Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this review. So here it is, another Michael Bay Transformers film. I said after Transformers 3 that I'd never go back to this series again if it were to return, but I knew I was lying to myself. I have an unnatural attraction to things that blow up, I am an action junkie from the 90's after all. While all the promotional footage of Age of Extinction looked interesting, I knew in the back of my head what I was in for and with the mostly negative reviews this film got from America I was ready to shit all over this film. But I sat down, watched it last night and now I'm gonna give you my thoughts.
Here's the plot for the film:
"As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control - all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his crosshairs. The epic adventure and battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement ensues."
So let me get this out of the way first, this film is better than Revenge of the Fallen (piece of shit) and Dark of the Moon (one of the most forgettable films ever), but I still don't think it is better than Transformers 1. Why? Well that's easy. Transformers had a fairly cohesive, action-packed and was fun, even if at times it was awkward and stupid. But as the sequels continued the plots got thicker and needlessly complicated and this film's story is no different.
Age of Extinction has a lot going on, there's Transformers on the run hiding from the government, the government and US soldiers are now partnered up with a Transformer bounty hunter looking for Optimus Prime and killing Autobots in the process and then there's a human inventor who finds Optimus Prime, the inventor has family issues with his daughter, oh and there's a scientist who can use Transformer metal to create his own Transformers and so on. There's a lot of stuff going on here. And for all the storylines that are going on, there seems to be a tangent for each one further adding to the already overstuffed narrative. But the one thing this film suffers from the most in this film is the script, the dialogue here is so bad, cheesy and cringe-worthy that it is not even a joke. Michael Bay and his writers can't do humour or serious drama, it doesn't work, and dealing with the bad government, comedy, family and relationship scenes felt like an endurance test and most of it was just boring, I had to sit though so much of this crap before the robots came on-screen and even they weren't much better.
When it comes to the cast they pretty much do the best that they can given the material they have to work with, but even then only a few of them are actually good. Firstly Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager is pretty much the best thing about this cast. While you don't believe Wahlberg as an inventor at all, he commits to the role, does well in action scenes and is his character is pretty much the most useful of all the humans. Stanley Tucci as Joshua Joyce, the head of KSI who wants to build his own Transformers is good if a bit over-the-top with his acting. Joyce is a douchebag and there is nothing to like about him, but at times the dude can be funny because in the face of danger his true colours come out. Kelsey Grammer as Harold Attinger is also pretty good at playing the big bad CIA man with a good screen presence and acting that just about gets the job done.
And then there's Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager, good god where do I begin? Well firstly she is really hot and has grown up a lot since that other major film she was in that we don't talk about. That being said she still sucks at acting. As Cade's daughter she mainly hates a dad but erratically keeps changing her opinion of him whenever she wants, she also cares more for her gutless little boyfriend more so that her own father and lastly she just shouts for her dad or help whenever possible, which is multiple times throughout the film. Jack Reynor as Shane Dyson, to put it simply I didn't like this guy at all. I'm sure the guy is a decent actor, but Reynor was just plain old boring and his character was one of the cheekiest little shits I have ever seen. This man is cocky as hell, but when it comes to actually facing danger the dude has no balls but still takes the credit for being the hero and I despise that.
Sophia Myles as Darcy Tyril, she's good but is very forgettable. Li Bingbing as Su Yueming was beautiful and was one of the useful people in this film but totally wasted in the grand scheme of things. Titus Welliver as James Savoy was good, I actually like Welliver as an actor and the guy did fine in the role but I felt like sometimes he did go a bit overboard with the whole 'I'm the bad guy so I'm gonna make sure you know I'm bad' kind of thing. T. J. Miller as Lucas Flannery was decent and had some funny moments but I felt like some of comedic scenes were a bit overdone.
As for the Transformers they were alright, but nothing to write home about as the Autobots are relegated to bickering children all wanting to play leader and the bad Transformers aren't really the main threat which kind of sucks. Peter Cullen still does a great job as Optimus Prime, but everyone else doesn't fare as well. John Goodman can go from sounding pretty decent to pretty terrible as Hound, Ken Watanabe is alright Drift and John DiMaggio is pretty humorous as Crosshairs. Mark Ryan does a good job as Lockdown sounding very evil and sinister and the same could be said for veteran voice actor Frank Welker who does a good job as Galvatron.
The best thing about the film is still the visual effects. The Transformers films have always excelled at giving audiences something to stare at and appreciate and this film is no different. Seeing massive transforming robots be the crap out each other is still badass, though I feel like the quality of the transforming isn't as awe-inspiring as it once was, plus these new man-made Transformers have a crappy transformation sequence where they just break apart into little cubes and reform again and its hardly as cool to look at. The overall CGI while good, didn't make blow me away and that's a shame. As for the soundtrack, yuck. That's what I'd describe it as. Steve Jablonsky returns to score the film but his soundtrack is the most forgettable in this series, but what is worse is all the horrible songs inserted into the film. Whenever there's a dramatic scene with humans involved there's always someone singing some stupid song in the background and it's annoying as hell! These are some of the worse music choices I have ever had to endure in a film for ages.
In the end Transformers: Age of Extinction isn't a film I hate with a passion, but it isn't one I will watch again, ever. The visuals are awesome as usual, the addition of Mark Wahlberg was much appreciated and when the robots throw down it is pretty cool. That being said, this film has far too much unnecessary baggage, the Transformers themselves have become less cool and interesting (bar Optimus Prime) and there's boring humans dealing with government, new technology, relationships and all this other boring stuff. If you like Michael Bay Transformers you'll have a good time, if you don't, stay away, this is the same ride again except it is longer.
Rating: 5.5 (Mark Wahlberg and the CGI saved this film from being completely pointless)
So what did you think of Age of Extinction? Did it fill with joy or fill you with hate? Are you down with Michael Bay Transformers films or do you want this series to end indefinitely? Whatever your thoughts be sure to write them below and I'll see ya on the next review yo! :D