Australian Council on Children and the Media

Flushed Away

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 8 (Scary scenes. Viol)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Flushed Away
  • a review of Flushed Away completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 December 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Parental guidance recommended due to some scary scenes and violence.
Children over the age of 8 Should be OK to view with or without parental guidance.

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: Flushed Away
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 84 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Roddy St. James (voiced by Hugh Jackman) is a pet rat who lives in luxury in London’s upper class Kensington district but is flushed down the toilet by an obnoxious sewer rat named Sid (Shane Richie). At the end of his sewer ride he finds a subterranean city, full of rats, mice, frogs and singing slugs.

Roddy is less than impressed with both the city and its inhabitants, and is determined to find his way home. He teams up with a rather feisty rat called Rita (Kate Winslet), who is the captain of a sewer boat named the Jammy Dodger.

The pair are attacked and taken prisoner by a couple of unsavoury sewer rats named Spike and Whitey (Andy Serkis and Bill Nighy) who work for the evil Toad (Ian McKellen). They eventually manage to escape, and Roddy convinces Rita that if she aids him in returning to his above-ground life he will reward her with riches to enable her to take care of her large extended family.

Roddy and Rita elude their pursuers and make their way back to Roddy’s home. Left on his own, Roddy starts to rethink his priorities.

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.

None of concern

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 slapstick violence in this movie including scenes where Roddy:

  • knocks the heads and arms off toy dolls.
  • smashes a toy soldier and pulls out its battery.
  • is flushed down the toilet.
  • slaps himself in the face
  • burns his hands on a cook top.
  • is grabbed by a mechanical crane.
  • is bashed in the head by loose flooring planks
  • falls on cement pavement.
  • is struck a number of times in the groin..
  • receives electric shocks
  • slaps Sid in the face
  • is chased through the sewers by rats on electric eggbeaters.


There is also slapstick violence involving other characters, including:

  • Rita’s father, who is in a wheel chair accidentally crushes three young rats against a wall
  • Rita kicks a rat in the face.
  • Toad flicks out his long tongue to grab passing flies, which he then eats as they beg him not to.
  • two slugs try to kiss each other, which ends in one slug swallowing the other slug whole.
  • rats receive electrical shocks, and a rat is electrocuted when a toaster he is sitting on falls into the sewer.
  • Toad slaps a rat across the face.
  • Toad and a frog get their tongues tangled when they both attempt to catch a fly.
  • Rita kicks a rat in the bottom and it falls into a box of pins that stick into the its head..
  • Toad uses a staple gun to shoot down a balloon.
  • Tadpoles with sharp teeth bite a rat’s bottom.

There are several scenes that contain violence of a slightly more serious and threatening nature including:

  • Spike and Whitey overpower and kidnap Roddy and Rita.
  • Toad threatens Roddy with a giant nutcracker.
  • Toad shows Roddy and Rita past enemies frozen in bottles.
  • Roddy and Rita are tied up together and placed in a bottle to be frozen.
  • Rita punches Roddy in the face.
  • Rita is bound and dangled over flood gates.

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 appearance and threatening manner of Toad.
  • Toad’s tadpoles, which have sharp teeth and are at times vicious and threatening.
  • a huge tidal wave that threatens to drown all the inhabitants of Sewer City.

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 in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

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.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over 8.

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 anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over 13.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Toad runs his hands over a china bust of the queen and states “Smooth to the touch” to which Roddy responds, “easy tiger.”
  • while Rita and Roddy are tied up, Rita asks Roddy to reach in her pocket for some wire. From what she says, it is apparent that he misses her pocket and touches her bottom.
  • in one scene, referring to Rita hiding a ruby, Roddy makes the statement “The booty’s in the booty.”
  • Roddy accidentally pulls down Rita’s pants to reveal knee length underwear making a statement along the line of “Of all the things I wanted to see that wasn’t on my list.”
  • Toad states “Time to bring out the persuader,” which turns out to be a giant nutcracker
  • Rita’s father makes a reference to Roddy making an honest woman of his daughter.    
  • during one scene when Roddy is doing a Tom Jones impersonation, a large pair of women’s underpants fly through the air (supposedly thrown by Rita’s grandmother) and land on his face.

There are also a number of instances of toilet humour.

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Use of substances

There is one scene in which Toad drinks from a wineglass.

Coarse language

There is occasional low level coarse language in this movie, including “bum” and “get stuffed” and occasional putdowns, including a sexist remark, “screaming like a girl.” 

In a nutshell

Flushed Away is an animated feature which many older children and adults will enjoy and find amusing. The main message from this movie is that without friends and family material wealth is meaningless.

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