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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth installment in director Michael Bay's toy-based franchise, starring a new cast of characters but featuring the same amounts of over-the-top violence and explosive action audiences have come to expect from these films. The dialogue is peppered with strong language, mostly "s--t" or "ass," but there's also the occasional "a--hole" and one use of "f--k." As for sex, while there's only one big kiss, more problematic is the movie's pervasive objectification of women, with nearly all of the female characters wearing tight, revealing clothes. Families sensitive to racial stereotypes may not appreciate the way some of the Autobots talk or how, in one scene, it's implied that all Chinese people are magically experts at martial arts. Despite all its many iffy elements (and the nearly three-hour runtime), this film will appeal to teen boys who enjoy action flicks. While younger kids may be interested, especially if they play with the Hasbro toys, this series is best for older kids who can handle the non-stop chaos and massive destruction.
  • Families can talk about the Transformers movies' violence. Is it realistic and frightening, or does it have less impact because Transformers don't exist? How does the movie differentiate between Transformer-on-Transformer violence versus violence against humans?
  • As in previous movies in the franchise, there are again some instances in which characters of a particular gender, ethnic, or racial group are depicted in a stereotypical manner. What do you think about those stereotypes? Does it matter whether they're depicted in the Transformers or in human characters?
  • How do you think this installment compares to the previous Transformers movies? Do you think there should be more?
  • Why do you think the movie focuses so much more on the various female actresses' bodies than on those of the male actors? What message does that send?
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