Monday, December 11, 2006


Remember about Chicken Little?

Well, I did it again. I picked up a cute-looking animated film called Barnyard, read the box, and figured it would be appropriate to rent for the girls.

According to the blurb on the back, I was selecting a

[...H]ilarious look at what really happens in a barnyard when the farmer’s back is turned. “Barnyard” is a lighthearted tale centering around Otis (voiced by Kevin James), a carefree party cow, who enjoys singing, dancing and playing tricks on humans. Unlike his father Ben (voiced by Sam Elliott), the respected patriarch of the farm, and Miles, the wise old mule (voiced by Danny Glover), Otis is unconcerned about keeping the animals’ humanlike talents a secret. But when suddenly put in the position of responsibility, the “udderly” irresponsible cow finds the courage to be a leader.
Lighthearted, talking animals, right on.

I admit, I did neglect to check the rating which, as it turns out, was PG for "some mild peril and rude humor."

Mild peril:
  • A six-on-one fight between coyotes and a male cow*, in which the cow frightens off the coyotes before falling to the ground, giving his son a silent but soulful look, and dying from his injuries.
  • A full-on brawl between the entire pack of coyotes and most of the other characters, in which none are apparently killed, but many deal out and sustain injuries. Oh, and the son of the first cow at one point falls to the ground and is attacked by so many coyotes that he can no longer be seen.
Fortunately, Robin was away on a field trip and Julia fell asleep while all was still sweetness and light.

The good news is, I finally found a something that looks like it will help. It's called Kids in Mind and it provides separate, numerical ratings for sex/nudity, violence/gore, and profanity. It also has a page for each film in which it lists pretty much every occurrence of each of those things.

They are a little more conservative than myself in terms of what constitutes sex, nudity or profanity (for the movie Cars: "A male car flirts with a female car and asks her out to dinner"), but at least the issue is addressed directly and an explicit explanation is given.

I am soooo going to be consulting this site in the future.

Here are some sample ratings - some kids' movies and some not. On a scale of one to ten:

Chicken Little142
Curious George130
Flushed Away132
The Green Mile477
Pirates of the Caribbean353
Pirates of the Caribbean II372
Pulp Fiction91010
Shrek II332

Out of 2474 rated films, there are 58 with the highest possible violence rating (10) and 50 with a violence rating of zero.

Anyway, our little Barnyard has the same violence rating as the first Pirates of the Caribbean.

* Oh, right. About the male cow. For some reason, all the cattle in this film had udders, including the males. The convention in discussing these characters seems therefore to be to use the oxymoronic phrase "male cow."


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