Australian Council on Children and the Media

Star Wars Episode VI: The return of the Jedi

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13, Violence and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Star Wars Episode VI: The return of the Jedi
  • a review of Star Wars Episode VI: The return of the Jedi completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 February 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 8 -13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary 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 VI: The return of the Jedi
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sience fiction violence
Length 137 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) returns to his home planet to rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who is still frozen in carbonite, from the monstrous Jabba the Hut (voice of Larry Ward). Meanwhile Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Lando (Billy Dee Williams) also mount their own rescue plan. The three eventually manage to escape with Han and destroy Jabba’s palace in the process. It is then that they learn that the Galactic Empire has almost completed a new death star, far worse than the first. They travel to Endor to demolish the shield that is protecting the death star so that they can destroy it.

On Endor they encounter the Ewoks, furry little creatures that live like primitive tribesmen. The Ewoks at first are defensive towards the newcomers but when they realise their plan they join with the rebels to destroy the Empire’s death star. Meanwhile Luke, now almost a full fledged Jedi, has to confront his father to complete his mission.

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.

Good versus evil

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:

  • space ship battle scenes and laser  gun battles
  • Jabba has a harem of female dancers – when he tires of one, a trapdoor opens and she falls to her death.
  • Jabba picks up one of the guards and eats him.
  • Luke is put in a cell with a Rancor – a huge dinosaur type creature who slobbers and tries to grab at Luke with its claws. Luke gets away by ramming a rod down its throat and shutting the spiked gate on its head, killing it.
  • Princess Leia strangles Jabba with the chain.
  • Princess Leia is hit during a battle but is rescued by the Ewoks.
  • The Ewoks capture Han and Luke, tie them up and carry them on poles. They are going to roast them over a fire before they are saved by CP30.
  • Darth Vader and Luke battle with lasers – Luke cuts off Darth Vader’s arm.
  • Darth Vader picks the Emperor up, crushes him and throws him to his death.

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 eight, including the following:

  • Jabba the Hut is a huge reptilian creature with a tongue that continually flicks out around his mouth.
  • Several aliens in Jabba’s palace – many strange shapes and sizes - look very scary. Also the guards are fierce looking beasts with long fangs and axes.
  • The Emperor is hooded in black with an evil, wrinkled, pale face and red eyes.
  • Darth Vader is a very menacing character –covered in a black armoured suit complete with face covering. He breathes very heavily which makes him sound scary
  • Chewbacca is led away with a chain around his neck.
  • Princess Leia is chained to Jabba’s lap and forced to wear a bikini.
  • Yoda dies ( peacefully in his sleep).
  • One of the Ewoks is killed during a battle.
  • Luke is in a lot of pain from electrical impulses and cries out to his father to help him.
  • Luke removes Darth Vader’s mask and sees his father’s face which is quite swollen, pasty and with red eyes.
  • Darth Vader dies and Luke burns him on a funeral pyre.

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 are also likely to be disturbed by some of 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.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Some children in this age group could be disturbed by the final battle in this movie between the Emperor, Luke and Darth Vader. It is quite intense and involves philosophical complexities concerning good and evil.

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.

OK for this age group

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Jabba the Hut’s harem is made up of scantily clad women in a state of servitude.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Star Wars Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi is the final episode of the original Star Wars Trilogy. It reaches its conclusion in an intense climactic battle between good and evil forces. The Star Wars Trilogy is classic science fiction and a great adventure series for older children and adolescents.

The main message from this movie is that evil cannot be overcome by evil but can be overcome by good.

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

  • patience and self-discipline
  • courage
  • self sacrifice
  • finding good in what appears to be evil

 This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as their own beliefs are about good and evil and the use of force to defend one’s beliefs and to oppose evil.

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