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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) - Movie Review for Parents

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Poster art © Paramount

Bottom line: Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an extremely high action film that contains heavy violence, profanity, some sexuality and objectification of women.

MPAA Rating: PG-13, for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo
Guide age recommendation: 16+
Genre: Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
Runtime: Approx. 157 minutes
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey
Release Date: June 29, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Overview

The last battle on earth between the Autobots and Decepticons was won, but the Autobots still work with the government on secret ops all over the globe, and they are always on the lookout for any sign of Decepticon activity. The Autobots are not happy when they find out that the government has been keeping a secret. Apparently, the purpose of the first mission to the moon was actually to explore the dark side of the moon, where a crashed Autobot spacecraft held many mysteries.

Immediately, Optimus Prime knows what the spacecraft is. Led by Sentinel Prime, the ship was a final, desperate attempt to save their planet, Cybertron. If the Decepticons were to get a hold of a set of powerful pillars that had been on the ship, it would be catastrophic, and it seems that is exactly what they are trying to do. The Autobots are sent to the moon to retrieve the pillars, and they are also able to bring back and wake Sentinel Prime.

Meanwhile, Sam (Shia LaBeouf) has a new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), and has graduated from college. He finally lands a job in the mail room of a large company, but he learns that Carly's wealthy boss Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey) had put in a good word for him. Soon after getting the job, a coworker hands Sam information on the mission to the moon and the current attempt to secure the pillars. Immediately, the Decepticons come after him, and Sam's life is turned upside down once again.

Sam reconnects with the government and his old contacts in an effort to aid the Autobots, but betrayals on both the human and the Transformer sides tip the scales in favor of the Decepticons, and it seems all hope is lost. An epic battle ensues, and some are willing to fight to the end no matter what, but others are betting on the humans to lose.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Guide Review for Parents

Like the other Transformers movies, Dark of the Moon is an explosive, metal-clashing parade of massive-scale special effects, almost every one accentuated with the stereotypical babe, in this case Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly, who oozes sex out of every pore. Intersperse into that a few lines of humor, and you've got the quintessential guy flick. The fact that the characters are based off of comic book heroes/kids toys is a point of nostalgia for many guys, and the very prospect is an awesome dream come true for the kids who actually play with the toys now days. Which means, kids of varying ages will want to see it.

The PG-13 film contains heavy violence throughout. We see many things being blown up, everything from buildings to humans. The gargantuan Transformers slash each other to pieces, and they do the same to some humans, who fight back with all sorts of guns and heavy artillery. Some human hand-to-hand combat occurs as well. What we don't see a lot of, though, is blood and gore. The humans who are blown to bits seem to disintegrate, though we do see bits flying and in at least one case, a skull rolls along the ground.

The film contains heavy profanity, including at least one use of the "F" word. Also, there is some sexuality and heavy objectification of women. For example, the way we are introduced to Sam's new girlfriend is by watching a close-up of her barely clad butt as she ascends the stairs. For more info on possibly offensive or violent content, please see the "content overview" below.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (Extreme): Transformers use threatening language as they slash each other, throw humans around, blow things up, and more. An entire city is reduced to rubble as the inhabitants scream in terror and try to run away. Shock Wave in particular is especially effective at destruction as it travels through buildings, vehicles and people like a snake, shredding everything in it's path. We see people being blown up, thrown around and more, but not a lot of blood is shown. Some pretty brutal fist fights occur between a couple of humans as well.
  • Scary Scenes (High): Kids may be frightened by the scenes listed under "violence." The intense action that occurs throughout the film could be very unsettling and scary to kids.
  • Sex/Nudity (High): We see the barely clothed bottom of a woman as she goes up stairs. Women in the film wear very revealing, sexy clothing and are obviously lusted after by men. The film contains innuendo and some sexually tense or charged situations. A few passionate kisses occur. Also, a tousle in a bathroom stall gives the appearance to other characters in the movie that two men were engaging in sexual activity.

  • Drugs and Alcohol (Medium) People are shown drinking in several scenes in the movie.
  • Language (High): The "F" word is used. Profanity such as the "S" word, both "B" words, and the "A" word are used multiple times. The phrases "Oh my God" and "Jesus" or variations are used multiple times. The words "damn" and "hell" are used.
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (Extreme): Several jokes in the movie contain profanity, or profanity used in colorful phrases and sarcastic jokes that kids may want to imitate. The Decepticons and Autobots lob a lot of threats at each other as they fight and destroy things. One bad guy kidnaps a woman and threatens to have her killed.
  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Medium): Scenes during which people or Autobots die could be sad or unsettling to kids.
  • Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: Robots, aliens, the safety of our planet, guns, artillery, special ops teams, relationships, men and women living together.
Disclosure: The studio provided a free screening of this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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