The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (09/27/2011)

Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey, John Turturro, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand

Directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, The Rock, Bad Boys)

Jonathan's Rating: Skip it

Todd's Rating: Theatre Worthy

JONATHAN’S WORD: Todd and I are split with this one again.

TODD’S WORD: Surprise, surprise!

JONATHAN’S WORD: So I just recommend that you save yourself some time, skip everything Todd wrote, and just read what I wrote. Or better yet… save yourself over 2 hours and just skip the whole film! I wish I would have.

TODD’S WORD: Nice! But I have to disagree. It’s like this: Everything they did wrong with the second film was fixed for Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Maybe they fixed a few things… but the film makers still sold out to making a somewhat crude and racy film that draws theatres full of kids—literally toddlers! That’s just a little bit too hard for me to get past.

TODD’S WORD: Yes, some inappropriate parts, but parents shouldn’t be bringing their small kids to the theatre.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I agree that parents should be better at teaching their kids media discernment. But this film is misleading. The opening credits tell us that the film is sponsored by Hasbro toy company. My theatre was full of little kids. How are you going to keep those little kids from calling each other “d**khead” when they are walking out of the theatre, since that’s what the cute little funny robots called each other?

TODD’S WORD: This isn’t the only PG-13 film with this kind of content.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Yeah, but it’s pretty racy and crude for a film that is being marketed as a family film.

TODD’S WORD: Let’s dive into the story- it’s pretty simple. The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

JONATHAN’S WORD: The moon spacecraft storyline was pretty creative. Too bad we saw it all in the preview. The movie was just boring. I’m not kidding. I couldn’t wait until it was over.

TODD’S WORD: I disagree. This movie is all about robots blowing stuff up. No need to bog things down with a complex story.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I would agree with you there- that the film is all about robots blowing stuff up. And if you are simple-minded enough to be entertained by over 2 hours of robots rolling around and shooting each other… be my guest. The only thing this movie was missing was a giant toddler that was holding each robot in its hand bashing the robots together. I think this story was invented by a toddler… a toddler with a foul mouth.

TODD’S WORD: I thought it was entertaining enough. Come on – the reason we even had a space race is because aliens crashed there…that’s pretty clever. Speaking of blowing stuff up, what did you think about the special effects?

JONATHAN’S WORD: Better than the last films. At least this time Michael Bay decided to do some slow mo. scenes and slow the action down. That was cool.

TODD’S WORD: I thought this one was far better than the other films. There is still way too much going on, but with fewer “transforming” robots and a lot more fighting, I was able to follow the action a lot better. I loved the “Michael Bay Slow Motion” shots. It definitely made the movie more enjoyable when they slowed down the action in the middle of an intense battle scene.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Don’t get me wrong. The film had about 20 to 30 minutes of enjoyable moments. Just bring a book for the other 2 hours!

TODD’S WORD: Sigh. There is also a really cool scene when they parachute/fly out of planes into downtown Chicago – that was very cool.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Sure… that was a cool minute.

TODD’S WORD: I know you don’t like 3D films… but I also really enjoyed the extra special effect in 3D.

JONATHAN’S WORD: ZZZZzzzzzzzzz. More effects. Give me a character that I care about. Shia’s character Sam was a prideful, spoiled brat. The film really lacked likable characters. Surprising… because the cast had some amazing talent.

TODD’S WORD: I agree. Most of the cast returns, but one big absence… Megan Fox. I for one am very glad she did not make a third appearance. I’m not saying Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is an angel. She’s a little racy. Perhaps Michael Bay is a bit of a perv.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Or a sellout. Again… for all you parents out there that are thinking of bringing your kids… the opening shot of Rosie’s character is a shot of her butt as she walks up the stairs in her underwear. She is, of course, sleeping with Shia’s character.

TODD’S WORD: Yes… typical Hollywood eye-candy. But the film also added to the cast Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand – and each one played their roles perfectly. Oh, and they got Buzz Flippin Aldrin to make a cameo… I loved it.

JONATHAN’S WORD: They couldn’t save the film.

TODD’S WORD: The film is over 2 ½ hours long, and I enjoyed almost every minute of it… almost. So I’ll give it a Theater Worthy.

JONATHAN’S WORD: The movie just wasn’t for kids. I even told my teenagers to skip it. They didn’t even argue.

There is so much sci-fi action, violence, mayhem and destruction and when the action does stop there is a lot of inappropriate sexuality and innuendo. Robots calling each other “d**khead”, talking about getting lucky, underwear shots, Sam mouthing “What the f**k” when he receives an award from the president… the list goes on. Young kids definitely shouldn’t see it. And teenagers will most likely absorb the subtle imitatable behavior such as crude behavior, Sam’s bad attitude, living with his girlfriend, etc.

Note: Of course we don’t recommend this movie for kids/teenagers but in the case that they have already seen it, here are some questions you can use to dialogue with them about the film.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message/theme of this movie?

A: Throughout the film the Autobots display unwavering loyalty to Sam and all of mankind… even when humanity doesn’t deserve it or turns their collective back on the robots..

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
A: What does loyalty mean to you?

In the dictionary, the word loyal means unswerving in allegiance as 1) faithful allegiance to one’s sovereign or government, 2) faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due, 3) faithful to a cause, ideal or custom. Synonyms are: faithful, allegiance, devotion, dedication, constant, unwavering, steady, unfailing.

What’s the difference between being loyal to a sports team and being loyal to the coach of a team for which you play? (Hint: notice that the definition above implies that what you are loyal to should be deserving of your loyalty.)

Think of the people, organizations, teams, causes, etc. to which you are (or have been) loyal. Which ones are deserving of your loyalty? Which ones are not?

What does the Bible have to say about loyalty?
    Loyalty is unwavering in good times and bad. (Proverbs 17:17)
    Loyalty is what you do, not what you say. (Matthew 26:33-35 and 26:69-75)
    Loyalty is in your heart. It is willing and not reluctant. (Psalm 78:8)
    Loyalty can be demanding. (Exodus 17:8-13)
    Loyalty may involve sacrifice. (2 Chronicles 11:13-16)

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: How is loyalty different from friendship? How is it the same as friendship?

How do you feel when a friend proves himself/herself loyal or faithful to you?

How do you feel when you are betrayed by a friend?

Discuss how you are a loyal and faithful friend? What are some things you can do to become more loyal?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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