Sam Witwicky is a normal teenage boy, dreaming of owning his first car to impress the ladies. When the car his dad gets him turns into a giant alien robot, Sam realises that his life is in danger. After being pursued by the Decepticons and rescued by the Autobots, Sam understands that together with new friend Mikaela, he must help the Autobots reach the ‘All Spark’, a mysterious cube which creates life and could be used for evil in the hands of Decepticon leader, Megatron.

Transformers (2007) – Director: Michael Bay

Is Transformers appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 144 mins

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel

Genre: Fantasy, Action

 

REVIEW

Based on the Hasbro action figures of the 1980’s and subsequent TV series and movie, Michael Bay has put his usual big-budget blockbuster stamp on the latest Transformers films. The plot of ‘Transformers’ is solid enough and the acting is fine, however the spectacle of the movie will be the main draw with the heavy use of CGI and special effects which worked well on the big screen but does not transfer quite so well onto the small screen.

Shia LaBeouf is very likeable as Sam, an awkward teenager who is forced into an impossible situation. He makes the audience root for him and Megan Fox brings more to her role as Mikaela than the simpering love interest that she could easily have been. The movie moves at a good pace, however the final fight scene between the Autobots and Decepticons is a bit long-winded! During this battle, it is also difficult to determine which of the robots are fighting as most of them are the same size and colour.

On the whole, Transformers works well and while keeping fans of the original series happy, should also entertain anyone who is new to the franchise. If only the same could have been true for the sequels to come….

IS ‘TRANSFORMERS’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

Transformers may seem like the ideal movie for a child to watch as it based on a children’s toy of yesteryear and the new merchandising is heavily targeted towards a younger audience. However, there is a lot of content which adults may wish to be aware of before allowing younger children to watch this movie.

While there is a lot of violence in Transformers, which will be mentioned shortly, the main issue that many adults will have is the dialogue. The script contains many instances of mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy and a few stronger words which are generally cut off half way through or said quietly. Sam looks after his dog, Mojo, who is on pain medication for a broken leg. When giving the medication, Sam calls him a ‘crackhead’. While giving a presentation at school, Sam talks about his ancestor who was a famous explorer and uses the words ‘seaman’ and ‘sextant’ which cause the other students to laugh at him. There are also instances of people using offensive finger gestures and the air freshener in Sam’s car (which is in the shape of a bee) has the word ‘Bee-otch’ on it although this isn’t explicitly shown.

The character of Mikaela is often lusted after by Sam and while he is not disrespectful towards her, he clearly enjoys looking at her body which is very much on display with her tight, revealing clothes. Sam makes his friend leave his car when he wants to give Mikaela a lift home to which his friend (who is clearly stupid and immature) replies ‘bros before hoes’. When trying to persuade Mikaela to get into his car, he stumbles over his words and accidentally says ‘I wondered if I could ride you home’. Shortly afterwards, the car breaks down (deliberately as the car is keen to help Sam in his romantic endeavours) and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ is played loudly from the stereo. Later in the movie, Sam’s parents try to get into his room and when he takes a long time to let them in, his mother asks whether he has been masturbating and then suggests that they call it ‘Sam’s Happy Time’ when Sam and his father are clearly embarrassed about the subject being raised. There are several more instances of innuendo and sexual content, however we feel that these are the most extreme and if you feel that these are acceptable then the rest should not be a problem.

In terms of the violence, there are several intense scenes where the Decepticons attack and kill both people and other Transformers. People are killed with thrown blades and knife-like appendages on the robots and although the blood and gore is kept to a minimum, these moments could be distressing for younger viewers. One of the Decepticons takes on the form of a police car and goes on to aggressively and relentlessly attack Sam. This could be frightening for children as they are likely to feel that the police are to be trusted and this could damage their perception of authority. At one point, Bumblebee, who is likely to be the favourite of many children as he is innocent and friendly, is captured and experimented on by humans. He is clearly distressed, scared and in pain throughout these scenes. During the final battle, one of the Autobots is killed by being ripped in half by Megatron, this is done quickly but looks painful and there is a very brief moment at the end where the other Autobots mourn his loss.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

Transformers is a fun and entertaining action movie which could have been made for a much wider audience if it had steered clear of its unnecessary questionable content. The sheer amount of kids merchandising available from the franchise, including toys, lunch boxes and games suggest that younger children should be able to watch this movie, however we would recommend caution for kids under the age of 12.

  • Violence:  4/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (most of the action scenes are sustained and intense, it is not always clear who is going to survive)
  • Sexual Content: 4/5       
  • Bad Language: 4/5 (mostly mild to moderate but said many times throughout the movie)
  • Dialogue: 4/5  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of having the courage to fight for what is right, sacrifice, not underestimating those who seem weaker than you and following the right path even when others try to stop you.

Words by Laura Record

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