Australian Council on Children and the Media

Ten Commandments, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, PG to 8 (Violence, scary scenes, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Ten Commandments, The
  • a review of Ten Commandments, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 April 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence, and scary images
Children 5-8 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and violence
Children 9 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: Ten Commandments, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 88 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Ten Commandments is an animated retelling of the Biblical story of Exodus where the Hebrew prophet, Moses (brought up as an Egyptian) is chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land where they can live in freedom. It features the voices of Ben Kingsley (narrator), Christian Slater (Moses), Alfred Molina (Ramses) and Elliot Gould (God).

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.

Slavery; Natural disasters (plagues); Death and threatened killing

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:

  • The Hebrew slaves are often whipped by the Egyptians to force them to work harder.
  • Moses and a relative, Ramses, engage in aggressive rough-housing that destroys several nearby garden statues.
  • A guard draws a knife on Moses.  They engage in battle which results in Moses stabbing the guard.  The knife is shown in close-up with blood on it.
  • Moses is pursued through the streets by guards and eventually knocked from his donkey by a blow to his face by a guard’s staff.
  • Men physically harass women in the desert around a communal well.  Moses threatens them with violence if they don’t leave the women alone.
  • Moses’ snake consumes the snakes of the Egyptian magicians.
  • Pharaoh repeatedly verbally threatens Moses and the Hebrew slaves with violence and 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 five, including the following:

  • Large vicious crocodiles snap at the basket containing the infant Moses as he floats on the river.
  • Moses’ staff transforms into a cobra (which eventually eats those of the magicians).
  • The cobras are threatening and scary.
  • Some of the curses (eg hailstorm, fire, destruction of city) are very loud and large.
  • God sends his spirit, in the form of an angel, to descend on to the Egyptian city. It splits off into several phantasms all seeking the souls of the Egyptian first born.
  • God leads the Hebrews out of Egypt with a pillar of cloud during the day and pillar of fire at night.  The cloud looks similar to a tornado (and both are unnatural).
  • God waylays the Egyptian army by raining fire on to them.
  • The Red Sea crashes down on top of the Egyptian army in frightening manner.
  • When lightning hits a rock it breaks into two pieces and flies up into the air.  The pieces orbit around each other whilst they are imprinted with glowing Aramaic symbols (the Commandments).
  • The golden calf and its creator are swallowed by volcanic cracks that open in the ground.

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:

  • By the order of Pharaoh, all the Hebrew baby boys are, at one point, forcibly removed from their parents with the intent for them to be killed in the river by the crocodiles.
  • Moses is abandoned by his parents (for his own safety) and set afloat in a woven basket on the river.
  • Moses strikes the water with his staff and the river, and all surrounding water sources, turn to blood.  Fish are seen to die and float to the surface.
  • Some of the plagues God inflicts have disastrous results eg. swarming flies, boils, locusts, a dust storm.  People are chased by the locusts, a cow dies in the streets.
  • The lintel posts (doorways) of the Hebrew houses are marked with the blood of lambs (to protect them from God’s angel of death).  One of the dead lambs is seen cooking on a spit roast.
  • Pharaoh’s son is one of the children who die after God’s angel descends.  He is seen lying dead in his father’s arms.  Pharaoh is clearly distressed.
  • Following the destruction of the Egyptian army in the sea, the bodies of the men and their horses are seen floating drowned within the water.
  • There are various disasters brought upon the land including hailstorm, fire, a dust storm, lightning, and a volcanic earthquake.  There is often “off screen” screaming associated with each of these disasters.

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.

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is very mild sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Two women dance together wearing less than their culturally-approved attire.  One of the women attempts to cover her chest with her hands when Moses returns from the mountain and sees their revelry.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

The Ten Commandments is a computer-generated animation depicting the historical and Biblical account of Moses’ exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land.

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

  • Perseverance
  • Loyalty
  • Justice
  • Freedom (from slavery and oppression)
  • Courage
  • Patience
  • Faith
  • Judaic/Christian morality
  • Family/community unity

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of reviewing historical texts first-hand, the nature and intent of slavery, racism, and infanticide, magic, supernatural events, violence, rebellion, murder and deception, idolatry, ungratefulness, anger, and impatience.

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