Transformer: Age of Extinction – 1.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Transformers 4Transformers: Age of Extinction – 1.5/5 – A fourth installment in a series from Michael bay; is it something we really need?  You answer that question if you want.  At this point in the game, you know what you’re getting for this kind of movie: explosions, cheesy one-liners, simple script and mindless action.  There are a lot of movies with this stuff, but execution is done so well, that it is fun.  Even Michael Bay has some good films with this (Pain and Gain, The Rock, Bad Boys, Transformers *First Movie*).  Coming out of the film, I come to realize that, he has struck out with this one.  After all the flash and pizzazz, there really isn’t much else to say but this 4th installment is pretty much a rehash of the same of the last two sequels.

Premise: 4 years after the battle of Chicago; Autobots have been turned on by the very people they protect.  With a new threat coming, the Autobots must find renewed purpose to fight off Earth’s extinctions.

In this film, you have a whole new human cast.  In that cast you have:

Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager

Stanley Tucci as Joshua Joyce

Kelsey Grammer as Harold Attinger

Nicola Pelta as Tessa Yeager

Jack Reynor as Shane Dyson

Titus Wellver as James Savoy

This group of actor/actresses here represent the main humans that have ‘importance’ in the film.  Mark Wahlberg is the main protagonist and Kelsey Grammer is the main antagonist (among the humans).  They both provide a worthy upgrade to the human aspect from the last three, and do enough with their charm to make something worthy in their roles.  Other than having good bravado, you can’t blame them for the terrible lines they have to read.  Both these excellent actors do the best job they could to cover up the terrible script with which they were handed to read.  The rest of the human cast above, plus the extra secondary cast, do nothing but represents archetypes of a simple action film.  They do nothing but act as ‘plot devices’ for basic movement of the film’s acts.  They also do a terrible job in speaking there already ridiculous lines, which makes seeing them on screen cringing.  When it comes to the ‘robot’ cast, you have the returning Autobots of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, with new comers Drift, Hound and Crosshairs and helpers from the Dinobots.  Optimus is always a formidable leader, but he has an added deeper emotional complex in this film.  This helps break the model of the ‘one dimensional’ good guy, and helps bring purpose and reason to his struggle and fights.  Bumblebee plays the typical ‘folly’ character, but he is whimsical with a great comedic touch.  The rest of the Autobots do their best with their screen time, showing off distinct personalities.  The Dinobots are welcome addition, but aren’t real standouts as they could have been.  The Deceptions in the film (no spoilers) are new to the game and help provided some kind of antagonist to the Autobots. Even so, they have no real personality and just become the typical shtick you find in the common villains.  The one welcome addition to the fold as an ‘evil’ fighter is Lockdown.  His ‘bounty hunter’ mantra helps provide a more interesting look to his purpose, and helps delve deeper into the lore of the Transformers more than they actually script.

When it comes to the direction and script of this film, there isn’t anything good you can say about it.  Watching the finish product; it is one of the most mind numbing experiences you will ever have.  This movie is close to 3 hours long, and it is attest to Michael Bay’s ridiculous approach to ‘explain’ everything that makes it that way.  What also adds to this layer of fatigue is the stretching of a basic script, that uses obvious elements of ‘good vs. bad’, ‘coming of age’, ‘sacrifice’ and ‘redemption’ in the most boring ways possible.  As mention before, the script combined with the direction brings about this ineptitude where it tries to infuse all the convoluted Transformers lore (which is actually good if explained better) to ‘human stories’ that don’t even have real bearings in the film.  What you come to see in the ‘human’ plot is that is plays out as ‘connecting the dots’; bringing the Autobots to fight the Decepticons within these simple macguffins as ploys to engage.  I’m really not going to explain the story in depth as it will spoil the film for those that want to experience it.  I’ll give the film in broad strokes:

First part:

Prologue/introduction to the new human characters and transformers lore

Humans and transformers come in contact, convoluted plot ensues

Second part:

The ‘Michael Bay’ experience of flash, color, stupid one-liners and explosions

Anti-climax, continuation of convoluted plot

Third part:

‘Good vs. Evil’ fight in a ‘cliché’ huge population.

The ‘Michael Bay’ experience with twist, forced injected characters and more ‘over-the-top’ action

An over-stretched climax, ‘convoluted’ plot open ending

I’ll give two good things in the film.  One being the added element of emotional depth to Optimus Prime.  This (at least) helps you get through most the action and boring drama.  The second would be the expansion of the Transformers lore.  If only the film focused more on this and not the human plot it would have been a better experience at the theater.

Visuals are always tops within these films.  The creation of the Transformers to the over-the-top action helps provide some intrigued, but the commonality of seeing it ‘over and over’ causes it to lose the shock factor of a ‘first experience’.  The score helps in parts, but it really falls to the wayside.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a film that; could have been a great blockbuster.  What happens is that it just becomes a rehashing of the same old senselessness that you have seen before, just much worst.  You might go into this wanting to enjoy this kind of pointlessness, but even mindless action should have a good plot, characters and a running time that befits its purpose (The Expendables; 300).  If you enjoyed the previous ones, go for it.  I would recommend everyone else to not waste your time with this film.

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