Why did I hate the 4th Transformers? Let’s start with …

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

As I walked to my seat in the Destiny USA Syracuse theater for the “Transformers: Age of Extinction” Friday matinee, I noticed a whole lot of parents with young kids sitting on both sides of them.

I couldn’t help but keep noticing as I settled in for the four, five, six, seven trailers. The little voices were having a grand time anticipating the spectacle to come.

Hey, the manners and silence kicked in once the movie started. They wanted to see the truck morph into Optimus Prime and all the other trucks and cars become all the other ‘bots. And the surely needed to soak in all of the hideous violence that became of that in this fourth installment of the popular Transformers series directed by Michael Bay.

It’s much, much, much too violent for these children, I thought, as these Transformers, made to act as human as possible with their voices and personalities whether on the good side or the dastardly aide, did whatever they could to lay each other to waste. And, hey, the underlying goal of the whole evil plan was for the annihilation of mankind. What a special effect that would make, huh?

This chase, with Mark Wahlberg as the real human pivot, went on for 2 hours, 46 minutes.

I hated that these kids were watching it while hoping that not a one of them went home and whacked the neighbor kid on the side of the head with a garden shovel.

Want more movie details?

To read my film blog review on the Syracuse New Times site, click the link below:


What is your feeling about violence in movies that it’s obvious parents are going to bring or allow their young children to attend? Machine vs. Machine make it OK for you? Describe what makes your ideal July Fourth Weekend film. It’s this weekend! Let’s get ready to enjoy.

42 thoughts on “Why did I hate the 4th Transformers? Let’s start with …

  1. I took my grandson to see “Earth to Echo” I was expecting an ET type movie. My G-son indulge my choice. After 45 minutes I wondered if I should of let him see Transformers. Earth to Echo was slow. Based on your review I’m happy with our choice. I am constantly telling him that violence is not the way to solve problems. His father will let him see Transformers but G-mom can keep peace in our conversations.


  2. I am not a fan of the series, just don’t relate, but sad that someone who had enjoyed the rest is not happy! Too bad, Mark! Glad for this review and will pass it on to my friends, too! Smiles, Robin


  3. Oh, Mark – good post! Violence is a problem. I say that as someone who tends to read a lot about murder (and write about it too). One of your commenters made the point that violence has always been with us; that’s true. I do think things have gotten worse over the past few decades. Now we have to ‘rate’ games for violence. Seriously? When you were a kid, can you remember not being able to play a game because it was deemed too violent? Many of the video games are exercises in gratuitous violence, and video avatars representing humans are blown up, raped, bludgeoned, mutilated – and all in the name of ‘entertainment.’ And let’s not forget the popular music that glorifies rape, dehumanizes women, and makes carrying and using guns super cool.

    Fairy tales had elements of violence; stories in the Bible have elements of violence. Movies which represent real events (like ‘Saving Private Ryan’) have moments of horror and violence that are chilling. But they are not gratuitous moments. There’s always a moral or theme or some sort of understanding of the cost that violence demands of us. I’m not sure that is true of many of the movies today – or the video games.

    Another problem is parents who allow movies and games to function as babysitters for their kids, and then wonder why the kids are so disaffected from reality or lacking in empathy for others.

    I don’t know. Our culture is certainly a violent one, and I think a lot of people do become desensitized to the violence they see in the movies, the games, the news… what horrified people in the past is now a big yawn. And that is scary.


    • I agree with you, Kate. The problem is when people take it for rote. No big deal. So what. Always there.

      In our time, as you say, it made us feel badly for those being violated, made us think about the ramificaitons.


      Thanks for your thoughtful comments.


  4. I’ve only been subjected to one of these Transformer movies and that was more than enough for me. I went with my sister and her son a couple of years ago. I wanted to run out of the theatre! Totally not my thing! I can’t watch violent movies, they stress me out so much and who needs that stress? Mr. B loves action and scary gory movies. There is always much discussion when choosing a movie to go to together.


  5. I thought something along the same lines as you when I saw the Transformers preview recently. I don’t like it at all when movies do that OR when parents don’t check into it first to see if it’s appropriate for the little ones. Nice post! 😀


  6. i’m against violent movies and games for kids, and i’m not conservative in any way. the trouble with this kind of film, is that there are toys and merchandise geared to the kids and the movie has the same characters involved, so they market it to the whole family, and kids are excited, but it’s really for the adults. i think it’s your job as a parent to check out what a film or game is all about before letting your child be a part of it. when they are older, they can decide for themselves but until then it’s your job to help them choose age appropriate things to be exposed to. they can become really fearful and become desensitized to violence easily at that age. the running time alone is a clue that it is really geared to adults.


    • I appreciate your take on this, Beth. You’re right. Almost three hours, a right-screening parent knows, not for young kids. And the marketers pick films for products without care for the overall impact of the plot, I agree.


