Story

This live-action feature tells a moving tale of two elephant brothers in search of their mother, and the creatures they encounter along the way.

When poachers kill their family, Zef and his younger brother Tutu must find their own way in life. Zef tries to protect Tutu by telling him that their mother was taken up in a rainbow and Tutu is determined to find her. Zef finds it increasingly more difficult to tell Tutu the truth but along the way they meet other orphaned animals: Chump the Chimp, Stretch the Giraffe and Cub the lion cub who all join them in their search.

They encounter many dangers along the way such as bad storms, scary creatures and even scarier men whom they call ‘the badness’. In one scene, Tutu gets lost and Zef gets caught in an animal trap. Chump, however, is very resourceful and manages to free Zef, along with many other trapped animals. Unfortunately, during the rescue, Chump knocks over some petrol cans which set fire to the men’s camp but the animals all manage to escape unhurt.

Eventually Zef, Tutu and their friends all reach an animal sanctuary where they are welcomed and well looked after.

Themes

Animal distress; hunting

Violence

  • Poachers shoot at the elephant herd but all that is shown is gunfire in the night sky.
  • Zef is caught in an animal trap.
  • A group of animals chase men who at first appear to be scared of them, but later manage to fight back. The men lasso Zef then capture all the other animals and tie them up.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the scenes listed above, children in this age group might be disturbed by the following:

  • When Zef and Tutu are left orphaned, Tutu is particularly upset and keeps crying for his mother.
  • A large vulture scares the young elephants.
  • Tutu decides to go off on his own to find his mother but gets lost and very scared. It takes sometime before he finds Zef again.
  • In a paticularly emotional scene, men capture Zef, and take him away in a cage where he cries real tears – it’s a very sad scene.
  • When Chump accidentally sets the camp on fire, the animals all run away except the lion cub who is still trapped in a cage and obviously very distressed. Chump goes back and manages to free him.
  • Cub gets very tired along the journey and appears to be too weak to carry on.
  • Zef talks about the ‘badness’ and how it destroyed all their families and left children on their own.
  • Zef and Tutu look around the campsite and find a trunk full of elephant tusks. Tutu thinks he can smell his mother.

From 8-13

More sensitive children in this age group could also be distressed by some of the scenes described above.

Sexual references

None

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Product placement

None

Coarse language 

None

Ideas to discuss with your children

Elephant Tales is a delightful movie with appeal to people of all ages. The scenery and photography are beautiful and the animals are wonderful. One of the main themes is commercial animal hunting and killing. The exploration of this issue might be distressing for young children.

You might like to discuss with your child the values in this movie such as:

  • care and appreciation of the environment
  • conservation and protection of wildlife
  • courage and bravery
  • loyalty.

You could also discuss:

  • what could happen if people continue to hunt and kill wild animals
  • the fact that not all people are bad and that only some people are cruel to animals.