Beast Machines: Transformers

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Beast Machines: Transformers TV Poster Image
Exciting, violent action continues robotic animal story.

Parents say

Not yet rated

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

Occasional crossover between good guys and bad confuses the definitions but also serves as a reminder that people and behavior can change over time. Megatron demands blind obedience from his subjects; Optimus Primal and his crew are motivated by a desire to free Cybertron from Megatron's clutches. Outnumbered and overpowered, Maximals are true underdogs.

Positive role models & representations

Most good guys are good and bad guys are bad, but that's not a hard-and-fast rule. Occasionally a Vehicon shows some heart, and even Optimus Primal is known to follow selfish endeavors. Positive qualities on display among the Maximals include courage, teamwork, and leadership, which help them overcome what they lack in size and number against their enemies, but some can be selfish or vengeful. Vehicons are notably emotionless and follow orders without question.

Violence & scariness

Intense clashes between the Maximals and the Vehicons, marked by explosions, gunfire, and lots of impact. Victims show signs of fatigue and injury; others are shown lying lifeless on the ground in the aftermath of conflict. Some beast machines look frightening.

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

The series is tied to the massive Transformers franchise and has its own line of toys and other items.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beast Machines: Transformers has lengthy violent sequences, and the characters face frequent peril from enemies. There's a lot of shooting, many explosions, and some scary beings in this ongoing struggle between coercion and peace. This series is different from many Transformers stories -- but similar to its predecessor, Beast Wars -- in that the characters are animals rather than robots, which makes them and their plight more sympathetic. As with any Transformers series, commercial tie-ins are a major consideration here thanks to the toys, accessories, and other products modeled after the characters.  

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What's the story?

Following the epic clashes between Maximals and Predacons chronicled in Beast Wars: Transformers, the Maximals awaken to discover they're back on their home planet of Cybertron with little memory and infected with a virus that threatens their very survival. With the timely help of a computerized being called the Oracle, the Maximals -- Optimus Primal (voiced by Gary Chalk), Cheetor (Ian James Corlett), Rattrap (Scott McNeil), and Blackarachnia (Venus Terzo) -- are transformed into powerful hybrids of machines and animals who set out to destroy Megatron (David Kaye) and his resident Vehicons. Along the way, they befriend others battling the Vehicons, including Nightscream (Alessandro Juliani) and Botanica (Kathleen Barr).

Is it any good?

This visually captivating addition to the Transformers franchise continues in epic fashion the tug-of-war between good and evil that spans Cybertron and Earth. Now focused on Maximals and Vehicons, the story otherwise leans heavily on the kind of content that's long made Transformers a household name: strong heroes, exciting battle sequences, and intricately animated adaptable characters. BEAST MACHINES: TRANSFORMERS might surprise viewers who haven't seen the characters as animals yet, but it doesn't take long to settle into this engaging plot.

That said, Beast Machines is rather violent, and some of the characters are downright imposing on-screen, so it's not a sure fit even for kids who have seen other Transformers stories. The fact that the protagonists are variations of animals rather than of robots bolsters sympathy for them and their plight as well. Ultimately this is a know-your-kid situation; if yours can handle the tense content, then they'll enjoy both the story and the action.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this series presents good and evil, right and wrong. Are they easily defined? Do the Maximals ever cross the line and act in a way that you would consider evil? Is bad behavior always forgivable?

  • What makes a character heroic? Who are your favorite TV or movie heroes? Have you ever been disappointed by someone you've admired?

  • If you've seen other Transformers movies and/or series, how does this one compare? Do you like that the characters are animals rather than robots? How does it affect how you see their emotions?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love robots

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