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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2006), PG [13-PG*] (1hr 22min)
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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, O Entertainment
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Steve Oedekerk
Producer(s): Mark Beam, Nicholisa Contis, Andrew Egiziano, Albie Hecht, Paul Marshal, Steve Oedekerk, Aaron Parry, Julia Pistor
Written by: Steve Oedekerk
Music: John Debney
Film Editing: Paul D. Calder
Production Design: Philip A. Cruden
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
I am so sorry this is two days late but attending CPR/AED Instructor training consumed the two days at the heart of the CAP Ministry week.
Barnyard: The Original Party Animals is a story of what we don't know about barnyard animals; that they become "human" when humans are not around then party, party, party.
The film is rated PG for "some mild peril and rude humor." Let's start out with a closer look at that. And deeper.
Because of its final score of 58 out of 100, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals is a "hard" 13-PG*. This means the film earned a score in the range of scores earned by PG-13 films in the comparative baseline database (55 to 67 out of 100) even though it is rated PG. The "hard", used for effect as short for "hardcore", comes from the placement of the score close to the bottom of the scoring range. Please remember that though the CAP analysis model was developed and verified on films with live actors/actresses, it is assumed that behavior by animated characters that can be duplicated by or subjected to children can be as influential as those performed by live performers.
Maybe an apology for such a low score for a "kid's movie" would be appropriate but the apology would not be mine. The CAP analysis model does not give scores. A film earns the score it gets based solely on content. I did not make the film nor did I write the Rules of morality. Nor will the CAP analysis model permit manipulation of the scoring to suit personal opinion. That I think this movie is well freckled with "age-appropriate" contempt for morality does not make it so: that it is does.
The crux of the matter is that not one of the scads of little nasties and other items of assault on morality and decency in Barnyard is all that extreme. But there are s-o-o many of them. So many in matters of violence especially, matters such as killing of story characters by predators, "KILL HIM!", and "Lay there and watch while we eat your friends." No gore but killing nonetheless. And Miles the mule (voice of Danny Glover) viciously kicking a farmer repeatedly is rather ... er ... vicious. But not as vicious as the coyotes.
While this film certainly has a "message" akin to the old adage that says the more you try to prove your father wrong the more you prove him right, how many times must the film writers shoot before they hit the target? This film, in a big-picture or total-package sense, is as violent as some R-rated films. The intensity of the attacks and sinister attitudes of the coyotes is well beyond necessary to get the point across.
See the CAP Rule of 1000
Male cows are bulls and do not have udders, right? Male cows have udders in Barnyard. And male cows in Barnyard can be milked since one of them says "Milk me!" Aside from the gender confusion I wonder why? Such is at least a sexual aberration since the personification of the characters makes udders on male cows akin to female breasts on men. Now where is that found nowadays? I think Hollywood is drunk with it since it appears more and more in films for younger and younger kids. [Luke 17:2] The bottom line is sexual -- again drawing attention to the "private areas." Is it supposed to be funny? How a jiggling udder is funny escapes me when Ben and Otis fight for their lives. Or when Otis does pelvic thrusts. All this is fed to our young ones. [Eph. 5:4] With a "message."
Wise and strong Ben (voice of Sam Elliot) simply ended up with the job of being protector of the animals in the barnyard. Protector from the carnivorous coyotes. Reckless and carefree teenage Otis (voice of Kevin James), whom Ben adopted when he found Otis as a calf without parents, is supposed to take over for Ben when comes his time to step down. But Otis just doesn't have it. Otis is a party animal. And, by Otis' endearing magnetism, so are all the other barnyard animals. Except Ben.
Ben, in his infinite patience with scatter-brained Otis, gives Otis a nugget of wisdom that eventually sinks in. "A strong man stands up for himself. A stronger man stands up for others." Unfortunately, Otis had to adopt his father's wisdom and grow up overnight. After a fling with partying, the "stands up for others" part of Ben's wisdom is what Otis does for the barnyard animals. Sort of like the prodigal son who squandered the wealth his father gives him and then, after being shocked into reality, goes back to his father a humbled man. [Luke 15:11 - 24] Otis had to have his squanderous fling before submitting to humility. Such a scenario seems to shriek the "Go ahead and do the wrong as long as you are sorry for it afterwards" syndrome -- the redemption routine. Though redemption is indeed a noble destination, a noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path.
The "message." The coyotes kill Ben. Otis realizes what he has to do ... and does it. Otis' awakening illuminates a strength he did not know he had. Otis' new-found strength unites the barnyard animals and rallies them behind him as he enforces his father's rule that no harm will come to the animals inside the barnyard fence. This is not the only way Otis follows in his father's footsteps.
The newcomer to the barnyard, Daisy (voice of Courteney Cox) who becomes Otis' girlfriend is pregnant by her earlier marriage to a husband who was lost in a flood along with the rest of her herd. While it might seem inappropriate to have one of the story characters pregnant in a kid's show, there is a reason for it. Ben's adoption of Otis sets the stage for this second way Otis follows in his father's footsteps. When Daisy's calf is born, Otis adopts it as the paternal properties of Ben's wisdom surface in Otis.
But the "good messages" in a film are not the focus of this service. They are for you to discover and decide whether there is merit to them for your kids. Our focus is to tell you of the not-so-nice content so you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether a film is fit for your kids or not.
As is the case all too often, good messages in modern films drown in ignominy. [Ps. 12:8] In addition to the R-equivalent level of violence (W), there is a lot of "lite" and coy attention to what would otherwise be "private parts." Often the male cows are seen with udders they shouldn't have protruding as if intentional. In a human bar, the camera pans the cleavage of a woman. Otis performs pelvic thrusts in dance and a child is seen with partial rear nudity. In addition, a police officer no less speaks rather questionably about strip searching children. A couple innuendo by characters put frosting on the cake of "coarse joking" God speaks to in Eph. 5:4. (S)
Within the realm of Drugs/Alcohol (D), the animals metaphorically drink brew as they guzzle "milk and honey." Four characters steal a car and drink inebriating "milk" while driving. Some drinking leads to drunkenness. And a "redneck" farmer is seen holding a can of brew and ripping off a new can from a six-pack. [Eph. 5:18] Note that there is a particularly pointed reference to studies in the application of Ephesians 5:18 below regarding the vulnerability of our middleschool aged youth, the very age stratum of this film.
Regarding impudence (I), Otis challenges Ben's authority and wisdom a time or two as well as cheats. A human child is disrespectful to his mother. [Exod. 20:12] And this being a kid's show and Hollywood apparently thinking they know what is acceptable for kids, there is flatulence. Though no uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary were noted, one character was cut off just before he completed a line ending with one of them, something about a hoof in a place where it doesn't belong.
Regarding matter which are offensive to God (O) by His Word, God's name is used in vain twice. Euphemistically, mind you. But "pretend" does not excuse sin. [Deut. 5:11] There are a mentions of religion, sin, being blessed by God and one of Hell. Though none of these latter matters is of a sinful nature and are not incorporated into the scoring, you might want to know about them.
There is more but not much more and it is all listed in the Findings/Scoring section. Please consider reading it before you decide on which age this film is fit.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Christian Educators Association International
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
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