Duck Duck Goose is a Chinese-American production. It’s an animated adventure movie set against the backdrop of the stunning autumnal Chinese countryside. Peng (voice of Jim Gaffigan) is a young, overconfident, and immature gander who loves to show off and cause problems in his flock. He’s sure that it’s better to fly on your own rather than in formation. To prove his point, he decides to hold back when the flock begins its yearly migration south for the winter, so that he can fly by himself and race the flock to its destination. But things don’t go to plan, and Peng must make the journey south on foot.
Along the way, he’s adopted by a pair of cute, orphaned ducklings, Chi (voice of Zendaya) and Chau (voice of Lance Lim), who’ve been separated from their own flock. The trio are spotted by a villainous, crazy-eyed stray tomcat who decides they look like a good lunch.
The journey south is a madcap and perilous adventure, with the tomcat in hot pursuit. Throughout the journey, Peng finally learns the value of sticking with your flock and gets in touch with the better side of his nature.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Strength in numbers; families and friendship; sticking with the group; team work; collectivism versus individualism; putting others before yourself.
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Duck Duck Goose has some animated violence. For example:
- When a frog annoys Peng, he picks up the frog and throws it as hard as he can. In another scene, he kicks a frog.
- The evil cat attacks Peng, swiping him viciously over and over again.
- The two ducklings are on the chopping board at a restaurant. The chef stands over them with a machete.
- The chef chases the ducklings with a big machete.
- A chicken repeatedly slaps her ‘husband’, the rooster, behind the head, because he’s not behaving properly.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Duck Duck Goose has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- The evil tomcat is a scary, monster-like creature. It has one glowing red eye and one glowing yellow eye. It also has a split personality, which means that it flips from one ‘character’ to another, often talking to itself in an erratic and crazy way. There are several scary scenes where the cat nearly catches the little ducklings.
- The little ducklings must swim across a dark misty lake by themselves. They’re very afraid.
- When one duckling gets hungry, he transforms from a cute, fluffy duckling into a monstrous duckling with a deep voice and glowing red eyes. This is a very brief scene.
- There are many fast-paced action sequences that are tense and have a sense of peril. These includes the characters falling out of the back of an uncontrolled vehicle, falling down a waterfall, getting caught in a collapsing cave, hanging on the edge of a cliff, and so on.
- The ducklings are convinced that Peng has died in the snow, and they start crying. Eventually Peng regains consciousness.
Children in this age group might be scared or upset by some of the scenes mentioned above, so we recommend parental guidance.
None of concern
None of concern
Duck Duck Goose has some sexual and romantic references. For example:
- Peng is in love with a young goose called Jing Jing. They behave flirtatiously, kissing each other and eventually agreeing to make a family together.
- Peng makes suggestive comments to Jing Jing like ‘Let’s find a secluded spot to … (wink wink)’.
- The chicken says to the rooster, ‘Not now Stanley, not in front of the eggs’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Duck Duck Goose implies substance use in one scene where Peng is rescued by a hippy squirrel who behaves like he might be interested in marijuana. He asks Peng things like, ‘Did you have some cookies?’ Small children will probably not understand this implication.
Nudity and sexual activity
Duck Duck Goose has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, the chef’s pants fall down, and we see his bare bottom.
None of concern
Duck Duck Goose has some mild coarse language and toilet humour.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Duck Duck Goose is a standard adventure story with a strong moral theme. The animation is superb, and the movie is worth watching just for the stunning visual backdrop of the Chinese countryside in autumn. Children will love the silly fart jokes, and the storyline is engaging enough to keep everyone happy.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Men can be just as good at caring for younger creatures as women, and this is nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Going it alone is not the way – we need our family, our friends and our community to survive.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- a sense of community spirit
- kindness and consideration for other people’s needs
- gratitude for your family and friends.
This movie could also give the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- mistrust of authority
- traditional gender roles.