Australian Council on Children and the Media

Spy Kids

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Not recommended for children under 7, Parental guidance recommended for children aged 7-11(Violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Spy Kids
  • a review of Spy Kids completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 26 July 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended for children under the age of 7 due to violence
Children 7-11 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, some of which may be imitated.
Children over 11 Should be okay to watch 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: Spy Kids
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Low level violence
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Families usually have secrets, but Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino) have kept a huge one from their children, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) – they used to be international spies!  Its only when they are kidnapped that the kids find out their parents are not as boring as first thought!

Carmen and Juni must overcome their sibling bickering to work together to save their parents from the evil Floop (Alan Cumming) and his ‘Thumb Thumbs’ and to save the world from his plans to launch an army of robot spy children, invincible to all humans!

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 parents; Children as victims; Espionage

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.

Spy Kids contains scenes involving children fighting which may be imitated, for example:

  • Carmen kicks her brother on the bottom, pushes him and makes him fall off the monkey bars
  • A boy tells Juni that “my dad was going to beat up your dad”
  • A robot child trips up an adult and holds his arm so tightly that he says it hurts
  • A robot child throws Juni onto the roundabout and makes it spin uncontrollably
  • Another robot child punches Carmen in the face so that she becomes unconscious

Other violent scenes in Spy Kids include:

  • Carmen and Juni are rushed to a safe house after their house is attacked by masked men, who smash windows and fight (kicking and hitting) with their uncle
  • The masked men then smash through a wall and pursue the children in boats. Their boat smashes through another boat.
  • People with guns enter the safe house and threaten Carmen and Juni.
  • Helicopters fly closely overhead at a wedding, causing people to jump out of the way, over tables. The bride and groom put on parachutes and jump off a cliff into an awaiting speedboat
  • A father yells out to his child “show ‘em who is boss” after he makes a snide comment to Juni. In a dream sequence Gregorio imagines hitting the boy’s father in the face so hard that he is thrown against the building into a window
  • Gregorio and Ingrid drive off a cliff and plunge into the water where their car turns into a submarine
  • We see Ingrid and Gregorio imprisoned and tied tightly to chairs
  • Juni uses a jet pack to lift a man up into a fan
  • A woman is hit with an out of control jet pack and she is pushed into a wall. It then sets her hair on fire
  • Carmen and Juni's plane crashes after she hits him, forcing the plane off course. They evacuate before the plane crashes on to rocks
  • Carmen spits ‘electroshock gum’ on a ‘Thumb Thumb’ which paralyses him
  • The robot children are told to “tear them limb from limb” (the Cortez family)
  • Gregorio joins the family by smashing through a window

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:

  • The mutant henchmen of Floop and the ‘Thumb Thumbs’ may be scary for younger children
  • We see a man with a contraption on his head transformed into a cartoon-like character with hugely dysmorphic features
  • The robot children are shown close up with glowing eyes
  • The image of the female baddie after having her hair burnt in patches
  • The setting of ‘Floop’s castle’ is quite unusual and may disturb some preschool children
  • Many explosions and people falling

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:

  • Carmen and Juni are alone when their parents are kidnapped by Floop
  • Juni falls from his sister’s arm while flying. She rushes down to save him from falling
  • The robot children fighting with the real Carmen and Juni
  • When the children are in their submarine, they pass a couple of sharks which are seen close up through the porthole. Carmen tells Juni to close his eyes.

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 may also be disturbed by some of the scenes described above.

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.

It is unlikely that children in this age group will be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • a McDonald’s meal

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A woman is seen wearing a tight dress
  • Ingrid flirts with Gregorio by whispering in his ear

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Gregorio and Ingrid kiss on a couple of occasions

Use of substances

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

  • Adults are briefly seen drinking wine

Coarse language

There are some coarse language and putdowns in this movie, including:

  • stupid,  useless, meat head, booger breath, wart boy, diaper lady
  • shi…….take mushrooms! (almost a swear word but turned into shitake)
  • Oh my God

In a nutshell

Spy Kids is an action packed movie with a brother and sister having to step up and work together to save their parents and the world from an evil plan. Along the way they encounter plenty of clever spy gadgets and learn the tricks of the world of espionage.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • The importance of family and working together: Ingrid comments that she misses the ‘adventure’ of being a spy but its keeping her family together that is her biggest challenge.
  • The importance of honesty:  Keeping secrets in the family caused problems but once the secrets were out in the open, the family worked through them together.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their childrenbullying

  • genetic engineering (cloning, mutation)
  • international espionage

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