Transformers: Age of Extinction

  • Directed by Michael Bay
  • June 19, 2014 (Hong Kong) / June 27, 2014 (US)
  • Based on Hasbro’s Transformers toy line

On the run, Optimus seeks help from a mechanic as a new threat emerges. Plus Megatron comes back as Galvatron.

As the Transformers films have continued, the logic and continuity has become vastly more questionable. They have wanted to destroy Earth and then conquer it. And here they want to convert it for their own purposes. With all this activity on one planet, it doesn’t jive that they seemed to have accidentally stumbled across it like in the first movie. An Autobot bites the dust when torn in half but a Decepticon can still function (like in this movie) on a mental level as just a head. Okay.

Canon matters. What was established before in a fictional universe and adhering to it matters. As a writer it forces you to think about what you must do to get from point to point in a story. You must consider how to accomplish whatever within what has been established rather than barreling forward. Much of what occurs here ignores that in that the story rotates around yet another thing done to Earth in the distant past yet nobody has thought enough to keep track of this planet or what was done here.

The old human cast is out as Age of Extinction features a new bunch of people screaming “Optimus!” and dodging explosions and having inappropriate conversations during combat situations. What I noticed at those moments is there was just enough of a lull in the action for them to exchange words clearly during combat.

Out is Shia LaBeouf. In is Mark Wahlberg and his new character of Cade Yeager. Really? I don’t know. I know this is a movie about giant fighting robots, but the name ‘Cade Yeager’ just sounds way too fake. And that is on top of the character being a Texas inventor/farmer that sounds suspiciously like they are a Boston native.

Cade is a dreamer who thinks that his business someday will take off even though it is clearly failing but his clinging to the dream of success is just digging a bigger hole. This is not the character that can save the world or even really help. He can’t even help himself. Cade has a daughter named Tessa (Nicola Peltz) who is secretly dating so dude named Shane (Jack Reynor) and neither gets really defined beyond that element.

This movie gets into vast current conspiracies with the Autobots on the run. Kelsey Grammer is rogue CIA official Harold Attinger whose henchman James Savoy (Titus Welliver) is working with Decepticons and has struck up a conspiracy with KSI owner Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) who wants to use the newly discovered material Transformium to make his own Transformers.

So why cannot the other Transformers change like this? And in theory couldn’t you just take out the enemy by blasting at its flying bits?

Transformium is a magic space metal all Transformers are made of but rather than shift parts they break down into flying blocks that reassemble into whatevs. It is also revealed that Transformers are not born but were made of this metal a loooooooooooooooooooooong time ago. So how then how does the Fallen’s plot make sense in Revenge of the Fallen?

Optimus riding a dinosaur is one of the better reasons to see this

I’m not sure if they really thought through the fictional science they were using or simply threw in scientific words to give it a veneer of plausibility. Transformers are built and made of metal but there is heavy talk of ‘genomes’ here. Are they some kind of organic technology or a lifeform? Or was it all just played by ear?

The standout in Age of Extinction as an actor was Stanley Tucci. He’s a great actor and I think highly underappreciated. He elevates everything he says and he gave his greedy billionaire a bit of complexity. While greed was the driving force, he did have a moral center that allowed him to realize when he was wrong. He was more than two dimensional. That was something a little deeper than I would normally give believe these movies to have.

And because of that little element there, this film rises a smidge above its predecessors. These films have largely been missing characters with any sophistication. I don’t need great complexity, but even your most basic action movies have better crafted characters than what we generally get here. Admittedly Stanley Tucci is a superior actor but give the actors you hire something better to work with.

I disagree with trying to make Prime some bad ass. And the more I think about it, the more that goes to the use of the legendary Peter Cullen as the voice of Optimus Prime. If they had used anyone else I might be convinced to feel otherwise. The voice of robot space dad in a violent butt kicker just does not work.

Optimus Prime seems to be taking a destroy the bad guys at all costs attitude. So what makes him ultimately any better than the villains? Just because his side is declared good does not mean it is good. Again these are not sophisticated movies, but the level of logic is childish. It’s simplistic. Just declaring something good does not make it good.

That is Sir Optimus Prime to you

Prime is now part of some Transformers knighthood that he just remembered for purposes of plot. There is just some much new tossed in that was never mentioned or alluded to before that does not click with firmly established material. Again, canon matters. Having said that, by itself it is a more cohesive story than some of the others in the series. On its own it is not bad, but it falls apart when connected to the other films.

For much of the movie things are kept small. Events affect the Transformers themselves up until the end when it becomes yet another movie where the world is threatened. These are robot fueled disaster movies after all. I am not exactly sure why given that every time the Transformers show up the existence of humanity is threatened that anybody would make an alliance with any transforming robots but that occurs in this film.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is an okay movie. It’s not great, but it is certainly an improvement over what came for. I will give this an if you want.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

One thought on “Transformers: Age of Extinction

  1. Good review. I think that the first act (or at least the first 30 minutes or so) starts out quite strong and makes for a soft “reboot” feel for the narrative by introducing new characters and establishing a new threat. However, the movie then loses that momentum and becomes bloated and more of the same. Kind of a missed opportunity.


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