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Movie Review

Transformers: Age of Extinction also known as “Transformers 4”

MPAA Rating: PG-13for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo.

Reviewed by: Leah Hickman
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Sequel 3D IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
June 27, 2014 (wide—4,000+ theaters)
September 30, 2014 (DVD)
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

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

Aliens (extraterrestrials)

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 WahlbergCade Yeager
Ken WatanabeDrift (voice)
T.J. Miller … Lucas
Stanley TucciJoshua
Thomas Lennon … Chief of Staff
John GoodmanHound (voice)
Kelsey GrammerHarold Attinger
Sophia Myles … Darcy
Titus Welliver … Savoy
more »
Director: Michael Bay
Producer: Paramount Pictures
Hasbro
more »
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

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.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Great slam-bam big metal robots action flick. I saw a lot of the classic good vs evil themes played out and overall just a fun movie. It's funny because when I picture God's booming voice I always think it will sound like Optimus Prime! This may be a stretch, but I could parallel a couple of things to my christian walk. Prime was going to let us destroy ourselves because he was angry we rejected him much like the numerous time in the Old Testament God was going to destroy Israel until Moses convinced him otherwise… I know a stretch, but it reminded me of that story.

The big over the top movies always makes me wonder when Christ comes blitzkrieg'ing out of the sky with the angelic host trailing Him will it look and out-due these sort of big ending action movies…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—James Pugh, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I went into this moving knowing it was just a bunch of robots, that is it. The action was ridiculous and the 3D was absolutely amazing! I have never seen a movie with such great graphics and true 3D animation. I don’t know what the people are talking about that said it was boring, they must have been sleepy before they got there. It was non stop action and ridiculous scenes. Sure most all of them were totally unrealistic and the acting wasn’t all that great but I didn’t go for that. It was a non packed action flick.

I also am sensitive to the spiritual side of movies and I didn’t see any issue with what the other reviewers were talking about, “killing the Creator, like killing God,” they are reading way too much into this. They were robots, that is it. Yeah they said a few times about a soul but I just ignored that part. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie Smith, age 39 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral— I selected neutral as an overall opinion because, despite my misgivings about the film, it is vastly better than the previous three for a lot of reasons. While still present, the innuendos in “Age of Extinction” were fewer than in its predecessors (especially “Revenge of the Fallen”). The script writing and plot was also superior. From an acting and character development standpoint, I thought that Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci gave strong performances, while other characters were kind of just along for the ride and eventually just got annoying (especially Cade’s daughter and her boyfriend).

The primary objectionable content was actually the worldview that was presented. In addition to presenting Darwinian Evolution as an historical fact (which is pretty standard now), the writers used a form of Panspermia as the origin of the Transformers. The significance is that a growing number of scientists who reject the Bible have resorted to this view in an attempt to resolve the problems with the origin of life by natural processes. Basically, they make ET our creator. In this film, it is implied that the creators are less than benevolent and worthy of Optimus Prime’s wrath, which, as has been pointed out by another reviewer, should be quite offensive to Christians.

The Bible tell us in Revelation that there will be a time (in the near future, I believe) where men will be openly defiant of the true Creator who they erroneously assert to be evil because He is judging the world in righteousness. Rather than repenting, they will actually go to war with Him. We can already see this perspective on smaller scale in many aspects of out society. And lastly, there was the implication that promiscuity is OK as long as you’re over 18, but again, that’s not too surprising. Disturbing, but not surprising.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jonathan, age 32 (USA)
Neutral—The storyline is good, the action is good, the graphics are to die for… but there’s this “little” theme spread throughout the whole movie that the creators of the Transformers are evil. Somehow, I don’t like that, and I don’t think I buy it either. What about the All-Spark in the previous movies? Wasn’t this the big battery that can and does create all kinds of Transformers? How did they get from saying that the All-Spark created them to suddenly believing that they were harvested from salvaged metal that was the blasted remains of dinosaurs? (i.e., why the film has the word “Evolution” in it’s title). This is pretty much a gaping plot hole.

