Reviewed by: Leah Hickman
struggles and blessings of father-daughter relationships
self-sacrifice for a friend
battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement
powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists pushing the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
questions and answers about the origin of life
|Featuring:||Nicola Peltz … Tessa Yeager
Mark Wahlberg … Cade Yeager
Ken Watanabe … Drift (voice)
T.J. Miller … Lucas
Stanley Tucci … Joshua
Thomas Lennon … Chief of Staff
John Goodman … Hound (voice)
Kelsey Grammer … Harold Attinger
Sophia Myles … Darcy
Titus Welliver … Savoy
In retaliation for the destruction of Chicago shown in the third Transformers film, the United States government is searching for all Transformers—even their former allies, the Autobots—in an attempt to eliminate them and end “the age of Transformers.” Or so they say. The government’s true purpose is actually more complicated than that. Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), a prominent government official, is working with a technology firm to experiment with the latest discoveries in science in hopes of creating a powerful robotic army. For some devious reason, they are especially keen on finding the leader of the Autobots—Optimus Prime. Somehow, finding him will be the key to future success with their new scientific advancements.
Meanwhile, down in Texas, scrap dealer, robotic engineer, and inventor Cade Yeagar (Mark Wahlberg) is broke. His daughter (Nicola Peltz) is getting ready to graduate from high school, and she is desperate for college funds. When Cade finds an old, broken-down truck, he brings it back to his workshop and tinkers with it overnight, hoping to sell it and make enough money to solve some of his financial problems. By morning, however, he has determined that the trashed truck is actually a Transformer. Soon, the injured Transformer awakens, revealing himself to be the Autobot Optimus Prime. Cade promises to help the shape-shifter with his repairs, hoping to learn something about the creature’s incredible technology that will help him with future inventions. But when CIA operatives show up on Cade’s property and demand to know the location of the Autobot, things start to get messy for Cade and his daughter. They become fugitives, running with the hunted Optimus Prime from a government that appears to have a goal much more complicated than merely exterminating Transformers.
An exciting summer action flick, Transformers 4 returns viewers to a universe where giant, robot-like aliens walk the Earth. The movie examines the struggles and blessings of father-daughter relationships, depicts the virtue of sacrificing one’s own life for a friend, and introduces some interesting perspectives on human nature and existence that could potentially spark profitable discussions.
One especially pertinent topic of discussion is found in one of Optimus Prime’s final lines. He states something to the effect that people can find within themselves the answer to the questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” From a biblical perspective, Optimus Prime’s statement reflects the truth that God has set eternity in the hearts of men—as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:11. Humans are ever searching for answers to questions of eternal significance. They are concerned about more than just everyday life and humdrum existence. They long for true meaning and purpose—for a life that that has a lasting effect on history. Optimus Prime’s statement, however, falls utterly short of the truth that humans can never give themselves meaning. Alone, they cannot discover their true purpose. As the rest of Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “[N]o one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Alone, humans cannot understand eternity. God alone holds eternity in his hands, and he and his infallible word alone can ever answer the questions of who we are and why we are here.
Although this movie has its moments, it is mostly just an overwhelming sequence of collisions, explosions, and destruction. The violence certainly earns this film its PG-13 rating. The battles between the Autobots and other Transformers are intense at times, involving a great deal of collateral damage that frequently consists of the destruction of cities and the death of humans. While most of the violence happens between the Transformer characters, the human characters in this movie also see a good deal of action. They are involved in a few car and spaceship chases, a couple characters are violently attacked and threatened with guns, and there is a good deal of shooting. One character is killed in the fire-blast of a Transformer, and viewers see a shot of his dead body, burnt with his bones exposed. There are also a couple instances of intense hand-to-hand combat. In all of the action, however, the blood and gore is actually pretty minimal.
Besides the violence, the film also contains a good deal of foul language and name calling. The Lord’s name is also taken in vain several times.
Although there are no sex scenes and no nudity, there is a smattering of sexual innuendo and a disgracefully large number of under-dressed young women. Several men look lustfully at a number of different young ladies, referring to them as “hot.” One character tells another that he finds a certain woman “very attractive” and later tries to kiss her. The daughter of the main character has a boyfriend against her father’s wishes and hides the fact from her father. The girl and her boyfriend are seen cuddling and later kissing. Although it is later mentioned that the boyfriend snuck into the girl’s house one night in the past, nothing further is mentioned or shown.
In general, the relationships between most of the human characters start out pretty messed-up. The father is initially depicted as rather irresponsible and disconnected from his daughter. The daughter is disobedient and rebellious, and her boyfriend is frequently disrespectful to her father. I did not appreciate this inclusion of yet another stereotypical 21st-century family with a rebellious teenage daughter and an irresponsible father. However, the characters’ relationships are reconciled by the end of the movie, and the three characters begin to show each other love and respect. I still wish, though, that viewers could be reminded that a family doesn’t need to go through a Transformer battle and an end-of-the-world experience in order to have that kind of reconciliation.
Fans of the previous Transformers films will likely enjoy this summer flick. With some impressive CGI and exciting battles, this movie may just satisfy your desire to see some epic action and sweet cars. Although the profanity and innuendo is offensive, Transformers 4 still is a better alternative to other, much more explicit movies. If you are not a Transformers fan, however, I would suggest skipping this movie. Again, it has its moments, but the two hours and forty minutes of collisions, explosions, and destruction can really drown out any sense of plot, character development, or valuable faith themes.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.