Australian Council on Children and the Media

Pacifier, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8s, PG to 13 (Viol. Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pacifier, The
  • a review of Pacifier, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 April 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Some violent scenes, scenes in which children are under threat, and the death of a parent character may be scary or upsetting for children under 8.
Children aged 8-13 This film would be suitable for children 8-13 years with parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Children aged 13 years and over would be able to see this film 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: Pacifier, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Medium level violence
Length 95 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Experienced navy SEAL Lieutenant Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel) leads a mission to rescue Professor Howard Plummer, who has invented a ‘top secret’ military tracking device, GHOST. Events go awry and Professor Plummer is killed, with the GHOST device still missing. Suspecting that clues to its whereabouts may be hidden at Professor Plummer’s home, Shane is sent there to find it. In the process, he is given the task of protecting Professor Plummer’s five children and their nanny Helga (Carol Kane), while their mother (Faith Ford) goes to Zurich to discover what Professor Plummer has hidden in a safe deposit box there.

Neither Shane nor the grieving children, Zoe, Seth, Lulu, Peter and baby Tyler, are pleased with this turn of events. Shane is particularly upset by what he perceives as the lack discipline and respect in the children and tries to enforce his military standards to achieve order, while monitoring the children’s safety and find the GHOST device. Shane’s rules meet strong resistance and mutinous behaviour from the children, made worse with the comical resignation of Helga.

After a frightening break-in by two masked assailants, during which Shane defends the family, the children come to respect Shane’s authority and advise. He also learns more of the problems that each of them face, and in time, learns lessons himself about family and parenting. When Mrs Plummer returns home, she and the children must work together with Shane one more time to finally solve the mystery of who was responsible for their father’s death and the location of the GHOST device.

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 are a number of violent scenes in this movie:

  • an attack on a boat with grenades. The resultant explosion flings men from the boat, a boat to helicopter missile is launched, the helicopter explodes, there is fighting between soldiers (with punching, hitting, threats with a knife), jet skis crashing into each other and exploding.
  • Helga, the nanny, has a heavy fall down the stairs, but is not seriously hurt. When she later quits the job, Shane gets into a physical fight with her to prevent her from leaving. She punches and bites him. This scene is preformed for comical effect.
  • While Lulu and her fellow ‘Fireflies’ are trying to sell cookies at a local supermarket, the competing boys group (the Junior Grizzlies) destroy their stand. Later in the movie, the girls fight back and are seen to punch, kick and force cookies into the boys mouths.
  • Two Kung Fu experts, dressed in black and balaclavas, break in the family’s home and get into a fight with Shane. This results in a lot of property damage but is somewhat comical, as the children’s toys are adapted to defeat the intruders.
  • Shane and the school’s vice-principal participate in a wrestling match. The vice-principal loses the fight, and the injuries he experiences are shown as humorous.
  • Shane is again involved in a fight with the Korean Kung Fu experts and gets knocked out. More physical fighting occurs inside the vault where the GHOST programme is hidden. Mrs Plummer also gets into the fight, punching one of the Koreans.
  • The children kick the other Korean, then spray and hit his face with a fire extinguisher.
  • The school principal also attacks and punches the Korean Kung Fu expert.

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 scenes, there are a number of scenes which may be scary for younger viewers :

  • Early in the movie, Professor Plummer is shown gagged and bound to a chair. He looks tired and scared.
  • The rescue helicopter pilot is shown to be dead (slumped forward in seat). Shane is then shot at, while witnessing Professor Plummer’s death (not shown).
  • Ominous sounding music in a few scenes suggest that the Plummers and their house are being watched.
  • A man dressed in black is seen climbing outside the Plummers’ house at night. We later learn this is Zoe’s boyfriend.
  • Seth doesn’t respond to Shane’s request to open his bedroom door, so Shane kicks the door down. The children look shocked.
  • The school vice-principal calls Zoe and Seth ‘the worst students in the school’ and in particular, is quite mean and intimidating to Seth. Seth is also bullied by other students at the school.
  • Lulu and her Firefly (like Brownies) friends are intimidated by the Junior Grizzlies at the shops. The girls appear to be frightened by the boys’ tactics and run away from them.
  • Shane accidentally leaves toddler, Peter, behind at the amusement arcade. (Treated comically).
  • Shane comes home to find that Zoe and her boyfriend have thrown a party at the Plummers’ house. Very loud and noisy.
  • Zoe is shown in one scene to be crying because she misses her father.
  • Shane is assaulted and forced at gunpoint to enter a dangerous and scary chamber to retrieve the GHOST device. At the same time the children are tied up in the house and their captor yells at them.
  • One of the Korean intruders has her face singed and the other is involved in a bad car accident.

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 disturbed or scared by the above-mentioned scenes.

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.

Some children in the 8 to 13 age bracket could be disturbed by some of the above 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.

Children over the age of 13 are not likely to be frightened by this movie.

Product placement

Huggies nappies are used in one scene in which the baby is changed.

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Use of substances

Shane was shown drinking a beverage from a can at night after the children had gone to bed, but it was not explicit that the beverage was alcohol.

Coarse language

No coarse language is used in this movie (although the put-downs ‘loser’ and ‘jerk’ were used).

In a nutshell

The film’s take home message is the importance and value of family. Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • respect
  • discipline
  • looking after and showing love to your family
  • being able to defend yourself against bullies
  • equal gender roles
  • working together as a team
  • working hard to achieve your goals.

The following content could be used by parents to discuss with their children what their own family’s values are, and what the real life consequences can be of some actions and attitudes, such as:

  • violence as a way to solve conflict.
  • disrespect shown to adults and overt disobedience.
  • name calling and teasing.
  • dangerous driving (under duress!) of young driver, as well as the adult characters.

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