Release Date: June 27, 2014
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver, Sophia Myles, Bingbing Li, T.J. Miller, James Bachman, Thomas Lennon, Charles Parnell, Erika Fong
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 165 minutes
Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
As Hollywood runs out of ideas they started going back to the drawing board to create new material. It didn’t work necessarily with us being in the age of rehashing’s. Today in cinema we now have sequels, reboots, remakes, and reimagining’s of past greats. Now director Michael Bay is rebooting his own franchise while still keeping his first three films as live action canon. So technically Age of Extinction is a sequel and a reboot at the same time (doesn’t that sound silly?). But is it really a reboot? Absolutely not. It’s literally the same exact films as the last two and not even remotely as good as the third (I loved the first Transformers by the way). It seems like he’s making films in a vacuum and doesn’t care what the general audience wants. We want Transformers not more focus on humans. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Michael Bay hater. I love nearly all of his films except for Pearl Harbor due to the characters and Pain and Gain due to it being a true story about horrible people that we’re supposed to like. That doesn’t make any sense. All of Bay’s other films I will rave until the end of days on how great they are. Movies like Transformers, comic book adaptations, and martial arts films are my favorite and I’ll run to the theater if need be. Though this is utter loud trash, with no common sense, an overall story that makes zero sense, and characters I wish died in the Chicago invasion. Something seriously needs to be done to stop this madness claiming to be entertainment and deliver us something we can all be proud of.
There have been so many complaints in the past that the Transformers franchise doesn’t focus enough on the transformers. I can agree to no end and that’s funny seeing that it’s called Transformers. In the first three films they did focus on humans, then did the same exact thing here but changed the cast. Why make this decision? We need more scenes like in part 1 when the Autobots are conversing at the observatory. So with the new cast that’s in imminent danger we’re supposed to care for their wellbeing. How can we when the writing doesn’t allow us to? Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) has a daughter with shorts too short and a boyfriend named Jack Reynor (Shane Dyson), that’s more disrespectful than the word itself. Yet this is a woman you want to possibly spend the rest of your life with but talks to her father as if he’s beneath you. Though we’re supposed to want you to live? Statements like, “I’m not here to help you save your daughter, you’re here to help me save my girlfriend.” will never get you anywhere with anyone, but he feels it’s ok. The only human character you care about is Wahlberg. He’s the only character with a great connection with the Autobots and takes action when a threat is present. Everyone else with their dumb ignorant one-liners, that aren’t funny take up the rest of the time allotted. Stanley Tucci’s character Joshua Joyce was a nice addition in the first half of the film, but is turned into a drunk f*** puppet in its second half that gets loaded off of juice boxes. The transition is beyond me. Kelsey Grammer’s character Harold Attinger is great too presenting a menacing human threat, but it’s the same exact character as the previous two films. Some government official who doesn’t like the transformers and wants them gone, bragging about how powerful they are. He stated he had his desk for 25 years, but wasn’t in the previous films. Hmmmmm?
As far as the Autobot characters you don’t care about them either other than Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. You don’t get to know the others at all and are barely mentioned by name. They’re just as shiny as can be with new toys plastered all over the screen. The fact that one character is smoking a cigar half the time is as frustrating as me trying to transform my own transformer by hand. We don’t even get an explanation of their arrival, which is confusing seeing the humans don’t welcome their presence anymore. Robot characters that lived through the last films are gone and there are no answers given to their sudden disappearance. But if we are to ask the question of why/where one may be criticized for wanting clarification.
Even during most of the action the focus is completely off from where it needs to be. I won’t spoil the name but there is a certain robot that appears that real Transformers fans will appreciate, but when he’s given his first great battle we don’t see it. We see it in the background top right corner while the camera is focused on one human hiding behind a car. NO ONE GIVES A S**T OR WANTS TO SEE THAT!!! We want to see the robots fighting with their new designs and weapons. What’s even more idiotic is the human decides to hide in a car that has a robot on top of it taking fire. Shit decisions like this are throughout the film and it can’t get any more appalling. With these decisions made by the characters it’s obvious the filmmakers just wanted to create giant action set pieces which is fine but you have to think it through. Questions like, “what would a smart or even average person do in this situation to live?” are completely overlooked but we’re supposed to buy it? I don’t think so.
Some of the plot devices are not well placed either. The overall plot was great and I started to smile when it developed. Though I was let down again because no one is thinking things through. It’s not ok to sneak into a highly guarded facility with security everywhere but then you try to destroy their property. Then when the shit hits the fan the Transformers decide to leave because a human hurt their feelings. REALLY? In logical sense shouldn’t you realize that the entire world is hunting you down, but even still you decided to break into the prime facility and create ruckus without finishing the job? With other plot devices the supposed heroes aren’t even using their resources to their full potential. If there’s a certain item you want out of the city and away from enemy hands, why carry it and run when you can use the flying Dinobot for escape or use the rocket boosters you chose not to mention until the ending credits? This is just another example of the many lazy writing techniques that the audience shouldn’t tolerate.
It’s not enough to make any noise about, but after all the bad there is a little good mixed in every once in a while. Seeing the new designs of some of the robots are great and them transforming back and forth never get old. There’s a new villain that opens up the world or universe for the Franchise, but at this point I have no interest in where it goes. The soundtrack adds great beats to the film and the Dinobot action piece was done with precision. Then it’s shaded over again by another great looking action piece but stupid in its tactics. It’s never explained why a space ship is sucking up metal in the city and dropping it down, but I guess it’s ok because it looks cool. The U.S. government even ignores the ship hovering over cities and flying dog chases in alien ships, but never decides to bring in the military. Probably because it was wasted in the last three films.
Unfortunately there isn’t much to brag about in this new rebooted sequel franchise and I can’t wait to finish writing this review. Instead of seeing robots fight we see human fighting with alien guns sized for humans (which makes no sense), cheap one-liners that aren’t funny, teammates abandoning their supposed leader while under attack, characters sitting and watching without being engaged in battle, and probably every other horrible idea one could come up with. Other than a few flashy scenes, Age of Extinction is a shitty mess and an embarrassment on the franchise as a whole. We’re given the same movie three times in a row while nothing is fresh and the highlights of the film are ruined in the trailers. I could go on and on about even more problems with the film because I haven’t even scratched the surface, but I don’t want to get into super spoiler territory or write a 500 page novel of everything problematic about this pile of garbage.