After the destruction raged across Earth due to the fights between the honourable Autobots and evil Decepticons, a secret CIA task force is hunting down and destroying every Transformer they can find. When Cade Yeager, a failed inventor and over-protective father, stumbles across a broken down truck he soon realises it is in fact Optimus Prime, the badly injured leader of the Autobots. As the CIA destroy his life, and the mysterious Transformer Lockdown hunts them at every turn, Cade finds his family stuck in a conflict that has consequences for all life on Earth

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – Director: Michael Bay

is transformers age of extinction suitable for children

Rating:12

Running Length: 165 minutes

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor

Genre: Action, Science Fiction

REVIEW

There is no denying the financial success of Michael Bay’s ‘Transformers’ series, despite the critical derision that each entry has heralded. ‘Age of Extinction’ represents the fourth film in the franchise and in some way tries to address previous criticisms by (for the most part) removing the casual sexism, racism and misogyny that has dogged the series so far.

The problem that each ‘Transformers’ film has faced is that the Transformers themselves are so lacking in character that it is hard to get invested in their epically scaled warfare. The strength of each film, therefore, has lived or died on its human characters. ‘Age of Extinction’ has the predictable over-protective and down on his luck father (Wahlberg), the daughter kept from growing (Peltz) and the cocky boyfriend. However, the surprise appeal is in tech guru Joyce (Stanley Tucci). Playing a thinly veiled Steve Jobs homage, his voyage from arrogant dictator to realisation of what he has done (via a deal going south with a mostly wasted Kelsey Grammer) makes for most of the best moments in this movie.

The Transformers themselves provide much of the entertaining smashing and shooting. ‘Age of Extinction’ does drag these moments on for a unfeasibly long time – and doesn’t seem to be happy until it has virtually levelled Bejing in the third act – but the action is kinetic, and the appearance of the ‘dinobots’ near the finale provide for much over the top explosive fun. ‘Age of Extinction’ is over-long, has a cringingly bad script, and over dramatises itself to an embarrassing degree, but it does provide what it promises: an extreme amount of bang for your buck. For those who want to guzzle a bucket of popcorn and let the screen fill the theatre with fireballs and noise of an evening will not be disappointed.

IS ‘TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The opening of the film shows pre-historic times with dinosaurs milling around. A spaceship descends and drops some form of bomb which has the effect of turning everything in the blast radius into metal. We see a drawn out shot of these animals being consumed and transformed into metal fossils which given the cutesy nature of the opening shots, may upset younger viewers

Right from the beginning, as soon as we are introduced to human characters, there is frequent moderate cursing. There is also some minor leering from a male character towards a female one with mild slang terms for her breasts used.

One Autobot established in previous films is hunted down by the CIA. As he comes under fire he suffers as a leg is blown off. He pleads for mercy but the Transformer ‘Lockdown’ drives a sharp blade into his chest and rips out his power source, killing the Autobot.

When the CIA descend on Yeager’s home they threaten his 17-year-old daughter in order to find out what he knows about the Transformers. She is pushed to the ground and held with a gun to her head. The agent in charge beings a countdown from 10 and says he will kill her at 0. She is extremely scared and screams for Yeager to help her. The agent is about to kill her before he is suddenly interrupted.

A short-range explosion like the one shown at the opening of the film (in which all in the blast radius is turned into metal) engulfs a minor character who was featured heavily in the first act. He is killed by the process and the remaining characters mourn him for several minutes. He was established as a likeable person and so his death may also upset viewers.

A small Transformer is being held prisoner in a tech company office and is often electrocuted. This is shown to be akin to torture but is over very quickly and the character does not seem too bothered by it.

During one conversation it is implied that the boyfriend of Yeager’s daughter has snuck into their house at night to see her although no further detail is revealed.

The Autobot called Bumblebee speaks by using excerpts from popular culture through his radio. At one point he is extremely irritated at a duplicate Bumblebee being constructed and says, “What the f*^&!” with the last word bleeped out with radio white noise.

Throughout the movie whenever the Transformers (both Autobot and Decepticon) fight there is a large amount of collateral damage. Buildings, cars and homes are destroyed and although we never see any people get killed, it is possible that a child may make this connection due to the scale of the destruction. Similarly, there is much heavy ordnance and gun fire fired into homes.

During one scene Lockdown descends in his ship and throws a net over Optimus Prime. He also catches Tessa (Yeager’s daughter) in the next and as she is lifted away both she and her father scream in anguish and powerlessness.

On the ship Tessa is terrified and is suddenly attacked by a goggle-eyed small robot. This is done to make the audience jump and lasts a minute during a loud moment.

During on physical fight one character has a thumb driven into their eye. However they are seen again afterwards and the eye appears uninjured.

Joyce is fleeing in Bejing and finds his way blocked by three elderly Chinese women. He loudly, and crudely, asks what he could say in Chinese to make them move.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Age of Extinction’ suffers from a poor script and unnecessary length but in terms of spectacle it will certainly entertain. As before, the sheer level of destruction on camera means that it is difficult to care too much about the Transformers themselves but this time around the human element allows for children to get invested in the story without the need for the poor attitudes of previous efforts. ‘Age of Extinction’ is a much more engaging movie that previous installments, but even so, the volume and frequency of the bad language places this firmly in the teenage demographic and we would therefore not recommend ‘Age Of Extinction’ for children under the age of 12.

  • Violence: 2/5 (the violence is focused on the Transformers and featured a lot of mechanical damage. Several are stabbed through the chest and spit out ‘oil’ as if it were blood)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5 (the bond between Cade Yeager and Tessa Yeager is strong and there are many times when both of them are in tears due to each other’s dilemmas)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (one or two ‘jump’ moments. The bug-eyed robot in the spaceship is intense for a short time)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5       
  • Bad Language: 5/5 (very frequent cursing of all kinds, from mild to moderate. One heard and one censored strong curse used)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (many threats are shouted throughout the movie. One Autobot yells he wants to ‘slit throats’.  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of profiteering, capitalism, survivalist, corruption, providing for a family, teenage dating and whether being somewhere causes more harm than good.

Words by Michael Record

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