  7. Watching a violent movie does not make kids violent. There has always been terrible violence and cruelty in the world long before these movies were being made. I agree that age limits on movies and games should be adhered to, most parents are not strict enough about this, but I have a 10 yr old and 12 yr old boys, and they are marvelously well adjusted, and well able to see whats real and whats not, whats acceptable and whats not. In our day we watched the road runner being blown to bits by the wily cayote etc just because it was animated did not make the concept of violence ok surely? Life was not better, simpler, more innocent in the old days, agression, rape, child abuse, mùrder, it all still happened except it was brushed under the carpet and no one ever heard about it.


  8. Children can be introduced to violence in ways that their little minds can process like the reading of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for instance, which introduced generations of children to really violent and cruel stuff but at a safe enough distance that it didn’t start the deadening of their reactions. That’s what I’m afraid of – all the things that we as little kids would have found really upsetting – bodies blown apart, etc., doesn’t even seem to register with kids today. Do I sound hopelessly old and outdated? Probably. Many years ago my Dad managed a movie theater on the Army base where we were stationed. And he let me watch a movie “The Haunting” with him which scared me so badly, he had to take me out of the theater and sit with me at nighttime. I still remember it.


    • It was so long that it started on the weekend before Fourth of July and ended on the weekend before Labor Day.

      It was longer than War and Peace and Another War.

      I can go on and on, but I complained about how long it was, Jeanette.


  9. And we wonder why violence is such a booming business in our every day world. We see it, hear it, read it, we read it in the news and we seek it out in our entertainment. Sadly the “we” includes the kids. And the kids don’t have the ability that we do to separate all that they see and hear from news/entertainment/real life. It’s all part of their every day.


  10. Anything Griswold family related makes it a good holiday flick for me! While I don’t have kids, my folks would watch a questionable movie we wanted to see before giving my sister and I permission when growing up. To me, it seems like lazy and irresponsible parenting, allowing kids to see such violent flicks.


    • Griswold, yes, indeed, I agree, that’s a summer holiday choice. Let’s get the station wagon around to get grandma, right, CBXB?

      I like the way your parents did it for you and your sister. Sensible parenting, sounds like to me.


  11. I don’t take my son to violent movies bc they bother me. I sat through Edge of Tomorrow and hated most of it, although I’m sure most XY folks enjoyed it. My hub thought it was great. A few years ago, the two of us had gone to see a new Dane Cook/Jessica Alba penguin movie, and the first second of the movie started out w/ Dane having sex in all these positions with various women and boobs everywhere. A child behind me looked to be about 6, and my stomach was in knots, knowing he was seeing all this. The mom put her hands over his ears but that was not enough. I had to say something. I can’t recall exactly but it was something about it being inappropriate (why would you EVEREVER take a kid to a rated R movie?). I saw things at a young age I wish I could unsee. Anyway, it ruined the movie for me. A few minutes later, she put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re right” and they left, but it was still awful to deal with.


    • Good for you for speaking up and good for the Mom for acting sensibly rather than defensively. I’ve seen a few parents with very small children at violent movies and I wondered the same thing. But I didn’t speak up.


      • You never know. People lose it for the oddest reasons. I once told some guys behind me to be quiet because I paid to hear the movie … not them. (It probably didn’t hurt I was with my husband and two other big guys.) Fortunately, they did. But, as you know, it could have gone south so quickly.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you, Kerbey. It is a tough decision to speak your piece at a time like that because in our world, well, some people can react quite badly for having their judgment called out in public. The mother let your message sink in and acted appropriately.

      My feeling at this movie is that the parents and kids were equally gobbling up the violence as everyday movie and video game stuff.

      That doesn’t make it right. Blockbuster movie makers have the responsibility to consider such things.

      In a penguin movie, Kerbey? How said is that?!


  12. I hope you are correct about the kids not acting out the movie, Mark. They’ve been getting worse and worse over the years, and the kids of today are all reflecting exactly what they see in the movies. But then, if people stopped going to those movies maybe they would stop making them. No profit, no gain. That would be like trying to move the Pacific Ocean over to the Atlantic, one teaspoonful at a time.


  13. As a grandmother of 3 young boys, I have watched the insidious creep of violence into their lives via movies and video games. While they are challenged on the one hand to be creative in overcoming obstacles to a “win”, at the same time they become tolerant of violence to do so. The fun of Mario Brothers evolves into subsequent characters inured with various “powers” as they travel the roads to success via Mine Craft and other game pursuits. That they freely admit, “it is not real”, where is the line crossed that enables them to accept violence as a way to success ? I don’t for a minute think that kids don’t need to know that there is violence in their world but I don’t think it should be accepted freely as a means to an end.

    Liked by 1 person

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