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Short takes

Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Viol. Scary scenes. Theme)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Stormbreaker
  • a review of Stormbreaker completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 September 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence, scary scenes and theme
Children aged 8-13 Not recommended due to violence and theme
Children over the age of 13 Parental guidance recommended

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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Stormbreaker
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate action violence
Length: 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Based on the Anthony Horowitz series, Stormbreaker is a ‘James Bond’ for teenagers where a teenager is the hero. Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer) is an orphan who is brought up by his Uncle, Ian Rider (Ewan McGregor) and his housekeeper Jack Albright (Alicia Silverstone). His uncle is rarely home and therefore he relies mainly on Jack. Alex believes his Uncle has a boring job in a bank. In reality Ian Rider is a spy for MI6. This job gets him killed.

At his uncle’s funeral, Alex is confused by the number of people around who are carrying guns and by the behaviour of his uncle’s work colleagues. As they leave the cemetery, Jack notices a van taking all Ian Rider’s belongings. Alex chases this van and what happens next eventually leads him into MI6 where he is coerced into following his uncle’s footsteps by becoming a spy.

His job is to infiltrate the headquarters of the computer magnate Darius Sayle (Mickey Rourke) who is planning to donate his supercomputer ‘Stormbreaker’ to every British school. MI6 suspect his generosity and believe he has an ulterior motive. It is up to Alex to find out what is truly going on and ultimately stop Darius Sayle’s unpleasant plan.


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.

Crime-fighting, Death of a family member

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:

  • men on motorbikes shoot, are shot at and blow things up
  • Alex’s uncle is shot while driving his car
  • Alex fights five ugly looking characters using martial arts techniques
  • Alex nearly gets crushed in a car
  • during the start of his combat training, Alex is attacked by one of the soldiers but defends himself
  • the virtual reality program is scary
  • Darius Sayle threatens to kill Alex
  • Alex is tied up and has knives thrown at him
  • Alex is thrown in a tank with a giant killer jellyfish
  • Alex uses an automatic machine gun to shoot the Stormbreaker launch button
  • Alex is hanging onto a cable off a tall building while Darius Sayle is trying to shoot him.

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 may be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

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.

All of the above scenes may worry children aged five to eight and in fact could pose more of a problem than the under five age group as they are more likely to understand the consequences of  the death of Alex’s uncle. They may find Nadia Vole and Mr Grin even more frightening, not just because of their appearance but also due to their behaviour.

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 aged eight to thirteen, particularly those closer to the age of eight years could be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Thirteen and overinfo

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 any scenes in this movie would scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement


Sexual references


Nudity and sexual activity


Use of substances


Coarse language


In a nutshell

Stormbreaker is a classic action thriller genre where the ‘good guys’ beat the ‘baddies’ in the end. Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • teamwork
  • trust
  • commitment.