; team work; collectivism versus individualism; putting others before yourself.

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.

  • When a frog annoys Peng, he deals with it by picking up the frog and throwing it as hard as he can. In another scene, he kicks a frog hard.
  • The evil cat attacks Peng, swiping him over and over viciously.
  • The two ducklings are on the chopping board at a restaurant and the chef is looking over them with a machete poised to butcher them.
  • The chef chases the ducklings with a big machete.
  • A chicken repeatedly slaps her ‘husband’, the rooster, behind the head, because he’s not behaving properly.

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.

  • The evil tom cat is a scary, monster-like creature. It has one glowing red eye and one glowing yellow eye and a split personality, meaning that it flips from one ‘character’ to another, often talking to itself in an erratic and crazy manner. There are several scary scenes where the cat comes close to capturing the little ducklings.
  • The little ducklings have to swim across a dark misty lake all on their own and they are very afraid.
  • When one of the ducklings gets hungry he transforms from a cute little fluffy duckling into a monstrous duckling with a deep voice and glowing red eyes. This is a very brief scene.
  • There are many fast-paced action sequences that are tense and have a sense of peril, for example falling out of the back of an out of control vehicle, falling down a waterfall, a cave collapsing inwards, hanging on the edge of a cliff, etc.
  • The ducklings are convinced that Peng has died in the snow and begin crying in an emotional scene, before Peng regains consciousness.

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.

  • Children of this age group may still find some of the above scenes scary or distressing and parental guidance is recommended.

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.

  • None of 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.

  • None of concern.

Product placement

  • None of concern.

Sexual references

  • Peng is in love with a young goose called Jing Jing, and they behave flirtatiously, kissing each other and eventually agree to make a family together.
  • Peng makes suggestive comments to Jing Jing, such as “Let’s find a secluded spot to… (wink wink)”.
  • The chicken says to the rooster “Not now Stanley, not in front of the eggs”.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • The chef’s pants fall down, and we see his bare bottom.

Use of substances

  • Peng is rescued by a kind of hippy squirrel who behaves like he might be interested in marijuana and asks Peng things like “Did you have some cookies?”. This will probably not be interpreted in this way by small children.

Coarse language

  • Jerk, stupid, bottom.
  • Many fart and poo jokes.

In a nutshell

Duck Duck Goose is a standard tale of adventure with a strong moral theme running throughout. The animation is superb and it’s worth watching simply for the stunning visual backdrop of the Chinese countryside in Autumn. Children will love the silly fart jokes and the storyline is engaging enough to keep everyone happy.

The main messages from this movie are that men can be just as good at caring for younger creatures as women, and this is nothing to be embarrassed about; and that going it alone is not the way – we need our family, our friends and our community (the flock) for survival.

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

  • Sense of community spirit.
  • Learning to be kind and considering other’s needs over your own.
  • Being grateful for your family and friends.

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

  • Being selfish.
  • Not trusting authority.
  • Traditional gender roles.

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