Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life

image for Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life

Short takes

Not recommended under 6; parental guidance recommended 6 to 8 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 Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life
  • a review of Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 November 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 6 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 9 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Robinson Crusoe (voice of Matthias Schweighöfer) is shipwrecked on a rocky island along with his good friend Aynsley, the dog (voice of Doug Stone). Believing they are the only survivors, Crusoe and Aynsley set out for the shore where a group of terrified creatures watch what they think are sea monsters coming to destroy their beautiful paradise. Mack the parrot (voice of David Howard Thornton) is more adventurous than most and sets out to find out more about these ‘monsters’.

Unfortunately Crusoe and Aynsley weren’t the only survivors to reach the island. Two nasty cats, May (voice of Debi Tinsley) and Mal (voice of Jeff Doucette) also reach the shore. While Crusoe is befriending the group of frightened island animals with the help of Mack, who he renames Tuesday, May and Mal and their litter of kittens set out to destroy all life on the island.


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.

Shipwrecks; survival; animals in peril; death of a pet

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 a lot of violence in this movie, some of it intended to be humerous.

Slapstick violence includes:

  • Mal tries to get into the chicken cage and gets his head stuck in the bars.
  • Mal and May constantly fight and May often jumps on Mal’s head.
  • Crusoe tries to fire a musket, which backfires on him, knocking him out.

 More serious violence includes:

  • A pirate kicks a cat
  • Pirates shoot pistols indiscriminately and throw knives for fun.
  • Pirates hit Crusoe and the Captain attacks Tuesday with a large knife.
  • One of the cats attacks and bites Crusoe who then throws it down the stairs.
  • The cats are always on the attack – they attack Tuesday and have him pinned down when Aynsley saves him. This is a constant theme throughout the movie.
  • May, Mal and their family of starving kittens go on a rampage. They attack all the animals and there is a lengthy scene of fighting between the animals and the cats. It appears that their lives are in peril but no one dies. At one point all the cats attack Crusoe.
  • Rosy the tapir accidentally knocks Crusoe out while trying to escape. The animals fire the musket at the cats and it hits the tree house with Crusoe unconscious inside. The tree house explodes and Crusoe looks as if he’s dead.
  • The pirates attack Crusoe with an assortment of weapons: swords; knives, axes etc.

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:

  • Mal and May are very scary looking cats – scrawny and mean with evil looking eyes.
  • The pirates are all scary looking with eye-patches, crutches, etc and are loud and menacing.
  • Robinson Crusoe is seen hanging by his belt from a hook, which is what prevented him from falling to the ground, however, this is not obvious at the start of the film.

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:

  • Crusoe is shown vomiting several times over the edge of a ship.
  • A huge storm hits the ship and a nearby island. A group of animal friends are all scared and try to find shelter from the storm. Some of them fall off a cliff edge and are hanging from a tree. They fall but are unhurt.
  • The ship is tossed around in the waves and Crusoe slides all over the deck being hit by several objects. He saves Aynsley from being washed overboard. Then Crusoe is hit by the ship’s mast, knocking him unconscious and he falls to the bottom of the boat. This is quite a scary scene.
  • May starts a fire on the ship while Crusoe and Aynsley are getting supplies. The ship goes up in flames and Crusoe manages to escape but Aynsley perishes in the fire. Crusoe buries him on the island. This is a very sad scene.
  • The scene where Crusoe is unconscious in the burning tree house is quite 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.

Younger children in this age group could also be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes particularly Aynsley the dog dying.

Thirteen and overinfo

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

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

  • The Captain and the pirates are seen frequently drinking rum. They force Crusoe and Tuesday to drink some.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • A couple of uses of the word ‘bloody’

In a nutshell

Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life is an animated version of this classic tale. In this version, however, Crusoe is shown as inept and unable to survive without the help of his animal friends. Due to frequent violence and some scary scenes, the film is not recommended for children under six and parental guidance is recommended for 6 to 8 year olds. However, there are some good underlying messages that parents could talk about with their children and children are likely to enjoy the animal characters.

The main message from this movie is that a community consists of many different individuals who all depend on each other to survive and must work together.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the importance of looking after the environment and the environmental damage that cats actually do to the ecosystem.