Australian Council on Children and the Media

Transformers: Age of Extinction

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Not suitable under 13, PG 13-15 (Violence; Disturbing scenes; Scary characters)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • a review of Transformers: Age of Extinction completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 July 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence, disturbing scenes and scary characters.
Children aged 13 to 15 Parental guidance due to violence and disturbing scenes.
Children aged 15 and over OK for this group

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: Age of Extinction
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Action violence and coarse language
Length 165 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

At the end of the previous Transformers film, a battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons ended with the levelling of Chicago. As a result the few surviving Autobots were given sanctuary while an order was made for the Decepticons to be hunted down and destroyed. However the remaining Autobots were betrayed by CIA agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) who, with the assistance of a bounty hunter named Lockdown (voice of Mark Ryan), has been systematically hunting down and destroying the remaining Autobots.

Meanwhile, Texas motor-mechanic Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) are finding it hard to make ends meet and are about to be evicted from their farm. Yeager brings home a wrecked truck to strip down and sell as parts, and discovers that it is the Autobot Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen). Prime has been hiding out after being wounded in an ambush orchestrated by Attinger. With a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the capture of Autobots it doesn’t take long for word of Optimus Prime’s location to reach Attinger and a team of mercenaries descending on Yeager’s farm in a bid to capture the Transformer. Luckily Prime, Yeager, Tessa and Tessa’s boyfriend Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor) escape and head to Monument Valley where they join up with the Autobots -Bumblebee, Crosshairs (voice of John DiMaggio), Drift (voice of Ken Watanabe), and Hound (voice of John Goodman).

Determined to know why they were betrayed by the humans, the Autobots, with the assistance of Yeager, Tessa and Shane, discover that a technology company owned by Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) has been conspiring with Harold Attinger to create their own new and improved Transformers using a recycled metal called Transformium. At the same time, Lockdown is on a mission of his own to capture Optimus Prime and has offered Attinger and Joyce a device called “The Seed” for the capture of Prime. The Seed is capable of devastating an area the size of a large city and harvesting metal to make into Transformium. The Autobots and their friends are determined to stop this happening.

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.

Aliens/alien invasion; betrayal; secret government organisations

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.

The film contains action violence, some of it brutal, the reported deaths of hundreds of civilians and the destruction of property on a massive scale. There is one scene of a particularly gruesome death.  Examples include:

  • A man threatens a woman with a baseball bat, charging at her and swinging the bat at her.
  • Throughout the film there are fights between giant Transformer robots. Transformers are hit by exploding rockets and automatic weapons fire. One Transformer has his leg blown off by a rocket, pleads for his life and is then impaled through the chest with a gigantic sword.  A second Transformer plunges his fist into the wounded transformer’s chest and rips out the sword.
  • CIA agents manhandle two men and a teenage girl, pushing the three to the ground and pinning them down. One agent presses a handgun to the girl’s head and threatens to shoot her unless her father tells him what he wants to know - the girl cries and screams in fear. An agent gives the order to shoot and the gun is fired into the ground next to the girl.
  • Throughout the film we see a number of reckless and perilous car chases which involve damage to both vehicles and buildings containing civilians.
  • A Transformer in car form speeds along a highway and transforms into a giant sword wielding robot that uses its sword to slice through several cars, leaving the cars in pieces scattered across the highway; no images are depicted of the occupants. 
  • A blast from a weapon engulfs a man, instantly incinerating him. There is a disturbingly gruesome image of the man’s corpse left in a running pose, blackened and still burning.         
  • A brutal battle between two Transformers involves them punching each other in the head and body, and slamming each other into the ground
  • During a fight between two men and a woman the three punch and kick each other in the head, stomach and body. At one point one of the men brutally throws the woman against metal pipes while one man slams a metal hose reel into the other man’s face.  
  • An alien space craft sucks up numerous vehicles, including large passenger ships, and then drops them on to the city below. By the end of the film large parts of a major city are left destroyed.  
  • A man chases another man across rooftops, the two men fighting and nearly falling from the buildings. The men crash through the window of a high-rise apartment and continue fighting inside the apartment. The fighting continues until one man punches the other through a window and the man falls to his death, crashing through a number of balconies before landing on the pavement.      

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 scenes and characters in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • One scene aboard an alien spaceship depicts a robotic arm with a clawed hand picking up pieces of metal. 
  • A pack of menacing and slobbering Transformer dogs with yellow saliva
  • A bat-like caged alien hanging upside down in a cage. The creature wraps its long tongue around a girl’s leg and tries to pull the girl into its cage. The girl severs the creature’s tongue and it bleeds green blood.
  • A yellow skinned creature like a giant spider with  long fangs
  • Gigantic dinosaur-like Transformers including a fire breathing T-Rex, a two headed Pterodactyl, and a Stegosaurus. They rip apart other Transformers with their teeth and eat their heads.

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 would also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and characters

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 are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and characters

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.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes and characters.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Vehicles: Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Mini Cooper, Dodge
  • Drinks: Coke, Budweiser.
  • Products: Samsung, Epson etc. 

The Transformers franchise is based on Hasbro Transformers toys, which are popular with, and marketed to, children who are not old enough to see the film. There is also an app based on the film which is being marketed as suitable for ages 9+. Read the ACCM review of this app.

Sexual references

The film contains low-level sexual references and innuendo throughout. Examples include:

  • A man ogles two young women wearing short shorts and low-cut tops that reveal cleavage and we hear him say “Look at these two June bugs. Mamma!”
  • An older man talks about seeing dancing girls with “big cha-chas”. 
  • A teenage girl while video chatting with her boyfriend tells him that he is “looking hot today” and asks him to take his shirt off.    
  • A man tells another man that jellyfish are erotic and deadly like women, and that his ex-wife was sexy but a bitch.
  • A young man tells the father of his girlfriend that he wants to get some mouthwash because he wants to be fresh when he makes out with the man’s daughter.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Throughout the film Tessa wears short shorts that partially expose her buttocks and tanks tops that reveal cleavage and abdomen. In one scene the camera angle looks from the girl’s feet up under her shorts. 
  • Most women in the film wear tight and revealing clothing. 
  • A young man puts his arm around his teenage girlfriend while sitting on a sofa and the father of the girl tells them both, “Excuse me there’s no smooching around here”.
  • An man moves in to kiss a woman, but she shoves him away.
  • Tessa and her boyfriend kiss passionately.

Use of substances

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

  • Social drinking by adults
  • A truck spills a load of bottled beer and a man picks up a bottle, opens it and takes a swig.
  • One of the Autobots constantly has a cigar in his mouth.  

Coarse language

The film contains coarse language and name calling throughout. Examples include:

  • fuck; freaking; shit; crap; arse; arsehole; Jesus; god; son of a bitch; bastards

In a nutshell

Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth in this series, is a science fiction action adventure targeting adolescent males in particularly. The film contains a number of stereotypical characters and objectifies its female characters. It contains non-stop intense action and violence which becomes repetitive, especially as the film has a running time of 165 minutes.  

The film’s M rating is appropriate. It is not suitable for children under 13, who may be attracted because they like Transformers toys, and parental guidance is recommended for the 13 to 15 age group. In addition to the constant violence, there are a number of disturbing scenes and scary characters.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Technological development left unchecked can be dangerous.
  • From the mistakes that humanity makes come opportunities for learning and advancement.

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

  • Selflessness: A number of the film’s characters place the welfare of others before their own and are willing to put their lives on the line to protect those they care for.

 Parents also may wish to discuss the stereotyping of a number of the film’s main characters and the manner in which the film objectifies women.

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