Australian Council on Children and the Media

Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones

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Not recommended under 10, PG to 13 (Violence; Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones
  • a review of Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 31 January 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 10-13 parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 13 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: Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Medium level violence; Adult themes
Length 142 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is set ten years after Episode I. The film opens with an assassination attempt on Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), who is now a Senator for the planet Naboo. The attempt fails but, to keep Padme safe, Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) requests that Padme be placed under the protection of the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christen). After a second attempt is made on Padme’s life, Jedi masters Yoda (voice of Frank Oz) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) assign Obi-Wan to track down the assassin. Anakin and Padme are sent to Naboo for safe keeping and their relationship develops.

Obi-Wan’s finds the assassin, a bounty hunter by the name of Jango Fett (Temuera Morison) on the planet Kamino where Obi-Wan also discovers a secret cloned army. After failing to capture the assassin, Obi-Wan follows Jango Fett to the planet Geonosis were Obi-Wan discovers the real culprit behind the assassination attempts, a Jedi master named Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), who has turned to the Dark-side of the Force.

Meanwhile, Anakin and Padme face more peril as they travel to the planet Tatooine after Anakin has premonitions that his mother is in terrible danger.

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.

Cloning; death of a parent; revenge; deception/living a lie

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.

The film contains stylised sci/fi action violence and extended battle scenes depicting war between robot droids, war machines and human clones. Several scenes depict dismemberment and several human characters are killed during the course of the film; blood and gore is almost non-existent. Examples include:

  • a perilous action sequence involves Obi-Wan jumping through the plate glass window of a high rise apartment and falling, before grabbing hold of a flying droid/machine. Obi-Wan dangles from the machine which nearly collides with other vehicles as it flies along at speed. A woman fires a laser rifle at Obi-Wan causing Obi-Wan to fall and plummet to the ground; Obi-Wan lands safely on top of another speeding vehicle.
  • A woman points a gun at Obi-Wan but before she can shoot, Obi-Wan uses his light sabre to sever her forearm; we see a quick glimpse of the woman’s forearm lying on the ground.
  • Through the film we see light sabres sever various body parts from an array of alien creatures. Alien creatures are sliced down the middle with the two halves of their body falling away. A man is decapitated by a light sabre with his helmeted head rolling away - the man’s son witnesses the event and later picks up the severed helmeted head and stares at it. Anakin has his forearm severed by a light sabre leaving a smoking stump. No blood and gore is depicted in any scene involving dismemberment.
  • A woman is shot in the neck and killed by a poisonous dart.
  • One scene depicts and extended stylised action fight between Obi-Wan and a bounty hunter including numerous kicks and punches to the body and a brutal head-butt. The bounty hunter fires his laser gun and a rocket at Obi-Wan, resulting in explosions and fire, and we see them fall from a high-rise building to dangle from a rope. Both survive uninjured.
  • One scene depicts Anakin’s mother tied to a wooden frame. She has several cuts to her face with the inference being that she had been physically abused. Anakin cuts her down and she dies in his arms; Anakin appears very distraught with tears running down his face. In a fit of intense rage, we see Anakin ruthlessly kill two humanoid aliens. The scene ends, but later we hear a distraught Anakin talking about killing entire families of aliens including women and children, saying that he slaughtered them like animals.
  • Padme, Anakin and Obi-Wan are tied to stone pillars in an arena where they are left to be killed by three monstrous alien creatures. A tiger-like creature kills a guard, shaking the guard in its jaws and then leaving the guard dead on the ground. The same creature slashes Padme across her back with its claws, leaving several long bloody gashes across her back as Padme screams.
  • One of the film’s final scenes depicts an extended battle between thousands of droid/robots and thousands of human cloned warriors during which we see copious amounts of laser fire. Missiles are fired into a giant spaceship which explodes and falls to the ground.

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:

  • Children may be disturbed by the many alien creatures, some of which are creepy and threatening in appearance with claw-like fingernails, misshapen teeth or sharp carnivorous teeth.

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:

  • One scene contains the images of thousands of cloned foetuses in large containers.
  • The scene in which a helmeted man being decapitated.  This is witnessed by his young son, who picks up the helmeted head and stares at it.

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 may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes and characters

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 are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Product placement

While no product placement occurs in the film, an array of associated toys and other merchandise has been marketed. 

Sexual references

The film contains a couple of low-level sexual inferences. Examples include:

  • In one scene we see Anakin looking at Padme with a somewhat lustful look in his eyes. Padme tells Anakin not to look at her that way as it makes her feel uncomfortable.
  • Padme asks Anakin if as a Jedi he is allowed to love and to have attachments. Anakin tells Padme that it is forbidden, but then goes on to say that compassion is central to a Jedi’s life and that you might say they are encouraged to love.
  • Anakin tells Padme that he is haunted by the kiss she should have never have given him. 
  • Padme tells Anakin that she loves him.

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains some partial nudity and mild sexual activity. Examples include:

  • Women wearing tight fitting and low-cut clothing
  • One scene depicts Anakin lightly touching Padme on her bare back following which they kiss passionately. In two later scenes we see Padme and Anakin kissing.

Use of substances

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

  • In a nightclub scene we see patrons, including Obi Wan, drinking from glasses containing multi-coloured drinks. During the same scene, a man approaches Obi-Wan and asks him if he wants to buy some “Death Sticks” and we see the man holding items that appear very similar to cigarettes. Obi-Wan refuses and sends the man away.      

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • None of concern

In a nutshell

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is science fiction action film targeting younger adolescents and older viewers but likely to be too scary for under 10s and some older children.  The film will easily entertain the target audience although the film’s running time of 142 minutes may make the film a bit long for some viewers. 

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Harbouring feeling of anger and hatred can corrupt what is good in people and causes destructive changes that bring out the worst.   

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

  • Compassion: The Jedi are taught to show companion towards others.
  • Selflessness/self sacrifice: Padme is totally selfless in the manner in which she serves the inhabitants of her home world; she is always willing to put their needs before her own. Padme also demonstrate self sacrifice when she put her own life at risk to rescue Obi-Wan.
  • Family ties: Anakin demonstrates strong family ties when he sacrifices all in an attempt to rescue his mother.

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

  • Throughout the film, Anakin demonstrates an attitude of arrogance and defiance. Parents may wish to discuss how in real life arrogant behaviour may have negative consequences. 

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