Australian Council on Children and the Media

Transformers

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Not recommended under 12, PG to 15 (Violence, Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Transformers
  • a review of Transformers completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 June 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to frequent violent and scary scenes.
Children aged 12-15 Parental guidance strongly recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 15 Children over 15 years could watch this movie without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Transformers
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate action violence
Length 143 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Transformers tells of the longstanding intergalactic battle between the ‘good’ Autobots led by Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and the ‘bad’ Decepticons, led by the evil Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving). Their battle centres on each side trying to find and obtain the source of all Transformer power, the Cube. The Cube has been hidden on planet Earth for many years, where Megatron and his forces have begun infiltrating military and political bases to find it. An artic explorer of the early 1900s, Captain Witwicky stumbled upon this plot and left the secrets of his discovery to his family.
Over 100 years later, his great grandson, Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) uses a school presentation both to impress a popular classmate, Mikayla (Megan Fox), and to sell off some his intrepid ancestor’s belongings to fund the purchase of his first car. The car ultimately selected is an old yellow Camaro, which Sam discovers is in fact the Transformer Bumblebee. He also discovers that he holds important secrets to the location of the Cube and that Bumblebee is his guardian.
Meanwhile, in warzone Qatar, a US military base is attacked by an unknown but deadly foe. The only survivors are a squadron and their captain (Josh Duhamel) and they try desperately try to warn the Secretary for Defence (Jon Voigt) of this new threat. He in turn enlists young computer analysts to identify where the enemy is from. A young female analyst (Rachel Taylor) identifies the force to be the robotic and alien Decepticons.
Back in LA, as Sam finds himself being pursued by both the Decepticons and an operative (John Turtuorro) from the secretive Section Seven, Mikayla finds herself caught up in his troubles. As the Decepticon threat looms, Bumblebee sends a message to his Autobot friends, who crash down to earth. The Autobots, along with their human friends, join together in a final bid to rid earth and the galaxy of the destructive Decepticons.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Good versus evil, self-sacrifice

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is frequent violence in this movie including:

  • A destructive attack on a US military base in Qatar in which buildings are blown up, windows are blown in by a sonic boom, and soldiers are killed in explosions and machine gun fire. No blood is shown, but soldiers are seen being thrown about and then inanimate.
  • The surviving squadron is attacked by a robotic scorpion-like creature. It kills one of the soldiers and injures others. The attack moves into a local village, where again villagers are injured and homes destroyed by bombs.
  • A small Decepticon infiltrates Air Force One, and while attempting to upload a virus into the military database, is attacked by CIA agents. Several agents are killed by the Decepticon, which survives.
  • Sam is chased and eventually caught by a Decepticon. He is thrown about and appears to be hurt.
  • There is huge battle scene towards the end of the movie, with fighting between the Autobots and Decepticons, and the military and the Decepticons. Many soldiers, air force personnel and terrified civilian bystanders are killed and injured
  • Many Decepticons are destroyed and Megatron is shown to callously rip apart one of the central Autobot characters.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Children may be frightened by the transformation of the Autobots and particularly when the Decepticons.are masking themselves and transform into very threatening entities.
  • Captain Witwicky discovers a frozen Megatron. Megatron later escapes his cryogenic freeze and destroys his prison to reunite with the other Decepticons.
  • the asteroid-like landing of the Autobots on earth.
  • In Qatar, a local child who befriends the US soldiers is seen to be frightened by the Decepticons, and in as much danger as the soldiers. He is later reunited with his father.
  • Bumblebee is captured and tortured by the Section 7 unit.
  • Sam and Mikayla are attacked by a Decepticon. Bumblebee saves them, but is then involved in a high speed chase scene with the police car Decepticon..
  • During an escape from Section 7, Sam and Mikalya fall from a bridge. They are saved, but Bumblebee is captured.
  • Sam is given possession of the Cube and ends up perched on the top of building being taunted by Megatron. He is knocked off the building and screams as he falls to the ground. He is saved by Optimus Prime.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by many of the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by many of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Depending on sensitivity, some children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • The Transformers!
  • Ebay
  • Apple computer
  • Panasonic
  • Porsche
  • Camaro / General Motors
  • Nokia

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • In Sam’s bedroom, there are posters of bikini-clad women on his wall. He also later refers to having porn magazines hidden under his bed.
  • Sam’s friend calls Mikayla an “evil jock concubine” and when Sam dumps him for Mikayla, he tells Sam to put “bros before hos”.
  • As Mikayla is looking at his car’s engine, Sam is seen to be checking out her body. He then accidentally keeps speaking in sexual innuendos (e.g. I like females working on my engine.)
  • When Sam locks himself in his room, his mother asks him whether he was masturbating.
  • When the Sector Seven team invade their home and destroy their garden, Sam’s mother yells at them to ‘get their hands off my bush!”.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Sam’s father is shown to be drinking wine one evening at home.
  • Sam asks a police officer if he is taking drugs.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Shut up, heck, crap, piece of crap, damn, cheap ass, oh my God, frickin’, what the F! (word is not actually spoken), kickass, pissed off, pissy, Holy God, A-holes, mother F (word not spoken)

In a nutshell

The Transformers is an action adventure movie adaptation of the 1980’s cartoon series featuring the Autobots and Decepticons. This well-made and surprisingly humorous movie will be enjoyed particularly by a male audience, both adolescents and adults.
The main messages from this movie are that sometimes victory can only be achieved by true sacrifice and that people/robots can have hidden depths and qualities.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Loyalty, friendship, tolerance
  • Positive female role models – women standing up for themselves and not accepting a bimbo role
  • Strong family relationships
  • Courage and facing your fears.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Dangerous driving
  • The use of violence and aggression as a means to resolve conflict
  • Showing disrespect to parents and people in authority or who have wisdom

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