Australian Council on Children and the Media

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

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Not recommended under 13, parental guidance recommended 13-14 due to violence and disturbing scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • a review of Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 December 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 13 to 14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Viewers 14 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 VIII: The Last Jedi
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction violence
Length 152 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The latest Star Wars film follows on from where Episode VII ends. Princes Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is leading the remnants of the rebel force to a new base of operations. Unfortunately for the rebels, General Huk (Domhnall Gleeson) of the First Order has developed the ability to track ships through hyper-space and has set a trap. So when the rebels reach the location of their new base the First Order, including Supreme Commander Snoke (Andy Serkis), is right behind them.

The First Order fires on the rebels who manage to stay just out of range, creating a short-lived stalemate with the rebels low on fuel. Meanwhile Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been sent by Leia to track down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and bring him back to help rebuild the resistance.

As both fuel and time run out, rebel Commander Poe (Oscar Isac), recovered Finn (John Boyega) and technician Rose Tico (Kelly Marientran) hatch a crazy and daring plan to raid the First Order’s communications ship. And before the film ends we see violent showdowns between Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey, and Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker, both with unexpected outcomes.

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; family relationships; rebellion; science fiction fantasy

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 last Jedi contains intense extended sequences of violence and peril throughout, including threats to young children, multiple deaths (some gruesome) and the mass destruction of property. Examples include:

  • The film depicts a number of space battles involving hundreds of ships of all shapes and sizes during which we see all manner of sci-fi weapons and lasers filling the screen with flashes of light, explosions and balls of fire. In one scene several massive rebel bombers filled with thousands of bombs are hit by enemy fire and explode. The ships and some crew are engulfed in flames and men are thrown through the air like rag dolls. Numerous small ships engage in battle and the screen is filled with warring ships. Dozens of ships explode in flames with the occupants killed instantly or hurled into space.
  • A massive rebel battle ship (in a suicide attack) deliberately rams into a First Order battle ship with the explosion and resulting devastation depicted in slow motion.   
  • An injured woman deliberately triggers an explosive device that kills her and destroys her ship along with an enemy ship.
  • A young man throws a child-like tantrum, violently smashing his helmet against a wall several times until it is completely broken and in pieces. 
  • In one scene a man contemplates murdering his mother but stops before committing the act.
  • A massive explosion destroys the command station on a battleship. A woman is caught up in the explosion and sucked out into space; we see her motionless ice-covered body floating in space. Her fingers move slightly and then she begins to float back towards a battleship where she is rescued and eventually revived.
  • In one scene we see a group of destitute looking children and see an alien man raise a whip as if to beat one of the children; we do not see the child whipped but the act is inferred.
  • Reference is made to animals being tormented and abused for the pleasure of others and horse-like animals are ridden and whipped. 
  • An alien orders a man to kill a woman, but the man stabs the alien in the torso with a lightsabre, A thin line appears and then the alien’s torso falls away from the lower half of his body; no blood and gore is depicted.
  • In a fight with lightsabres, the lightsabres slice and pierce armour leaving black gaping cuts and holes with one man decapitated and another stabbed through the head.

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 usual Star Wars array of alien creatures from gigantic dinosaur-like creatures, to rodent-like horses, owl-like penguins, crystal haired foxes and humanoids with tentacles protruding from their faces
  • images of armoured soldiers/warriors that younger children may find scary
  • the lead villain who has a demonic face with numerous scars covering his face and is  threatening and sinister
  • a large alien dinosaur-like creature rests on its back with four large breasts visible on its torso. A man approaches the creature, pumps milk from its breast and drinks it.
  • A young woman falls into a hole in the ground and is trapped in a glass refection of herself that repeats over and over again.

 

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

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.

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie, but parental guidance is recommended for younger teens.

Product placement

None in the movie itself, but as it is part of the Star Wars franchise, there will be plenty of associated merchandise, including that being marketed to children too young to see the film.

Sexual references

There are some mild sexual references and innuendo in this movie, including:

  • One man says to another “Get your head out of your cockpit”.
  • Reference to the “seed” of the Jedi existing.

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

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

  • One party scene in which we see aliens and humans holding glasses filled with cocktails.
  • We hear how a man and woman sold their child for drinking money.

Coarse language

The film contains some occasional low-level coarse language and name calling. Examples include:

  • filth; war criminal; rebel scum; skinny; murderous snake; traitor; coward; chrome dome; bloody; damn it; murdering bastard, hell; big-arse door

In a nutshell

The last Jedi, the latest in the Star Wars series, is a science fiction adventure that targets teens and adults, with new and familiar heroes, a suspense-filled story and some clever humour. Younger children are likely to be attracted to the film by advertising in the school holidays and the availability of toys and other merchandise, but the M-rating is appropriate and the film is not recommended for children under 13 and parental guidance is recommended for young teens.

The main messages from this movie is that participating in war is not about fighting what we hate, but about defending and saving what we love.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include courage, independence and leadership.  

Parents may wish to discuss the over-eagerness with which some of the film’s leading characters were willing to sacrifice their lives to achieve their goals and what the consequences of those choices would be in real life.

 

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