Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Transformers, Schmanformers!

Ok, I did start this blog so that I could write about cool film for kids and sound off when something warrants it (and I've got plenty to sound off about... I'm just saving it up). So, I’ll sound off here about the 2007 Transformers movie.

It’s rated PG-13. I’d gathered from reading parental notes that it contained a bit of raunchy humor and language, so ignored it and hoped it would go away. Keegan never bugged me to see it, so its theatrical released managed to skate by us, and I thought that was that.

This past summer, one of K’s buddies saw it and couldn’t stop talking about it, so K did start bugging me to rent it. I finally relented, thinking it was about Transformers, for cryin’ out loud, a stupid toy that boys are infatuated with starting around age seven. How bad could it be? The movie would surely be geared towards boys maybe ... eight years to ... 12? Maybe it had one or two cleverly inappropriate moments that would go over K’s head, at most (as in the superb Iron Man – now that is a successful way to do a PG-13 movie; actually, put Robert Downey Jr. in just about anything, and I’ll call it successful!)?

I also figured I would watch Transformers with Keegan, and have the remote handy if necessary. I thought that would help. Somehow. Instead I wanted to sink into the couch and was rendered speechless for a full minute while I groped for the remote; I also thought, “How would I explain turning it off now, anyway?”

So, you wonder, what was so awful? First, and briefly, the sexual humor and innuendo was a bit strong for a young audience. I did cringe a few times, but those moments passed quickly (and I think I’m getting used to it, which is not to say it’s a good thing) and I do think some of it was lost on K (some was not). But the crowning moment of utter stupidity and inappropriateness was a moment when our teen hero’s mom asks him if he’s been masturbating. From there, a full exchange takes place that lasts about a minute.
That’s when I started sinking into the couch.

The dialogue takes place while tension is building to frame a major action scene about to unfold, which made it hard for me to hit the “pause” button and feign a popcorn break and do some quick fast forwarding (or something). Yeah, I’ll admit that the idea of having that type of conversation while huge robots are about to tear your house apart is a moderately funny idea. But they could have taken the high road and done something else there entirely.

Of course, K turned to me and asked what it meant. I acted distracted. He asked again. I mumbled, “Um, later... oh, look at that guy!” (a Transformer), “He’s trying to eat the car! Isn’t that hilarious? Ha ha ha!”

Somehow we got out of the moment. But it really made me ... angry.

K’s fifth grade class had their first shot at sex-ed this past year. We have open and frank talks whenever an opportunity seems present, and did so well before the fifth grade (he once put his hand up and said, “Ok, I got it; that’s enough, mom.”). Yes, this was a “teaching moment,” but it was also a popcorn-and-root-beer-float-silly-entertainment moment, and trying to explain that particular aspect of sexuality then seemed both ludicrous and impossible. I was steaming.

Ok, so that’s my thumbs down on Transformers, should you be thinking of renting it for your own family entertainment. Maybe if your kid is like, 15, it’s different. But then, does he really want to see a movie about Transformers anyway?

My point, exactly.


  1. Ooooh. ROUGH. I can just imagine you trying to become one with the couch.

  2. Ok, I spend so much time on my couch these days with my laptop and the news, following the inanity of the political scene, that I'm not sure how to take that...

    Luckily there are thousands of miles between us, so i KNOW you're not commenting on any particular physical attributes that could occur from an over-abundance of couch sitting....

  3. THANK you for this. For sure we will pass on Transformers.

  4. unfortunately, we didn't pass on transformers. It is definitely a 'boy' movie and I must have dozed off during the masturbation scene. However the most annoying feature of the movie for me was that it was a total commercial for the military. The battle scenes were just a chance for the air force to show off their cool 'toys' for young kids. Ignore this because it is a recruiting film for the military. As a former 'boy' tho, I have to say the robots were cool.


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