Australian Council on Children and the Media

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Not recommended under 13, parental guidance recommended 13-15 (Violence; Disturbing scenes and characters)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Guardians of the Galaxy
  • a review of Guardians of the Galaxy completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 August 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes and scary characters
Children 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes and scary characters
Children 15 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: Guardians of the Galaxy
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction themes and violence
Length 121 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film opens with the death of the young Peter Quill’s mother, followed by his abduction by an alien spacecraft.

The film jumps forward 26 years and we find that Peter (Chris Pratt) is now a soldier of fortune on the planet Morag where he is searching for an ancient and mysterious object referred to as “The Orb”. Quill manages to recover the Orb and escapes after a shootout with aliens who also want the Orb. When Quill tries to sell the Orb on a distant planet, he ends up being arrested along with a female humanoid alien called Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a talking raccoon named Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) and a creature called Groot (voice of Vin Diesel). The three aliens had intended to steal the Orb from Quill.

In prison, Quill, Gamora, Rocket and Groot are befriended by a muscle-bound blue alien called Drax (Dave Bautista). Apparently Drax has a personal grudge against an intergalactic warlord named Ronan (Lee Pace) who is seeking the Orb for his own evil purposes. Drax hopes that Quill and his friends will lead him to Ronan.

Quill and his companions manage to escape from prison and head to a space station where they plan to sell the Orb to an alien referred to as “The Collector”. The Collector informs Quill and his companions that the Orb contains an Infinity Stone, an ancient and powerful weapon which is capable of destroying entire worlds. Quill then decides that the stone is too dangerous to be sold to anyone and, with his four followers, decides to take the stone to Nova headquarters where it will remain out of the reach of Ronan. However, this is not an easy task.

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.

Loss of a parent; aliens; alien abduction; devices of mass destruction

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.

The film contains intense sequences of action violence and peril, including multiple deaths and mass destruction of property, but minimal depiction of blood and gore. Examples include:

  • Throughout the film there are battles between groups of aliens firing laser beams. Some scenes involve large laser cannons firing at, and destroying, spaceships, resulting in massive explosions.
  • In one of the film’s more brutal scenes, a man is strapped to a stone chair designed for torture. A humanoid raises a massive sledgehammer and brings it down on the head of the victim bound to the chair (the actual strike of the hammer occurs off screen) and blood from the slain man runs down channels carved into the stone floor.
  • Several scenes depict stylised fighting between humanoid aliens (male and female) and a man, including punches and kicks to the head, face and body. Some stylised fights also involve the use of bladed weapons.
  • An alien woman rips off her own cybernetic hand when it becomes trapped.    
  • A humanoid alien woman using a sword-like weapon to repeatedly wound an alien tree-like creature with the woman severing the creature’s arms (the creature’s arms quickly grow back).   
  • An alien is killed by the slash of a knife with yellow blood spraying from the wound.    
  • A creature with branch-like fingers sticks them up the nose of another creature where they keep growing. We hear the sound of bone and cartilage ripping apart and the creature falls to the ground crying and whimpering.  In another scene the tree creature stabs an alien in the chest with its hand and the dying alien spews up green vomit.
  • An alien makes reference to killing a young girl’s parents in front of her, torturing her and then turning her into a weapon.
  • One scene depicts a group of aliens disintegrated in a gigantic explosion; a woman’s body is engulfed in flames.  
  • An alien uses his mind to control an arrow with which he kills dozens of enemies.  

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:

  • There are numerous alien creatures that may scare younger children.  Many of the humanoid aliens have coloured skin and scars over their faces and bodies. Some have faces like insects, metal implants or needle-like teeth.
  • Groot is a treelike creature and can regrow severed limbs or grow weapons from his branch-like fingers.      
  • Rocket is a walking, talking raccoon with multiple cybernetic implants in his back.
  • Several scenes depict dinosaur-like creatures
  • One scene depicts a large serpent-like creature with a mouth full of long pointed fangs.   
  • A gigantic severed alien head floats in space, and we hear that other aliens mine organic matter from the head. 
  • One scene depicts a humanoid alien’s broken body lying on the ground; we see legs and arms lying at unnatural angles. We hear the sounds of bones breaking and see the alien’s body regenerating, the alien straightening his own broken limbs.

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:

  • In an emotionally intense scene we see Peter as a young boy with a black eye standing next to his dying mother’s hospital bed; his mother has a bald head and an emaciated appearance. She reaches out to hold the young boy’s hand, but he refuses to take her hand and turns away. A few seconds later the mother dies and the boy screams out in despair and runs out of the hospital and into a fog filled night.   A bright beam of light shines down on to the young boy and we see an alien spacecraft hovering above him. He is sucked screaming into the spacecraft which then flies off.  

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.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

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.

Younger children in this age group may also  be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • None of concern in the film but associated merchandise is being marketed to children

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A male character infers that a female should trade sexual favours with prisoners to obtain what they need to escape from prison. 
  • Quill makes reference to being wounded by a jealous girlfriend for cheating on her.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • In one scene, the film lead character Quill attempts to kiss Gamora, but she presses a knife to his throat.
  • Female characters wear tight fitting and brief clothing.

Use of substances

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

  • Men stand around a gambling table holding drinks. In the same scene Rocket is depicted drinking alcohol and behaving in an intoxicated manner.
  • Humanoid aliens are also depicted drinking alcohol and behave in a mildly intoxicated manner.

Coarse language

The film contains mild-medium level coarse language and some name calling scattered throughout. Examples include:

  • crap; shit; prick; dick; bastard; freaking; screw this; scrote; whore; arses; turd blossom; bitch; losers; little gargoyle; imbecile;  rodent;  jerks; asshole

In a nutshell

Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel Comics action adventure, targeting older teens and adult fans of sci-fi. The film is likely to entertain the target audience with action scenes, special effects, lots of humour and a soundtrack of 70’s classics.  The appropriately M-rated film has many violent and disturbing scenes and scary characters which make it unsuitable for under 13s and some older children, so parental guidance is recommended for younger teens who may be attracted to the film.   

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Great things can be achieved by working with others rather than as an individual.
  • Friends can become like family.

 

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