Movie Name: Transformers: Age of Extinction
Studio: di Bonaventura Pictures
Release Date(s): June 19, 2014 (Premiere)/June 27, 2014 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
After the battle of Chicago, the Transformers have become the hunted. While the government believes that only Decepticons are the target of the hunts, the C.I.A.’s Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) is hunting all Transformers with his agent James Savoy (Titus Welliver) and a rogue Transformer named Lockdown. When an inventor named Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) comes across Optimus Prime in a junkyard, he finds himself, his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), and her boyfriend Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor) now on the run and in a race to stop an inventor named Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) from accidentally unleashing an age of extinction.
Directed by Michael Bay, Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth film in the Transformers franchise and considered a soft reboot of series. Following Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2011, the film was met with negative reviews but continued to maintain a strong box office pull. It won Razzies for Worst Director and Worst Supporting Actor (Kelsey Grammer who also was nominated for Expendables 3, Legends of Oz, and Think Like a Man) with nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actress (Nicola Peltz), Worst Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel, Worst Screen Combo (Any 2 Robots, Actors, or Robotic Actors), and Worst Screenplay.
I haven’t like the Tranformers movies thus far. As a fan of the TV series and the comic book, I found the movies disappointing…since they forget they have forgotten that they are about the likable Transformers and not the humans that hang out with them. Promising a whole new cast and getting rid of the dead-weight actors of the previous entries showed some hope…but Transformers: Age of Extinction suffered from all the same problems.
The overly long film probably is slightly better than most of the previous entries…but that by no means is an endorsement. While the story starts out with some promise, it quickly devolves into the same old mess. The movie insists we’re interested in the humans and continues to provide really, really generic stock characters…and then giving them plotlines. An example of the most ridiculous of these stories is the arrival of Stanley Tucci’s character midway through the movie and the film’s insistence to show his budding relationship with Su Yueming (played by Li Bingbing)…It is such an unneeded distraction from the story which is hard enough to follow.
The plot is all over the place. You have the war against the Transformers, the transformation of Megatron into Galvatron, and you have the whole plot involving the Creators. It should have been two stories, but instead they are crammed into one overly long movie that randomly moves to Hong Kong for the second half. The movie proudly touted the Dinobots (who didn’t really resemble the fan favorite Dinobots) but the Dinobots literally appeared in maybe the last ten minutes of the long film…it was a real bait & switch to fans.
I will say that the acting was also a little better. Mark Wahlberg works in some roles, and I don’t buy him as an inventor, but he does still trump Shia Labeouf. Kelsey Grammer is a rather generic villain and Titus Welliver is the perfect generic enforcer for him. As mentioned, Stanley Tuccci and Li Bingbing are pointless (and cardboard stock characters…must like most of the cast).
The real pull of the movie should be the Transformers. Since the Dinobots were a bit of a bust, the movie relies heavily on the regular Transformers. The makers of the films have realized their mistakes from the first films and made newer Transformers more “humane” and less robotic. As a result characters like Hound, Drift, Crosshairs, and Lockdown look much more human and cartoonish in this movie that characters like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. I also take offence that they waxed my favorite comic book Autobot Ratchet very unceremoniously at the beginning.
Transformers: Age of Extinction once again isn’t a very good film and has gone ways to ruin the franchise’s potential. With that being said, as long as the Transformers films keep making money, we’ll keep getting Transformers movies. If we keep getting Transformers movies, maybe one will eventually be “good”…but it isn’t looking hopeful now. Transformers: Age of Extinction is scheduled to be followed by the fifth film in the series in 2016.