Transformers: Age of Extinction

An actual scene from "Transformers:  Age of Extinction", as it seems like Michael Bay couldn't resist making a pony reference.
An actual scene from "Transformers: Age of Extinction", as it seems like Michael Bay couldn't resist making a pony reference.

Megatron turns into Galvatron (Transformers: The Movie)

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Ehren Kruger

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Titus Welliver, Sophia Myles, Bingbing Li, T.J. Miller, James Bachman, Thomas Lennon, Charles Parnell, Erika Fong, Mike Collins, Geng Han

Voice Cast: Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Robert Foxworth, Mark Ryan, Reno Wilson, John DiMaggio

Synopsis: A mechanic and his family join the Autobots as they are targeted by a bounty hunter from another world.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo

Dinobots vs Devastator in "Transformers: The Movie"

Stevennix2001's Rating:

7.6 / 10

Pros:


- Excellent special effects

- Sound mixing and sound editing were great

- The cinematography was good

- 3-D effects were great

- Acting was fairly decent

- Stanley Tucci's character was very interesting, as it was a shame he wasn't the focus instead.

- Film moves at a fairly good pace

- The fight scenes involving the transformers are better animated

- The story albeit not that great, but it's fairly interesting for what it is.

Cons:


- The movie falls into various cliches

- Most of the characters are poorly written; particularly the women

- The playful banter between Cade and his daughter's boyfriend gets old after awhile.

- Jokes aren't funny, but they're not terrible either.

More than meets the eye

Although it's very popular to bash anything that Michael Bay churns out these days, but it doesn't feel right anymore at this point. I mean picking on a Michael Bay film would almost seem like the equivalent of picking on a blind kid because he can't see. Or, it would be close to calling a mentally challenged kid stupid because of his disability. Or,it would be like if I were to make fun of a fat kid by calling him/her "fatty." Whatever the case may be, it just feels too much like bullying at this point to bash Michael Bay for his style of filmmaking.

Let's be honest with ourselves here. Michael Bay is NEVER going to be an Oscar caliber director, so he sticks mainly to what he does best. Should we fault him for that? Yes and no. Yes, because that doesn't excuse the fact that many of his movies have weak characterizations, poorly written story arcs, sexist towards women, and vulgar humor that would only appeal to adolescent twelve year olds.

But on the other hand, can you really argue against the results? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what any film critic says about Michael Bay. He knows he's never going to be an Oscar caliber director in ilk of Scorsese, Spielberg, or Cameron. Hell, Shia LaBeouf admitted that himself during an interview once, when asked about Michael Bay's style of filmmaking. And, it seems like Bay is perfectly okay with that. He knows that his audiences consists of horny teenagers, pubescent preteen boys, and perverted men that have a vulgar taste in humor. Therefore, he plays towards that strength quite a bit. Not saying all his fans like that, but it seems like large portion of his audience is.

In a lot of ways, Michael Bay is like a car salesman of filmmakers. He knows exactly what the audience wants to hear, and needs to hear to watch his films. Hence, he punches that ticket throughout each of his movies; regardless of what anyone else says. Does he care if haters and movie critics call his work piles of garbage? Probably not because it doesn't matter what any of us think about him. The man knows who he is, and he knows exactly who is audience is; hence he gives them exactly what they want. Should we fault him for that? After all, isn't part of being a filmmaker of a big blockbuster is to give audiences what they want to see?

Besides, is MIchael Bay even capable of doing anything better than what we've seen of him so far? What if this is the extent of his filmmaking talents? What if he can't get any better than this? Should we really condemn a man, who's merely playing towards his strengths?

Sure, he'll never be an innovative director like Ang Lee or even his own pal, Steven Spielberg. But, he's a man that plays within his limitations. He knows he'll never be a great filmmaker, so he rolls with doing what he knows the best. And, it shows in his latest creation.

In all fairness, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is arguably the best live action "Transformers" film to date. The story albeit not really great by any means of the imagination, as it falls into the same tired old cliches of the previous movies; involving a massive government cover up. Like the last film, the decepticons are somehow manipulating things behind the scenes. The government has now declared war on both the autobots and decepticons, for the events that took place in the last film. And to make matters worse, alien bounty hunters are helping the CIA track down and kill all the transformers.

Plus, Michael Bay throws in the dinobots for good measure. Why does he do that? Well...why the f*** not? Makes no difference if the dinobots are just there for the elaborate fight scenes, as Michael Bay distracts his audiences with a plethora of colorful CGI effects. Thankfully, it seems like he manages to finally make the Transformers fight scenes a bit more realistic in this one. In the previous movies, the transformers would often look like CGI blobs whenever they fought each other because the fight scenes between them moved so fast that you could hardly see them half the time. In this movie though, it doesn't seem to be that much of a problem, as Michael Bay utilizes quite a bit of slow motion effects to allow the audience to follow the fights perfectly. The slow motion is never overused, as Michael Bay uses just the right amount to intensify the action sequences.

I especially loved the special effects in this film, as they're arguably the best that we've seen throughout this entire film series. The sound quality, editing and mixing are nicely done as well. And, the film seems to move at a fairly decent pace. As far as all the technical stuff goes, it seems like Bay brought his "A" game with this one, as he certainly outdone himself here. I'll be very surprised if this film doesn't get nominated for a lot of technical awards at next year's Academy Awards ceremony.

Hell, the cinematography is even great too, and if you're planning to see this in 3-D, then it's worth the extra money if all you're aching for is good old action and explosions.

However, like most of Bay's films, the weakest link is within the script itself. The story revolves around a new cast of humans, as we're never told what happened to the other human characters from the previous movies. However, the story takes place a few years after the events of the last film.

