Is Back to the Outback ok for children to watch? Back to the Outback Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parent guide to the new Netflix Family animated film release. No spoilers! #BacktotheOutback May contain commissioned links.
Back to the Outback Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
What do you get when you cross a cute and cuddly koala with a deadly poisonous snake? Apparently an Australian themed kid movie.
Netflix Family is here this holiday season with an all-new original animated movie geared for families. And with Netflix bringing some of the best movie and show streaming options these days (uh hello, The Baby-Sitters Club, Bridgerton and Cobra Kai to name a few), I wouldn’t pass over the opportunity to count this animal movie out of your favorites list just yet. But are we going for a fun adventure into the Australian outback or a forgettable animal ride?
Is Back to the Outback ok for children? In this Back to the Outback Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, we are talking all about the visuals, the story line (no spoilers!), and fully breakdown that PG rating for parents, including my age recommendation for kids wanting to watch. A Netflix original success or not even memorable?
Netflix animation may not entirely compare to the likes of Disney or Illumination, but with colorful visuals and enough sharpness to keep young kids engaged, I would say that Netflix Family does a pretty darn good job. The CGI is definitely a tier down from the crispness/new technology realm of the animation kings, but I definitely applaud Netflix on creating an entire animated world and some really cute animals.
The premise sounds cute. Australian animals, the outback, and adventure. What could go wrong, right? Well, when your cross an adorable koala with some of the deadliest creatures in the country, it can get interesting real fast. Starring a predominantly Australian cast including Isla Fisher (“Confessions of a Shopaholic“), Tim Minchin (“Robin Hood“), Eric Bana (“Hulk“) and Guy Pearce (“Iron Man 3“), Back to the Outback follows this wild bunch of animals on a one-of-a-kind adventure in the heart of Australia. There’s action, adventure and laughs for the family, as well as lessons to be learned.
But before you get all cute and cuddly on me, that’s not to say that this Netflix animated film doesn’t have it’s “ugly” flaws too. While I can appreciate the theme of beauty is more than skin deep, the delivery doesn’t exactly hit home when the characters are repeating the word “ugly” about a bazillion times. And not in a “you’re not ugly” way, but in a “we should all be ugly” way. Confused? Because I am.
While Back to the Outback provides family entertainment with quick scenes, funny one-liners and lots of action-packed sequences, the overall message is a little poisoned when your kids are hearing and repeating the word ugly over and over again. Paired with messaging of individuality and acceptance, family and educating kids on some of the weird and wonderful yet deadly creatures of Australia, my hope is that kids aren’t going to be rushing to find these animals to pick up and cuddle any time soon.
That PG Rating
Is Back to the Outback safe for kids? It’s no secret that I am highly skeptical of all children age ratings (um hello, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not disclosing any language??). But you also know how I feel about PG ratings especially. With MPAA ratings unpredictable these days, PG rating oscillating between Incredibles 2 intense and Luca calm, having fully disclosed parent guidelines can be super helpful in determining if a movie is safe for your whole family to watch, especially for your littlest kids. (I see you, Addams Family.)
Why is Back to the Outback rated PG? In this Back to the Outback Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, Netflix’s Back the Outback is rated PG for “action, rude/suggestive material.” Is this Netflix original animated film a little too rude for younger audiences?
Violence/Suspense. As expected, this Australian animal film does get a little action-packed. Keeping within the animated film for kids category, there are uses of weapons including tranquilizer guns (shown live animals), larger guns, throwing of knives, hitting with sticks/bats, threats to kill and vehicle chases. Animal cruelty is huge exclamation point as well, especially for sensitive kids/animal lovers. There’s also a scene where kids are especially seen physically hurting/bullying other kids – hitting, giving underwear wedgies, grabbing/twisting arms, etc.
One thing of note not mentioned in the MPAA rating, there is a suspenseful “jump scare” of an animal onto the screen during the first 10 minutes of the film. This may scare young kids.
Language. Oh, Netflix. Unfortunately, bad language and swear words exist in this children’s film. Very disappointing, especially with this NOT included in the MPAA rating. “D@mn” is said by one of the characters, and that’s not all. If you find the word “suck” to be a swear word, that’s used too, as in the phrase “you don’t entirely suck.”
Insults such as “stupid,” “ugly” (repeated numerous times), “freak,” “jerk,” “losers,” and “psycho” are also stated. There’s also references to “Satan,” and multiple instances of “g-d” said. I’m really sad to see so much language use in a PG film. I really think this could have been toned down and still enjoyable.
Adult themes. I wish this wasn’t going to be a long section of this movie review. But unfortunately, the rude/suggestive materials parts of this kid film is LONG, really long. First of all, there are 2 scenes of human alcohol consumption, one scene suggesting that someone had more than just a few sips to infer drunkenness.
Those with weak stomachs may want to note one animal vomit scene. There’s also graphic animal poop, mention of eating a gross body part, and a scene with consumption of urine.
As far as the sexual innuendo, here’s where it gets even longer. While keeping inside of the animal kingdom, there are multiple conversations about animal “mating,” animal “virile” level, being “aroused” mild discussion of a “lingerie store” and visuals of animals kissing other animals AND inanimate objects (you’ll understand when you see it). While all very normal within the animal kingdom, there are many jokes placed on the sexuality of animals in this film. The sexuality arena does not stop with animals. There’s also one scene where you see human underwear and butt cheeks, discussion of a parent “running off” with someone else.
What Back to the Outback Age Rating Is Recommended for Kids?
Is Back to the Outback kid friendly? At a runtime of 1 hour 35 minutes, Netflix’s Back to the Outback movie is at a good length for kids to watch. And with the bonus of being able to stream from home, having that pause button handy will certainly be a plus for those with young kids/toddlers. However, though Back to the Outback may look cute and cuddly, the content of this film has me worried about the age rating.
From this mom movie reviewer’s perspective, what age is recommended to watch Back to the Outback? I don’t think the mild PG rating really covers it all. I recommend Back to the Outback for more mature children, at least 7-8 years old not only due to the language, violence, adult themes and but also the confusing messaging. I certainly don’t want my 8-year old daughter to be confused about what’s considered beautiful/ugly.
Is Back to the Outback just another cute and cuddly animal movie? Think again. While I can totally get behind what Netflix is trying to do: education about Australia animals, going beyond skin-deep beauty, individuality and acceptance, I think the messaging is not only confusing for kids, but can also possibly backfire on Netflix.
The insults on top of the themed punchline “ugly,” send a huge red flag to this parent. The goal here is to not shout out to the world that “everyone should be weird and ugly,” but that we all have something within us that makes us beautiful, valuable, and worthy of love. But with the word ugly on repeat, our kids are wonderful little creatures who soak up those repeated words, and perhaps in an “ugly” way (yes, pun intended).
Somewhere between the mixed messages and the innuendo is a poisonous combination that may be worse than snake venom. That’s not to say that this kid movie doesn’t have some redeeming aspects, a few laughs and some family values, but they may be buried deep in the Australian outback.
Follow Netflix Family on social:
- Website: https://www.netflix.com/title/81002813
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NetflixFamily/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/netflixfamily
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/NetflixFamily/
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The all-new original movie, Netflix Family’s Back to the Outback streams worldwide on Netflix and in select theaters on Friday, December 10, 2021. Will your family be watching?
I was invited to screen this film in exchange for this Back to the Outback Movie Review | Safe for Kids? All photos courtesy of Netflix. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie reviews for parents, celebrity interviews, entertainment updates and behind-the-scenes info!