Secret Magic Control Agency

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Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 8 (frequent action violence, themes of threat and peril)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Secret Magic Control Agency
  • a review of Secret Magic Control Agency completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 October 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to frequent action violence and themes of threat and peril, as well as the complexity and length of the movie.
Children aged 6–8 Parental guidance recommended due to frequent action violence and themes of threat and peril, as well as the complexity and length of the movie.
Children over the age of 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: Secret Magic Control Agency
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild Themes, Mild Violence, Scary Scenes
Length: 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Once upon a time in a faraway magical kingdom, a tasting of the dishes for his upcoming birthday celebration goes pear-shaped for the King when he gets kidnapped by a spaghetti monster. As there is clearly some black magic involved, the Secret Magic Control Agency steps in, with top agent, Gretel (voiced by Courtney Shaw), entrusted to find the criminal and retrieve the King. Much to Gretel’s dislike, the head of the agency, Agent Stepmother (voiced by Georgette Reilly), instructs her to recruit her estranged brother, Hansel (voiced by Nicholas Chorda and Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld), to the case – taking advantage of his knowledge as a talented charlatan and con-artist. On their quest, Gretel and Hansel accidentally come in contact with a magic potion that transforms them back to being children. Of course, this does not stop them and they even seek advice from Baba Yaga, a wise but dangerous witch who then captures and wants to eat them. Finally, they discover who is behind the scheme: Ilvira (voiced by Erica Schroeder), who used to work as a chef at the King’s castle, is planning to bewitch the King and the entire country with her magic love cookies, so that she can become Queen. Will Hansel and Gretel be able to stop her, and sort through their personal differences?

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.

Animated; Fantasy action; Comedy; Secret Agent story; Family.

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 frequent cartoon, action-violence in this movie, including:

  • Characters get kidnapped and held captive.
  • Characters get bewitched and transformed.
  • Characters get into physical fights featuring comedy action violence – no serious harm or blood on display.
  • Characters are threatened to get killed / eaten / thrown in an oven.

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:

  • Fires, chases and explosions.
  • Frequent use of magic, including black magic, which might be triggering for children who are sensitive to supernatural goings-on.
  • Baba Yaga – a well-known mythical witch-type figure in Slavic folklore – captures Hansel and Gretel, sharpens a knife and prepares to cook and eat them.
  • While the exact circumstances aren’t revealed, Hansel and Gretel lost their parents at a young age.

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:

  • The above-mentioned scenes and images are likely to scare or disturb children in this age group.

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Ilvira and the King exchange a few kisses on the lips. Ilvira’s appearance is voluptuous and sexy, with a fifties-inspired outfit accentuating her figure.

Use of substances

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

  • Magic potions and love cookies that alter the mind.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Jerk.

In a nutshell

Secret Magic Control Agency is an English-language, Russian, animated, action-comedy and an interesting blend of the classic German fairy-tale, Hansel and Gretel, Slavic folklore and a James Bond-type secret agent story. The witch in the original Hansel and Gretel story, for example, is incorporated as Baba Yaga – a supernatural being who often takes the form of an old woman or witch, who is wise and sometimes helpful, but also cunning and dangerous, and, like in Grimms’ fairy-tale, she wants to eat the children. Other characters remind us of James Bond’s “M” and “Q”. Underlying the non-stop action is a fair bit of humour, and also a predictable yet important interpersonal story unfolding between the estranged siblings, Hansel and Gretel. There are a lot of positive messages, and the film is likely to amuse and entertain both children and parents, however, frequent action violence and themes of threat and peril make it unsuitable for very young children and warrant parental guidance for children aged 6 to 8.

The main messages from this movie are that you achieve more when you work as a team and that you should be careful making assumptions.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork
  • Family cohesion
  • Courage
  • Resourcefulness
  • Kindness
  • Being honest.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Seeking revenge – Ilvira is holding a grudge and is seeking revenge, and she is prepared to use improper means (black magic, lying, threats, coercion, violence etc.) to get her way. This backfires badly and ultimately she fails miserably.