After the horrific events of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", the CIA has joined forces with robotic alien bounty hunters, to eradicate all the transformers left on Earth; including the autobots themselves. The president of the United States is unaware of this because as far as he knows, the autobots were the ones that protected us from the evil decepticons the last time. However, the CIA doesn't want to take any chances, so they deem all transformers a threat to national security.

Along the way, the CIA takes all the parts of every transformer they kill, and they hand it over to a corporate billionaire inventor/businessman named Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci). Why do they do this? As we find out, CIA agent, Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), has something of a partnership with Joshua, as both men plan to become rich based on what they try to create using the transformer technology. Without giving away anything, they soon find out that they could be in for more than they bargained for.

What does this have to do with the main human characters of this latest adventure? Absolutely nothing, but they end up helping Optimus Prime and the autobots, due to various circumstances. Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) is a struggling inventor, who only wants to get rich off his inventions, so he can afford to send his seventeen year old girl to college someday. By the way, if any of you think that not even Michael Bay would sexualize a female character that's clearly established as being a minor in the movie itself, then you clearly don't know the man.

In one particular scene, we're given a close up shot of her butt, when her daddy complains about her shorts being too short. And, it's followed up by his obviously much older assistant when he says that she's hot......you know for a teenager that is. Oh, and did I forget to mention they have her dating some twenty year old guy in this too? But, it's okay. The guy mentions some bulls*** political technicality that makes him dating her perfectly legal; in spite of the fact that she's a minor. Hell, she even has a make out scene with her twenty year old boyfriend, and throughout the entire film she's wearing those short shorts that show off so much of her legs. I would comment about this, but why bother? Criticizing Bay for doing something like this would only be a waste of time, for all the reasons I already stated earlier. Therefore, I say let's move on.

Through an elaborate series of events, Cade comes across an old beaten down truck that's for sale. He buys it in hopes of fixing it up, so he can sell it for a good price. However, he soon finds out that broken down truck is more than what it seems, and it ends up getting him caught in one experience that I'm sure him and his daughter won't soon forget.

The story rips off some elements from the last movie, as it involves humanity's betrayal against the autobots, the decepticons manipulating things behind the scenes, and massive government cover ups; while it also delves a bit deeper into the origins of the transformers. In other words, you can expect this movie to follow every transformer film cliche in the book. Although, I'll admit the story can be intriguing at times. In fact, I dare even say that it has it's own splashes of brilliance here and there.

However, whatever brilliance this movie has going for it gets immediately sucked out of it, whenever the movie shifts to focus on the banter between Cade and his daughter's boyfriend. I'll admit that it was funny to see them interact at first, but it gets tiring after a while to where you just wish both of them would shut up.

Plus, it doesn't help that majority of the characters throughout this film come off as generic stereotypes. You have the sassy teenage daughter, who's always rebelling against her father, while her boyfriend is nothing more than the stereotypical bada**. Cade is essentially nothing more than the boring father figure archetype that's overprotective of his daughter. Not that I blame him, as I too wouldn't want my seventeen year old daughter to be dating a twenty year old. That is...if I had a seventeen year old daughter.

As for the Kelsey's character goes, he's essentially the CIA a**hole in all this, who only cares about himself. All the women in this movie have almost little to no personality, and in some cases, majority of them are used for nothing more than eye candy (i.e. the Asian bodyguard/personal assistant). Hmm...maybe that's why Michael Bay only hires attractive girls to work in his movies.

As for Stanley Tucci, his character was arguably the most interesting one throughout this entire feature. At the beginning of the movie, he's portrayed as a no nonsense businessman. But later on, we find out that he actually becomes more animated, and that he's actually a pretty decent guy after all. Not only does Stanley give the character a lot of emotional depth, but he even manages to add in a bit of humor as well. If anything, I wish his character would've been the focus, as he was arguably the most interesting human character in this feature.

But in spite of all the poorly written characterization that this film presents, the acting is still fairly decent. And, it's fairly entertaining for what it is if all you're looking for is a solid action movie with lots of explosions and etc. I just wouldn't expect too much out of it.

Although I can't say I've been a fan of Bay's portrayal of the "Transformers" in the past, but this one seems fairly decent for what it is. As long as you're willing to enjoy the visuals without thinking too heavily into the story, then you should be fine.

Granted, I know a lot of die hard transformers fans will be p***ed at some of the changes he's made, but what else is new?


Comments 4 comments

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

A great read ; my partner is an avid fan and I think that this is how it brushed off onto me. Voting up and sharing.

Eddy.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago Author

Oh okay. That's cool, I guess. Thanks for stopping by.


Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 2 years ago from Louisiana, USA

Out of all the Transformer films I thought this one had the most action, but the weakest storyline. I saw this film yesterday. It was very entertaining and a movie you do not have to strain your brain to watch. Special effects were incredible and I really enjoyed the action, but it is starting to get kind of old. I am hoping the fifth film has a conclusion.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago Author

I doubt it because I remember Michael Bay saying that the last one was supposed to be the last one, but we all know how that turned out. I think the reality is that Hasbro and Dreamworks are probably going to keep milking this film franchise until it dies. And with some of the recent box office numbers. I don't think we'll be seeing a conclusion to this franchise any time soon.

However, I do agree with you that this one has the most action scenes in it. As far as story wise, I never really cared much for the stories in the previous ones, so that's why probably why this one didn't bother me that much, but to each their own. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the film as much as you were probably hoping to.

Although I'm kind of curious to see how much longer they can keep this franchise going until they finally have to reboot the whole damn thing.

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    Transformers Go Hollywood

    Optimus Prime's Problem (Warning: Contains Adult Language. Parental Discretion is Advised)

    The Sad Fate of Soundwave (Warning: Contains Adult Language. Parental Discretion is Advised)

    © 2014 Steven Escareno

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