Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction Movie Review

Transformers: Age of Extinction Movie Review

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, TJ Miller, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammar, Peter Cullen
Director: Michael Bay

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION begins after an epic battle left a great city torn, but with the world saved.  As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history…while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs.
With help from a new cast of humans (led by Mark Wahlberg), Optimus Prime and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet.  In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world.

This time around, following the mass destruction in Chicago in Transformers 3, the Autobots are being hunted down in a series of black ops raids, headed by Kelsey Grammar's conniving Harold Attinger who's in cahoots with robot bounty hunter Lockdown.

When Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager, an inventor (go with it, it's Michael Bay's world) and single struggling father, finds the battered and beaten truck Optimus Prime, he inadvertently brings him back to life - and brings the fight directly to his door and his daughter Tessa....

Transformers : Age of Extinction is exactly what you would expect from the fourth in a series that's not exactly set the world alight in terms of character-driven plot.

In some ways, this latest is a reboot with a new group of humans brought into the fold; but it's the usual fare of noble speeches about what it means to be human, loyalty and mass scale destruction, packaged up in an overly bloated FX fest.

And this does go on; in its 2hour 45minute run time, it feels like the story will never end as one video game level moment is tenuously linked to the next, with each full stop being a set piece of destructive Bayhem.

Not content with smashing up Chicago and putting his humans in a post 9/11 world where humans are encouraged to dob in any robots they see (it can't be a coincidence that a lot of the early scenes have the American flag flying high wherever possible and the robots are on a pack of cards a la Saddam Hussein), Bay turns his attention to getting the gang into China under the most tenuous of circumstances but no doubt to appeal to the lucrative Far East market.

Lunk-headed it may be, and with an over-reliance on slow mo action shots and an ear-shattering score, but there's no denying Bay knows how to do a set piece (even if the pre-requisite tensions are missing due to good characters). Instead of speeding up the action, Bay gives some scenes the benefit of breathing and thereby providing the IMAX with some visual treats.

However, Bay brings his usual level of depth to the plot; bringing into the world a new element called Transformium, turning the initial bad guy of the piece Joshua Joyce (a great turn by the eminently watchable Stanley Tucci) into a comedy caricature full of ham and throwing into the father / daughter mix a boyfriend (Jack Reynor) who has zero charm and exists simply to shoe horn tension into the piece.

Granted, you don't do a Michael Bay film for characters and banal dialogue (One line - "Contracts are like humans - they expire"), but for the action and while Bay delivers the mechanical mayhem and catastrophic carnage in spades, there are moments when the film feels like it's going on for much longer than is remotely necessary. 

Certainly, there's a juncture where it feels like two films have been sandwiched together with a weak story plot and the dinosaur ex machina won't satisfy some as the Bayhem never ends and the Transformer legacy hokum is extended (a final sequence hinting at more to come)

The problem with Transformers: Age of Extinction is that it's a soulless experience, with the ideas that the human race has turned on the Autobots and their place in the universe is threatened wildly unexplored and traded for reams of action sequences that do nothing to really service the plot. 

While the human element (particularly Nicola Peltz - even if she is just in short shorts and spends most of the movie being leered at by Bay's camera) goes someway to expunge the likes of Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whitely from the Transformers memory, this latest outing for the franchise doesn't feel like it actually brings anything radically new to the table. It lacks a real cohesion for the plot and as a result, makes the whole thing feel like a slog determined to visually beat you into submission rather than a blockbuster pleasure.


Watch the Transformers: Age of Extinction movie trailer!


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  3. Guess I'll have to see this for myself this weekend.

  4. well i just see the movie and i like it.

  5. It's too much special FX (overkill IMO) and I felt like I'm watching T3 all over again. One thing I liked more than T3 is the father-daughter tandem. It works well than the bf/gf in T3. Was I entertained? Absolutely. Did I learn something from it? Hardly. But anyway, entertainment is what came for and entertainment is what I got. Learning some lessons from a movie comes as a bonus these days though. The story is not as solid as I've expected but still a great movie if you're looking to be entertained. :)

  6. Thanks all for the comments - love to get your feedback on why you enjoyed it.

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