Australian Council on Children and the Media

Kung Fu Panda 2

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Not recommended under 5, PG to 8 (Violence; Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Kung Fu Panda 2
  • a review of Kung Fu Panda 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 June 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 5-8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged over 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: Kung Fu Panda 2
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Po (voice of Jack Black) is fulfilling his role as the Dragon Warrior, fighting alongside the ‘Furious Five’ – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogan), Crane (David Cross), Viper (Lucy Lui) and Monkey (Jackie Chan), to protect the people of China. Kung Fu Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) tells Po that his training is almost complete and that he now needs to find his ‘inner peace.’

Po begins to have terrible flashback images of an event that he does not remember and starts thinking about where he really comes from. His father, Mr Ping (James Hong), informs Po that he adopted him when he found him on his doorstep as a baby but does not know how he came to be there.

As Po searches for answers, there is a great evil threatening to take over China.  Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) has turned his family’s discovery - fireworks - into firepower in the form of cannon balls. He has gathered an army of wolves and they are armed with the one thing that appears to be able to stop kung fu. It is up to Po and the ‘Furious Five’ to save China, but along the way Po needs to find out who he really is.

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.

Death, separation from parents, adoption, war

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.

Kung Fu Panda 2 contains many violent scenes. Fight scenes throughout the film include kung fu fighting, punches, kicks, swordfights, daggers, flaming arrows, spears, axes, sledgehammers and explosions from cannon balls. It should be noted that this movie is showing in both 3D and 2D versions and that action and fighting scenes in 3D can be very intense for young children. Examples of violence include:

  • Children play at kung fu fighting;
  • Po and the Furious Five engage in fighting with the bandits who come to take metal from a small village. Po and the five use kung fu moves to fight the bandits who use arrows and swords to fight back
  • Lord Shen treats his workers roughly, screaming, pushing them around, and often shooting daggers at them
  • Lord Shen engages in a fight with the Kung Fu masters Croc and Ox, before shooting a cannon ball into Kung Fu Master Rhino, killing him
  • Local villagers are bullied by the bandits
  • Lord Shen shoots cannon balls into a tower which explodes and collapses. Po and the ‘Furious Five’ try to escape from the tower but are shot at with flaming arrows. They run up the collapsing building, avoiding the arrows and the explosions to jump to safety;
  • Po is shot by a cannon ball. We see him hit in the stomach and thrown high in the air into the water
  • In a flashback scene, Po remembers what happened to his parents. The Pandas are attacked by Lord Shen and his bandits using swords. Po’s mother cries as she hides him in a basket
  • Lord Shen kills his deputy with daggers after he refuses to shoot a cannon ball
  • A huge fight scene on boats using cannon balls, swords and kung fu involves many explosions, big flames, boats being crushed and destroyed and bandits thrown from their boats
  • Lord Shen fights Po using daggers before being crushed by the falling mast on the boat
  • Lord Shen yells in the movie “ I will kill him”, “ How many times do I have to kill him?”, “kill him, somebody kill him”

 

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 wolves and gorillas may scare some children. The wolves are often searching at night , jumping from roof to roof and howling
  • Lord Shen’s lair with vats of molten metals and fire in barrels is a scary place.

 

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:

  • Scenes of Po’s childhood show Lord Shen aiming to rid China of all Pandas and coming after Po and his family. Po’s mother tearfully chooses to hide Po in a box of radishes – and then appears to be chased and killed by Lord Shen and the Bandits.
  • Baby Po is on his own until found by Mr Ping.

 

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 any scenes in the movie will scare or disturb children in this age group.

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 any scenes in the movie will scare or disturb children in this age group.

Product placement

None in the movie, but extensive marketing of associated merchandise

Sexual references

There are mild sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A male panda flutters an open held fan, wears a red fringe on his head and bats his eyes in an attempt to distract a menacing wolf
  • A male panda tells a female ram with a beard that he thought she was a ‘he’ because of “false advertising”

 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

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

  • Po is given acupuncture and medicine when injured

 

Coarse language

There are some putdowns in this movie, including:

  • stupid
  • wuss
  • fool
  • fat

 

In a nutshell

Kung Fu Panda 2 is an action animated sequel to the first Kung Fu Panda movie. The many violent scenes in the movie make it too scary for under 5s and some 5-8s, particularly in the 3D version. Younger children may also imitate some of the violence shown. The main messages from the film are:

  • family is important, but not always defined by blood. Your family are people who love and nurture you.
  • an individual can choose to leave behind an unhappy past and make a happy future. When Po discovers his true beginnings he can choose either to hold on to his sadness and anger towards Lord Shen or to move forward with the positive love and support that he has from Mr Ping and his friends.

Parents may also wish to discuss with their children some of the issues raised by the film, including:

  • adoption
  • misuse of power
  • meditation and finding “inner peace”
  • the use of martial arts

 

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