Australian Council on Children and the Media

Shaun the Sheep Movie

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Short takes

Not recommended under 4, parental guidance recommended 4-7 (Scary and upsetting scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • a review of Shaun the Sheep Movie completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 March 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 4 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children aged 4 to 7 Parental guidance recommended due to scary and upsetting scenes
Children aged 7 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.

Name of movie: Shaun the Sheep Movie
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Some scary scenes
Length 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Shaun is a sheep who lives with his fellow sheep on a farm in the English countryside. One day Shaun gets bored with his daily routine so, with the help of his animal friends, he decides to kidnap the farmer while he is still sleeping and lock him in a caravan. Shaun and the sheep are then going to have a day of fun, but it all goes wrong.  The caravan rolls away and the farmer ends up lost in the city without any memory of who he is.

Shaun, his sheep friends and the farmer’s dog must venture into the big city to find the farmer and bring him back. But will Shaun and the sheep be able to find the farmer before they are captured by Animal Containment?

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.

Separation from family member; Cruelty to animals; Family member in hospital

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 including:

  • The animal containment man catches Shaun and puts him in the animal shelter with some evil looking animals. After Shaun escapes, the man vows to kill Shaun and he chases after him with an electrocution gun. He finally catches Shaun and the other sheep at the farm and tries to kill them by throwing them into a quarry. Shaun and the farmer manage to save the day but these scenes may be distressing for young children.
  • Shaun and the other sheep are chased by a scary bull

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:

  • There are some slapstick comedy scenes in this movie. For example, the farmer accidentally hits the dog in the face with the door every morning. These scenes are supposed to be funny but they may be a little startling for some children.
  • The farmer’s caravan starts to roll away with the farmer asleep inside. The caravan crashes through bushes, almost runs over a cow and is almost hit by a train. In the process the farmer gets a head injury and is taken to hospital.
  • The farmer wakes up in hospital and does not remember who he is. When Shaun eventually finds the farmer he doesn’t remember who Shaun is either. These scenes are a bit sad because Shaun doesn’t understand that the farmer has lost his memory and he thinks that the farmer doesn’t love him anymore.
  • The Animal Containment man is scary and may frighten some children.

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.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared or upset by some of the scenes listed above.

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 of concern

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the movie, but plenty of associated merchandise being marketed to children.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The Animal Containment man flirts with one of the sheep when she is dressed as a woman.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • The sheep dressed as a woman kisses the animal containment man to distract him
  • The farmer poses nude for a magazine cover, but you can only see his chest, arms and legs.

Use of substances

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

  • social drinking at a restaurant

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Based on the popular television show, Shaun the Sheep Movie is a funny adventure story about getting lost in a big city. Parents should be aware that, as in the television show, there is no talking in the film and it may be a bit boring for older children. Because of some scary and upsetting scenes, the film is not recommended for under fours and parental guidance is recommended for children aged four to seven.

The main message from this movie is that sometimes a little change is good but that you should also appreciate what you have.

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

  • bravery
  • loyalty
  • intelligence
  • kindness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children what happens in real life animal protection agencies and animal shelters.  

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