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TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (review)

transformers_age_of_extinction_ver10TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Written by Ehren Kruger
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammar, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor
 

Hound: That’s a bad idea, but I’m all about bad ideas.

If you thought director Michael Bay would transform (if you will) the live action Transformers film franchise with his TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION reboot, then you thought wrong. In fact it’s probably best if you walked into the movie theatre with your thought processes completely turned off. To think during the excruciatingly long 165 minute runtime of this movie would be a dire mistake. As with all recent Michael Bay films (except for perhaps PAIN AND GAIN) you’re expected to sit back, and enjoy the explosive pyrotechnic spectacle of mass destruction onscreen. However, with a nonsensical plot and underdeveloped characters (humans and Transformers alike), Bay clearly demonstrates that he has no interest in doing anything other than numbing both the minds and butts of his audience.

Transformers-4-Age-of-Extinction-Mark-Wahlberg-Jack-Reynor-and-Nicola-Pelt

The convoluted plot centres around Texas mechanic, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), who can piece together a wide range of robotics and technological gadgets, but not his pocketbook. He is also the overprotective father of seventeen-year-old, All-American girl, Tessa (Nicola Peltz), who has been secretly dating twenty-year-old, Irish professional driver, Shane (Jack Reynor, who has borrowed the “whoa whoa whoa” school of acting from former Transformers alumnus, Shia LaBeouf). In one the film’s scant genuinely comedic moments, Cade uncovers a battle-worn truck in an abandoned cinema and purchases it from the owner, who laments that the death of independent movie houses is due to the inevitable success of sequels and reboots. Lo and behold, the beat up truck is in fact Optimus Prime, chivalrous leader of the Autobot faction of the Transformers, and gallant defender of humans. Following the destruction of much of Chicago (ie. the conclusion of the last Transformers live-action movie), both the CIA and a mysterious ancient Transformer bounty hunter are scouring the world for all remaining Transformers. Shady CIA operative, Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer, who was not utilized in the recent X-Men movie and was clearly desperate for a large franchise paycheque), in cahoots with megalomaniacal technology executive (and an obvious insulting take on Steve Jobs), Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), want the unique robots in order to create their own sleeker controlled versions. Before long, the Yeager clan team up with the Autobots in order to battle devious henchmen and Transformers fan favourite, the human-created monstrous Galvatron.

All trademarks of a Michael Bay film are present. Shamelessly misogynistic female representation? Check. The females on screen (notably Peltz and Bingbing Li) either pout and pose in barely-there outfits or, in Peltz’s case, tearfully screams for a man to rescue her every few minutes. In fact, the only time Peltz’s character is allowed to shed her cowardice is when she’s forced in a getaway to maneuver the stick shift of her boyfriend’s car. The result? A machismo line by said boyfriend about how she has the best hands in the west. Then it’s back to squawking for Daddy to rescue her from various evil forces (one which literally slithers its tongue around her almost naked limbs). Unnecessary lens flares, repeated presence of the American flag (sometimes both together), puzzling camera angles (shooting the lead actors from below and to the side is a favourite of his), and numbing the senses with everything being shot or blown to bits, are all given their moments of glory here as well.

TF4SamuraiPrimeStill

To say that this, the fourth in the franchise, is the best live-action Transformers movie, would be damning it with faint praise. The first three movies either placed too much of an emphasis on the dull human characters or didn’t know how to capture the epic battles between the Autobots and the Decepticons, and both approaches led to clunky disasters (albeit financial juggernauts). In this case, Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger have perfectly balanced and captured the humans’ battles with the Transformers, and within each grouping. Fans of the various original Transformers animated series will be pleased to see the Dinobots (especially Grimlock) briefly appear, and hear legendary voice actor Frank Welker rightfully return to voice Galvatron. Disappointingly, eagle-eyed fans will undoubtedly notice that Bay has haphazardly thrown in character details from the 1984, 2007 and 2010 animated series, as if creating his own Frankenstein’s monster versions of the beloved characters (that, ironically enough, closely mirrors Tucci’s character’s need to create sleeker versions of things that are already perfect). More than meets the eye indeed. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is a sight for tired eyes.

2 sheep

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How many sheep would you give Transformers: Age of Extinction?

1.6 (32.8%) 25 votes

One Comment

  1. I agree with the writer. The multi-level storyline was difficult to follow and the movie was too long.

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