Australian Council on Children and the Media

Elliot the Littlest Reindeer

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5 and Parental guidance to 8 due to scary scenes and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Elliot the Littlest Reindeer
  • a review of Elliot the Littlest Reindeer completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 December 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended under 5 due to scary scenes and coarse language.
Children aged 5–8 Parental guidance due to scary scenes and coarse language.
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: Elliot the Littlest Reindeer
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes and coarse language, some scenes may frighten very young children.
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Elliot (voice of Josh Hutcherson) the miniature horse lives on a struggling goat farm and reindeer training centre. Elliot dreams of being chosen to pull Santa’s (voice of George Buza) sleigh and, with the help of his good friend Hazel (voice of Samantha Bee), trains harder than any of the reindeer on the property. Unfortunately Walter (voice of Rob Tinkler) the struggling farm owner doesn’t see his potential. Elliot is bullied by self- proclaimed reindeer leader ‘DJ’ (voice of Christopher Jacot), and none of  the other animals believe that Elliot has what it takes. When a news story breaks that one of the reindeer has left the North Pole and a replacement must be found immediately, Elliot stows away in order to secretly enter the Reindeer Games and prove his worth once and for all. In the meantime,  Walter makes a deal with a shady woman to sell the farm and all the animals but what he doesn’t realize is that she is planning to turn them all into jerky. Elliot and Hazel discover this, along with an evil elf’s plot to get rid of all reindeer. Together they must prove their worth not only to save Christmas but also to save their friends.

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.

Relationship difficulties (including abandonment); animal distress; animal cruelty; bullying.

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:

  • Both Hazel and Elliot are kicked hard by reindeer to get them out of the way.
  • There is repeated animated violence where Elliot gets bashed out of snowdrifts.
  • Two reindeer smash Elliot between them to get him off course.

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:

  • An evil elf activates a machine that creates a terrible storm over the North Pole sucking machinery and animals into its core. It creates gaping holes in the ground and threatens to destroy Santa’s village and everyone in it. Santa tries to shut it down, but in the struggle the steering wheel breaks and the machine gets further out of control. The scene is loud, dramatic and intense. The screen is dark and there is a greenish glow, the evil elf looks very creepy and unleashes a horrible cackle, the combined effect could frighten younger viewers.

 

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:

  • When the lady buys the farm she quickly gets the goats on board a truck but behaves oddly and indicates that she wants to eat them. One of her henchmen holds a baby goat and strokes it coat. The goat looks completely terrified and later discloses that he is scared. All of the goats look terrified once they have been loaded onto the truck.

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.

  • There is nothing in this film that children of this age would find scary or disturbing.

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.

  • There is nothing in this film that children of this age would find scary or disturbing.

Product placement

  • None of concern.

Sexual references

  • Walter tells a female reporter that: “You look like my next girlfriend.” She shoots down his attempt at flirting though later they appear to become friends.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None of concern.

Use of substances

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

  • Mrs. Claus makes “magic cookies” that help the reindeer fly. One reindeer takes more than he should and later faces the consequences of the scandal. Hazel eats a whole plateful and finds that they have a hallucinogenic effect.

Coarse language

Although there is no profanity in this film, there is frequent name calling and put downs including:

  • Cheater, dim-witted, suckers, punks, idiots, stupid, jerks, ninny, dunderheads, stinkin’, shut-up, big butts.

In a nutshell

Elliot the Littlest Reindeer is an animated Christmas tale about persistence and the power of dreams. It has a dark side to it that is geared toward slightly older children.

The main messages from this movie are to be proud of who you are, especially when you are different from everyone, to overcome your fears by facing them and to remember that if something is important you will find a way to fix or achieve it.

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

  • Persistence
  • Hard work
  • Loyalty
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility

 

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

  • Cheating in sports or other areas of life.
  • Taking substances to boost your performing ability.
  • Lying to get your own way or deceiving others by pretending to be something that you are not.
  • Bullying because someone is different from you.

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