Australian Council on Children and the Media

Incredible Hulk, The

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Not suitable under 8, not recommended under 13, PG 13 to 15, due to violence and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Incredible Hulk, The
  • a review of Incredible Hulk, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 June 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to intense violence and scary scenes
Children aged 8-13 Not recommended due to intense violence and scary scenes
Children aged 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes

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: Incredible Hulk, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Intense action violence
Length 112 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Incredible Hulk is a new version of the story based on the comic strip character of the same name. An eminent scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is experimenting with gamma radiation. He is doing this with the assistance of General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross (William Hurt) from the US Army. Unbeknownst to Bruce, the General does not intend to use his work to help mankind but rather to create super soldiers.
The movie opens with Bruce becoming irradiated and transforming into the Hulk while his girlfriend Elizabeth Ross (Liv Tyler) who is the general’s daughter, watches. He smashes everything in his path and escapes. General Ross is desperate to get him back and use the irradiation process to further his super soldier dreams, so Bruce is listed as a fugitive.
Bruce spends the next five years on the run and eventually ends up in a bottle factory in Brazil. During this time he is both seeking a cure for his condition and also learning to control his emotions, as it is only during times of great emotional stress that he turns into the Hulk.
Ultimately the General tracks him down and sends a group of armed personnel to Brazil to capture him. In this group is a particularly nasty and single minded assassin, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). The army find Bruce and he turns into the Hulk, fights them off and heads back to his old university to find the data on his experiment so that he can find a possible cure.
In the meantime the General works to make Blonsky more powerful in the hope that he can defeat the Hulk. This backfires and in the end it is up to the Hulk to defeat the Abomination, the monster that the assassin has become.

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.

Superheroes; medical experimentation

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.

Overall the tone of this film is violent. There are scenes involving the Hulk and others in super-hero style violence and also more realistic scenes where people are injured and blood is shown. Examples include:

  • When Bruce first becomes the Hulk he smashes up the laboratory
  • Bruce is attacked by some local thugs, smashed against a metal cage and punched and hit.
  • The thugs are shot by the army and also attacked by the Hulk
  • Bruce becomes the Hulk and battles the army. This scene involves shooting and the Hulk throwing men against trees, smashing up trucks etc.
  • Once the assassin is given biological enhancers he becomes a grotesque and scary monster, the Abomination, and smashes everything in his path.
  • The final battle between the Hulk and the Abomination includes particularly graphic computer generated violence.

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.

Children in this age group would find most of the movie scary. It includes loud sounds and many scary images. In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, scenes that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • When Bruce becomes the Hulk he transforms from a friendly and pleasant looking man into an angry green monster
  • Large and scary needles are used to inject the assassin, Blonsky, with biological enhancers
  • Blonsky becomes a scary and grotesque monster, the Abomination

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 would find most of the movie scary.

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.

Many children in this age group will also find the above scenes in this movie frightening. Older children in this group may be less disturbed by the computer generated images of the Hulk and Blonsky, but may be more upset by more realistic scenes of scientific experiments and people being killed or wounded.

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.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by scenes of medical experiments and people being killed and injured.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Bruce and Elizabeth kiss passionately and end up lying on a bed

Use of substances

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

  • cigar smoking
  • alcohol

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Damn, crap, pissed

In a nutshell

The Incredible Hulk is a violent superhero movie suited to older adolescents and adults
The main messages from this movie which parents may wish to discuss with older children are that

  • tampering with nature can seriously backfire, particularly when your aim is to create something that will harm mankind
  • violence is not the solution to conflict and that when you try to fight violence with violence conflict escalates

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