Australian Council on Children and the Media

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT)

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 11 (Viol., Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT)
  • a review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 March 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 This movie is not recommended for children under 8 due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 8-11 Parental guidance recommended, particularly for younger children, due to scary scenes and violence
Children over the age of 11 Most children in this age group should be able to watch this film 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: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT)
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence
Length 84 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Brothers Leonardo (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), Donatello (voiced by Mitchell Whitfield), Raphael (voiced by Nolan North), and Michelangelo (voiced by Mikey Kelley) are mutant ninja turtles whose purpose is to work together to fight evil.

The story opens with a 3000 year old legend where a great warrior accesses a portal to the stars. This action allows him to live forever but as a consequence his army and his generals are turned to stone and 13 monsters are released on the earth.

We then move to the present where the people in a South American village are being intimidated and bullied by a group of soldiers who are supposedly protecting them from a ghost in the jungle. This ghost is Leonardo who has been sent by the sensei – Master Splinter (Mako) to learn about leadership but instead is secretly fighting the soldiers so that he can help the villagers.

April O'Neil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) arrives in the jungle looking for a rare and ancient stone statue for a rich collector – Max Winters (Patrick Stewart). While there, she finds Leonardo who is an old friend and tries to persuade him to come back as his brothers don’t seem to have a purpose and they need him to help get them working as a team again.

Leonardo returns to New York and finds two of his brothers trying to be good citizens by doing everyday jobs and Raphael who sleeps all day but secretly becomes a vigilante at night and catches criminals. Casey Jones (Chris Evans) who is April’s boyfriend discovers Raphael’s true identity and occasionally helps him with his vigilante work.

In the meantime April and Casey deliver the statue to Max Winters who turns out to be the warrior from the opening scenes. He is collecting the stone generals in an attempt to reassemble his military team and rid the earth of the 13 monsters. However to achieve his final goal he needs the help of the turtles.

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.

Sibling rivalry

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:

  • An epic battle featuring the warrior and his generals using swords (no blood seen).
  • Solders with guns intimidate the villagers, steal from them and push one of the women to the ground.
  • Soldiers are attacked by a ‘ghost’ in the jungle (it turns out that this is Leonardo but the scene is quite creepy)
  • Raphael rounds up some criminals and after fighting these people using his chain as a weapon, ties them up and strings them upside down, hanging from the chain.
  • A stone monster comes to life and eats a pigeon (this is heard rather than seen).
  • A big ugly monster fights the black Ninja and the turtles.
  • Fierce looking stone generals wrap up the monster
  • Raphael and Leonardo fight each other using weapons.
  • Leonardo is captured by the evil stone generals and put in a cage.
  • The Turtles fight the stone generals in hand to hand and sword battle

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:

  • This movie is quite dark with many monster images and scary music that could disturb young children.

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 may also be scared or 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.

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 may also be disturbed by some scenes, especially the images of the evil stone generals.

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 of this age are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

None of concern.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A scene at the end where April and Casey kiss passionately.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is no course language in this movie, although there are putdowns and standard turtle expressions such as “Cowabunga!”.

In a nutshell

TMNT is a computer-generated martial arts adventure aimed at children which features familiar heroes. The main message of the film is that not everyone can be a leader and that everybody has a part to play in a team. Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include teamwork, trust in others and loyalty.

Parents may also like to use the movie to discuss the view that problems are not always solved by violence.

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