Australian Council on Children and the Media

Tomorrowland

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Short takes

Not recommended under 12; parental guidance 12-14 (Violence; Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Tomorrowland
  • a review of Tomorrowland completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 May 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 12 to 14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 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: Tomorrowland
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild science fiction violence and coarse language
Length 130 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The year is 1964 and 12-year-old genius Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) is at the New York World’s Fair to enter his rocket powered jet pack in an inventors’ competition. Frank meets an intriguing young girl called Athena (Raffey Cassidy). When Athena tells Frank that she is the future and that he should follow her, he does exactly what he is told and follows Athena into a theme park ride. At some point during the ride, Frank finds himself transported to an alternate dimension somewhere in time and space called Tomorrowland where hover cars and rocket ships are the norm. 

The film moves to the present where we find teenage activist Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) trying to stop the  demolition of an old NASA launch platform, the decommissioning of which will cost Casey’s father his job. Unfortunately things do not go as planned for Casey who is arrested and placed in custody.

When Casey is bailed she discovers an old World’s Fair badge amongst her possessions, and on touching the badge, finds herself transported to a futuristic world. While attempting to find out more about her strange badge, Casey is held at gunpoint by a couple who want the badge. Fortunately Casey is rescued by Athena, the same young girl who led Frank to Tomorrowland decades earlier. Athena takes Casey to meet the now adult Frank Walker (George Clooney), who we learn during the course of the film was evicted from Tomorrowland for creating an invention that had catastrophic consequences for both Tomorrowland and Earth.

Casey and Frank must travel to Tomorrowland and find a way to save both Tomorrowland and the Earth. But to do this Casey and Frank must find a way around Frank’s nemesis, David Nix (Hugh Laurie).        

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.

Time travel; alternate realities; catastrophic events

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 film contains sequences of science fiction action violence, some gun related violence and the depiction of multiple deaths but with minimal blood and gore. Examples include.

  • There is brief news footage of violent crowds rioting and riot police confronting crowds.
  • A teenage girl threatens her five-year-old brother “If you wake up dad I will crush you”.
  • A man and a woman fire laser guns at two young girls. One girl attacks the man and woman, punching one in the head while smashing the other’s face into a cabinet. The man is stabbed in the chest and then decapitated; it is at this point that we learn the man and woman are not human but robots. Seconds later the two robots explode in a giant ball of flames
  • In a fight involving several men we see one stabbed in the chest and another electrocuted. Several men disintegrate in a shower of sparks when shot by a laser gun.      
  • A man uses a hand gun to brutally hit another man in the side of the head, the force of the blow caving in the side of the man’s head; no blood and gore is depicted and the injured man carries on as though no injury has occurred to him. 
  • In one scene a ute crashes into a girl, knocking her to the ground. After regaining consciousness, she jumps up and runs after the ute. She jumps into the back of the ute, punches her fist through the rear window and jumps into the front seat. When the driver slams on the brakes, the girl’s head hits the dashboard but no injuries are depicted.
  • A man shoots a young girl in the chest and we see a gaping hole; the young girl is a robot who later self-destructs because of this wound.    
  • We see futuristic images of a destroyed Earth.               

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:

  • There are flashback images of a young boy wearing a rocket powered jet pack flying through the air in a perilous out of control manner and crashing into the ground.
  • There are a number of menacing giant armed robots.    
  • In one perilous scene a young boy is accidentally knocked off a bridge by a robot soldier. The boy falls thousands of feet towards the ground before he manages to catch and activate a jet pack.  He then flies into building before he finally crashes to the ground; we see some small bloody scratches on his chin. 
  • A vicious looking dog chases a girl, but it is attached to a long chain and is pulled up just before reaching her.
  • As a man and a girl are transported from one dimension to another, their facial features distort in a disturbing way.

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 violent and scary 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 violent and scary 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.

Some younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Coca cola

 

Sexual references

As a boy Frank appears to be fascinated by Athena and she encourages his attention. As an adult, Frank admits he fell in love with her but later found out that she was a robot.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

A father asks his daughter if she is using drugs after she is arrested by the police.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “hell”;  “son of a ...”; “damn” ;  “bloody”   

In a nutshell

Tomorrowland is a science fiction action adventure from the Disney Studios. The film has an innovative storyline with George Clooney and Hugh Laurie providing star appeal. The film targets tweens and teens but has some rather intense violence and disturbing scenes which may scare young viewers. It is therefore not recommended for children under 12 with parental guidance recommended for the 12 to 14 age group.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • The tiniest of actions can change the world.
  • It isn’t hard to knock something down. What is hard is deciding what to build in its place. 

 Values that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include altruism and innovation.  Parents may wish to discuss Casey’s destruction of government property and whether this was justified.

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