Australian Council on Children and the Media

Shrek 2

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 8 (Scary stuff)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Shrek 2
  • a review of Shrek 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 June 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to the level of scariness, some children under 8 could need some parental guidance.
Children over the age of 8 Children over 8 would 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.

Name of movie: Shrek 2
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Shrek and Fiona return blissfully from their honeymoon to receive an invitation from the King and Queen, Fiona’s parents, to the Palace in the Kingdom of Far Far Away so that they can meet her new groom and celebrate their marriage. Shrek has grave misgivings about going, but on Fiona’s insistence they head off to Far Far Away, with Donkey in tow. The King and Queen are of course horrified to meet Shrek but the Queen manages to persuade King Harold to at least give him a chance.

The wicked Fairy Godmother is dismayed to learn that Fiona has married as she had plans for her own son, Prince Charming, to marry her and inherit the throne. She therefore assembles her threatening bodyguards to ‘persuade’ Harold to get rid of Shrek so that Fiona will be free to marry Prince Charming. Together they plot Shrek’s downfall and enlist the help of Puss in Boots to get rid of him.

When that fails they devise another plan aided by the fact that Shrek has managed to steal some of Fairy Godmother’s ‘Happily Ever After’ potion. Shrek and Donkey both drink the potion which turns Shrek into a handsome man and Donkey into a gallant stallion. Fiona meanwhile has also drunk some and is turned back into a girl but is unaware of the new Shrek. Fairy Godmother uses this to her advantage and tries to infiltrate Prince Charming as the new Shrek. This results in some very interesting situations and Fiona is left with having to make the decision of who she really wants to be.

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 comic violence in this movie, all done for laughs:

  • Fiona chucks a mermaid into the sea for kissing Shrek
  • Shrek gets caught in a trap and hangs upside down
  • Fiona fights off his attackers
  • Donkey kicks Shrek by mistake
  • Fiona head butts Prince Charming
  • Fairy Godmother tries to zap Shrek with her wand but Harold gets in the way making it backfire on her. Fairy Godmother disintegrates and Harold turns into a toad.

There is a little violence that is not comic:

  • Bodyguards push Harold out of the carriage
  • Puss in Boots attacks Shrek with his long, sharp claws
  • Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots are attacked by Fairy Godmother’s soldiers who attack them with arrows.
  • Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots are held in a prison cell, hanging up by their arms, Donkey by his feet.
  • Puss in Boots sword fights with the guards

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.

Children in this age group, particularly preschoolers, might be scared by the above scenes and by the appearance of Shrek and Fiona who are green ogres. In one scene Shrek growls fiercely at a dog. The following scenes might also scare children in this age group:

  • The Fairy Godmother enchants Fiona’s bedroom and all the furniture starts moving around nearly crushing Fiona.
  • The bodyguards are tough, intimidating characters.
  • A one eyed creature opens the door to the inn – quite scary looking.
  • A headless creature is drinking at the bar.
  • Harold goes to a room to find Puss in Boots – the room is in darkness except for the Cat’s eyes shining brightly.
  • A giant gingerbread man is created to help attack the city walls.

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 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 in this age group would not be scared by this movie.

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 in this age group would not be scared by this movie.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There is some mild sexual innuendo and the Ugly Stepsister, who is a transvestite, falls for Prince Charming.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity.

Use of substances

There is some drinking at the inn.
Also there is drinking of potions which change people and their desires.

Coarse language

There is occasional use of the word ‘bloody’.

In a nutshell

The take home message is that a person’s worth lies in his or her character rather than their appearance.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • loyalty
  • determination
  • equal gender roles – Fiona is well able to take care of herself (and Shrek)
  • empathy
  • not to be fooled by appearance
  • genuineness
  • kindness
  • not being afraid to be oneself.

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