If there is a comparison to be drawn between the actual Creator of humans and their creator, the All-Spark would be a closer fit, seeing that our God “holds all things together through the power of His might,” similar to how the All-Spark would, in a way, hold the bodies of the Transformers together or power them through its spark. Although, even the All-Spark cannot be compared to our God, because it is simply a tool, and our God is never used as anything remotely like one. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Luke Spink, age 31 (USA)
Neutral—Okay, let me start by saying that as someone who walked out halfway through the first Transformers movie and never viewed the following two, this was by far a good film. No, I would not suggest going if you are having trouble with a rebellious teen or if you are questioning the dangers of being a rebellious teen with poor clothing decisions. That said, if you can see little clothing for what it is and can find the wrongfulness in secret relationships and disrespectful boyfriends, I would say you are safe to watch this movie.

I went with my husband (a fan of Transformers since 1984), and I have to admit that I was not disappointed we went. Yes, there was lots of fighting, lots of car racing, and a reasonable storyline to explain it all. Personally, this movie did not offend me, but again if any of the issues I listed above worry you, then skip this movie, because it is laced throughout the story. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Paige, age 25 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Mindless action movie, graphic looks good but story line is thin, no characters development, not much acting skills and no emotional connection! Teenagers might like it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Frank, age over 50 (USA)
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Negative—Long. Mindless. Boring.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: none
—Sam, age 30 (USA)
Negative—My husband and I just returned from seeing this movie and we were very disturbed by it. I am surprised that no other Christian review Web site has mentioned the fact that the transformers that help win the battle are dragons. Really… dragons are the righteous ones, the symbol of Satan, (as per the Bible). That should be enough of a red flag, but wait it gets worse. We find out that the reason the opposing alien is hunting Prime is because his creator is upset with his creation due to the transformers not following his rules and Prime is to be returned to his creator.

So Prime decides that it is time to hunt down and kill his creator. Prime makes it clear that he serves no one. He answers to no one, but himself. (Sounds like the same problem Lucifer had with his Creator.) At the end of the movie, after the dragons have saved the day, Prime announces, as he leaves for deep space, that his creator better watch out because he is coming for him.

I can’t think of anything more offensive that setting it up to have a legitimate reason to kill God. Of course they won’t come right out and say that. Instead they use an alien robot who wants to kill his creator. But the intent is the same.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
— Bl Rs Thompson, age 50 (USA)
Negative—Thanks to this movie, I think many should now be convinced that the devil does exist, and he’s evil. And I’m not talking about Michael Bay. But, since we’re on the subject… I like and enjoy a pretty/loud/dumb piece of entertainment as much as the next guy who doesn’t read enough, but I’ve seen this guy’s movies and I can literally feel the spiritual corruption happening with each new one. I think the reason I’m noticing it is because I can’t find anything human or relatable in them, at all.

Considering a lot of the talent he recruits, and yet still can’t achieve any relatability, I can only come to the conclusion that Bay lacks even the slightest shred of empathy. Life is a short and wonderful gift. This movie is neither of these things.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Demian, age 40 (USA)
Negative—Your review misses a lot of things. For example:

1) Lockdown is a symbol for God—echoes “no man can see my face and live”. He also serves the Creator, and is an international jailor. The Creators seek to enslave, to compel the will of created beings. This is exactly Satan’s accusation against the government of God, and His law.

2) The movie is totally pro-Evolution. The Earth wasn’t created by God in six days. All that happened 65 million years ago. Dinos weren’t wiped out by the Flood. They were wiped out by the aliens.

3) Prime, the hero, is a symbol for Lucifer (Satan) and his war against the Creator. Lots of Hollywood films show the same motifs.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Abraham, age 37 (Canada)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I stopped watching this movie about half way through when the undertones started being Anti-God.
—Roberta, age 50 (USA)

Sorry, no other viewer comments received yet. If you have seen this movie, PLEASE share your observations and insights with others to be posted here. GO