A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Transformers is an explosion-heavy action movie based on the '80s cartoon and action figures that is not for young children ... no matter how "cool" they think the robots/cars are. It's packed with scenes of loud, hectic combat (including gunfire), destruction, and flying missiles and bodies. Plus, it's long (144 minutes, the last 20 or so of which are devoted to a big fight scene), the characters swear ("bitch," "s--t," "damn," a couple of incomplete "f--ks," etc.), and there's some sexual imagery (shots of cleavage and a short-skirted bottom, jokes about masturbation and virginity, and more).
What's the story?
In TRANSFORMERS, a live-action film based on the 1980s cartoon series, the Decepticons, an evil race of alien robots, attack a U.S. military unit stationed in the Middle East. The men launch an immediate offensive -- but meanwhile, back in the States, Secretary of Defense John Keller (Jon Voight) learns of a secret U.S. project involving Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving), a bad robot that crash-landed in the Arctic decades before. In the film's civilian side-story, teenager Sam (Shia LaBeouf) buys a used car, unaware it's an Autobot -- a good robot. Neither does Sam realize that he has in his possession the key to the all-powerful cube -- which all the robots, good and bad, desperately want. The film's many characters and plots collide with the help of the Autobots' courageous, red-and-blue-colored leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen).
Is it any good?
Big and boomy, this toy-based movie skimps on plot and character development, instead focusing on its decidedly spectacular explosions. Though the opening voiceover offers a cursory backstory, it hardly matters why these giant robots have come to earth. The point is much simpler: They blow stuff up. Just keep in mind that Transformers is most likely too intense for the kids who are the most interested in playing with the Transformers toys.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why kids want to see Transformers -- is it because of the story or all of the toys and other tie-in products?
Who's the movie's intended audience? Is it today's kids (and, if so, what age group?) or grownups who were kids when the toys were first popular in the '80s?
How does this big-screen version compare to the different TV shows and the previous movie? Do the explosions and crashes seem more serious here than in the cartoon versions?
- In theaters: July 3, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: October 16, 2007
- Cast: Megan Fox, Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson
- Director: Michael Bay
- Studio: DreamWorks
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 144 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor, and language.
For kids who love sci-fi
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.