Synopsis: Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth film in director Michael Bay’s global blockbuster franchise. Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Li Bingbing , Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, T. J. Miller, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor and Titus Welliver star. The film begins after an epic battle that left a great city torn, but with the world saved. As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history… while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs. With help from a new cast of humans, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet. In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world.
Release Date: June 27, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Fantasy
By now most moviegoers know exactly what they’re going to get when they sit down for a Michael Bay directed Transformers movie. Big action, outrageously gaudy special effects, goofy side characters, a charismatic but ultimately flat lead, and a story that, while dynamic, isn’t particularly well crafted or interesting. Transformers: Age of Extinction is exactly that – no more, no less.
Set 10 years after the events of the third film, Transformers: Age of Extinction (“Age of Extinction“) introduces us to a new lead human character in Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg of Lone Survivor). Cade is a down-on-his-luck inventor whose just one great invention away from striking it big, and one more poor choice away from financial ruin. However, Yeager’s proclivity for tinkering takes on an even greater risk knowing that he has his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz from The Last Airbender) to support.
Things change rather quickly for Cade, though, as a chance encounter with a beat-up semi truck thrusts him into a new conflict between the Autobots and a secret human organization, working alongside a rogue Transformer named Lockdown, meant to wipe both Decepticon (the bad guys) and Autobot (the good guys) from the planet. It’s a fight for survival for Optimus Prime and the remaining Autobots, which include some new faces and a few old, as a global conflict for humanity manifests in an individual one for Cade and his family.
Despite obvious connections to the past movies both in story and character, Transformers: Age of Extinction is, for all intents and purposes, a reboot of the franchise. Director Michael Bay wants to start fresh with new human characters (sorry Shia) and a new overarching universe that is more than just good alien robots come to earth and save us from the bad alien robots. Well, actually that might not be true, but he does try to introduce a bigger human element into the film. There’s Kelsey Grammar as the head of the seedy black ops organization trying to eliminate the Transformers, Stanley Tucci as the CEO of a company that has learned to manufacture Transformers by harnessing the element “transformium,” and plenty of additional silly, cliche characters to round out the cast.
Unfortunately, any attempts to reinvigorate the franchise seem to fall flat, as Bay retreads old territory, both thematically and stylistically. His robot-on-robot action doesn’t have the energy that it once did, and the scope of the film’s set pieces never match the massive highs of Dark of the Moon. Even his protagonist struggles to be as entertaining to watch on screen, despite the A-list actor cast to play him.
Had Age of Extinction been the third movie in the franchise, it might have been better received, because the film does improve on many of the second film’s faults. The action is better shot and more coherent, the story dips into goofy alien territory without going overboard, and it does deliver its fanboy moments, most especially with the debut of the franchise-favorite Dinobots. Unfortunately, Dark of the Moon did exactly what Age of Extinction tries to do, but it did it first, better, and bigger.
As a singular Transformers film, Age of Extinction is passable. It has its character moments, some impressive action sequences, and a few enjoyable story beats, but it fails to rise above or improve on anything that’s been done before. It’s as if screenwriter Ehren Kruger took a few basic elements deemed essential to the franchise, jumbled them up, and spit out a fairly familiar viewing experience. As a fan of the earlier Transformers films and the property as a whole, it’s strange to feel franchise fatigue. But at 2 hours and 40 minutes long, fatigued is the only way to describe the post-Transformers: Age of Extinction viewing experience.
You want big action, you got it. You want better action? Well, then Age of Extinction might be the Transformers film you’re looking for. Make no mistake the film is chocked full of bombastic explosions, epic Transformers battles, massive set pieces, and a whole lot of special effects, but it’s not necessarily as exciting as fans may hope. As with any Transformers film, Age of Extinction has some truly memorable moments, some may even call them “white knucklers,” but they are few and far between. And between them is a sensory overload of colorful CG metal on colorful CG metal that’s oftentimes too overwhelming to be enjoyable.
Age of Extinction hits the franchise’s requisite beats, but it doesn’t do much to exceed expectations from an action standpoint. There’s only so many times one person can watch a robot get eviscerated before unadulterated joy becomes old hat.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Michael Bay
- Screenwriter(s): Ehren Kruger
- Cast: Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yeager)Nicola Peltz (Tessa Yeager)T.J. Miller (Lucas) Stanley Tucci (Joshua)Sophia Myles (Darcy)Kelsey Grammar (Harold Attinger)John Goodman (voice of Hound)Ken Watanabe (voice of Drift)Jack Reynor (Shane)Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime)
- Editor(s): Roger Barton
- Cinematographer: Amir Mokri
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Steve Jablonsky
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA