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Short takes

Parental guidance under 5s (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Robots
  • a review of Robots completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 March 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Due to the level of scariness, children under 5 might need some parental guidance.
Children over the age of 5 Children over the age of 5 should be okay to see this movie 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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Robots
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length: 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Rodney Copperbottom (voice talent Ewan McGregor) is lovingly brought up by his mother and father to believe that he should follow his dreams. Rodney wants to grow up to be an inventor. He plans to travel to Robot City to meet Mr. Bigweld (Mel Brooks) who hosts a television programme for new inventions and whose gate is ‘never closed to new ideas’. Rodney’s new invention is a clever little robot who can do menial tasks very quickly. When Rodney is old enough, he catches the train/ plane to Robot City to show it to Bigweld. When he arrives he is disappointed to find he is not allowed in to see Bigweld and soon discovers that Bigweld’s enterprise has been taken over by the wicked Ratchet who is only interested in making money.

Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) is driven by his even more evil mother whose plan is to make all robots upgrade to new bodies rather than repair their old ones. Consequently they destroy all spare parts and robots left wandering the streets at night are taken to the Chop Shop where they are melted down for scrap metal. Ratchet markets his new campaign as “why be you when you can be new”. Rodney sees the wickedness of the plan and starts repairing all the broken robots. He soon becomes the robots’ representative and Ratchet’s number one enemy. Together with his new friend Fender (Robin Williams), Rodney rallies the other robots to overthrow Ratchet’s Industries.

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 some violence in this movie, mostly of a comic nature with no real consequence:

  • Ratchet kicks Rodney and his invention out of the window
  • Ratchet hits Bigweld with a pan
  • There is a battle scene between Ratchet and his huge machines and the other robots.

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, the following might scare younger children in this age group:

  • When Rodney’s parents are ‘making’ him as a baby, the father takes a large hammer to add his ‘boy part’ and Rodney cries.
  • Ratchet’s mother is a large evil looking robot with yellow eyes and a deep voice.
  • Fender keeps losing his head and body
  • Rodney and Fender get swept up in a sea of dominoes
  • Robot City is full of mechanical transportation, which appears at times to go off track; it seems as if Rodney will crash on one of these machines.
  • In the Chop Shop, there’s a large furnace and Fender and Bigweld both almost end up in it. The wicked mother does end up there.
  • Ratchet’s father is kept suspended by a rope.

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 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.

Children over the age of eight would realise it is only fantasy and would not be scared by this movie.

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.

None of concern.

Sexual references


Nudity and sexual activity


Use of substances

A robot is shown smoking a cigar and there is drinking at a ball.

Coarse language


In a nutshell

The movie’s main messages are that good defeats evil and to follow one’s dreams.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • believing in one’s self
  • something ‘new’ isn’t necessarily better
  • bodies don’t need to look perfect.