TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION:
A SURPRISINGLY SOLID FOURTH INSTALLMENT OF A BLUNT BATH OF A FRANCHISE!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND HASBRO
Director Michael Bay (The Rock, Pain & Gain, Armageddon) and executive producer Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones franchise, E.T.) return in the fourth installment of the popular Transformers film franchise, based on the Hasbro toy line. It’s quite shocking that the Transformers films have gotten this far, even after the negative responses to 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but honestly, this fourth installment, Transformers: Age of Extinction might not just be a fun silly action flick, but also a solid Transformers film, might even be a little better than the first film from 2007.
In place of the screaming Shia LaBeouf is Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Lone Survivor, The Fighter), who previously worked with Bay on 2013’s Pain & Gain, as Cade Yeager (no relation to Jaegers from Pacific Rim), an inventor working on cars with his best friend, Lucas (T.J. Miller-How to Train Your Dragon, Unstoppable, Cloverfield) and 17-year-old daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz-The Last Airbender) who discover a rusty old truck and decide to repair it. Little do they know, the truck turns out to be the leader of the Autobots himself, Optimus Prime (voiced once again by Peter Cullen) who informs Cade and Tessa that an organization of humans are hunting the Autobots and making clones of them with samples of the Transformers’ metal, which allow the Transformers to transform.
Cade, Tessa, Lucas, and Tessa’s boyfriend, Shane (Jack Reynor-What Richard Did, Delivery Man) join forces with Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots to track down the people responsible for killing their friends and stop their greatest foe, Galvatron (voiced by Frank Welker-Futurama: Bender’s Big Score, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted) from destroying the entire human race.
Like the previous sequels, Age of Extinction introduces new Autobots like Hound (voiced by John Goodman-The Big Lebowski, Monsters, Inc., Flight), a commander who transforms into a Oshkosh Defense Tactical Vehicle and loaded with heavy firepower, Crosshairs (voiced by John DiMaggio-Futurama, Kim Possible, Adventure Time), a paratrooper who can transform into a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray, and Drift (voiced by Ken Watanabe-Godzilla), a tactician who transforms into a 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sports Vitesse.
Besides new Autobots we have new evil Transformers, no, they’re not the Decepticons. We have Galvatron, a Transformer made by the humans but his mind was taken over by Megatron, an intergalactic mercenary named, Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan-Charlie’s Angels, The Prestige), and the human-made Transformers who went under Galvatron’s control, Stinger, Junkheap, and Traxes.
The film also introduces the Dinobots, Transformers who can transform into giant mechanical dinosaurs. Trust me, you’re going to love them during the big climax. Besides new supporting Transformers, we also have a collection of likeable supporting humans too like Stanley Tucci (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Hunger Games, The Wind Rises) as Joshua Joyce, the head of the KSI organization that is building human-made Transformers and Kelsey Grammer (Toy Story 2, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past) as a paranoid CIA agent who wants to eliminate all the Transformers from Earth.
Overall for a fourth installment and a silly Michael Bay movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction is that rare Transformers sequel that’s pretty solid. Sure it has a lot of goofy and over the top moments like the previous three, but this new film is taken more seriously than the others, the first three were silly action movies, nothing more and nothing less.
Unlike the previous three films, the new cast is extremely likeable and you want to know what’s going to happen to them. My best friend, who attended the film with me agreed that we mostly went to the Transformers movies just for the robot action and special effects, we never really cared about the stories that much, I guess that may explain why we weren’t hurt by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
This film however, we wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters and if they would make it out of this intergalactic war. Yeah, I can’t believe I’m saying this but Michael Bay actually did some decent character development in this movie.
Thanks to the decent character development and interesting premise, we were able to appreciate the action even more. And trust me on this, the action here is very spectacular, buildings and cars getting sucked into a giant ship, the traditional Transformers blasting and fighting each other, and then we have Optimus Prime riding on a Dinobot while fighting with a sword, you won’t find this in Dark of the Moon.
However there is one small issue I had with the film and that was Tessa’s boyfriend, he was helpful a little bit but there wasn’t really a reason for him to be around in this film, I think it would have made the film even stronger if it was just Tessa, Cade, and Lucas fighting with the Autobots.
But aside from that, what else can I say? Awesome Transformers action, a decent plot, and strong character development, and a little wink to another popular Hasbro franchise.
If you enjoyed the first Transformers movie and was disappointed by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or Transformers: Dark of the Moon, give Age of Extinction a shot, it’s definitely the strongest installment of the series and will most likely lead to more sequels in the future, I just hope Bay and Spielberg continue taking this route with the next films.