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Aging Gracefully – A review of Transformers: Age of Extinction
Title: Transformers: Age of Extinction
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Run Time: 165 minutes
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Peter Cullen, John Goodman
Summary: It wouldn’t be summertime without a movie filled with loud explosions and vivid primary colors directed by Michael Bay. This is this summer’s entry. Park your brain at the door and enjoy!.
Nothing is more enjoyable for me than grabbing a soda and a bucket of popcorn and heading to the theater to see a giant special effects laden explosion fest designed to make you forget about life for two hours or so.
And that is what makes movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction so fun. This is the kind of movie that will make you lose yourself for a while.
The plot? Do you really need one for this kind of movie? There are good robots and there are bad robots. They battle each other for supremacy. That’s the plot in a nutshell. Case closed.
Okay, maybe there are some additional plot nuances that make for character development of sorts for the human members of the cast, but in the greater scheme of things, they aren’t what make the movie fun.
Case in point: There is a strained relationship between a young girl and her father that we’ve seen a million times on the big screen. Dad overspends the money he doesn’t have including the girl’s college tuition. In turn, he doesn’t like the guy she’s dating. I mean, really? You call this a plot?
On the positive side, though, Marky Mark Wahlberg plays the father. I guess I don’t really buy him as the all-protective maturity figure of the piece, but his casting lends itself to the movie’s “fun” element.
And Wahlberg is a breath of fresh air to revitalize this franchise that was getting tired when Shia LeBeouf helmed the human cast. I was never really fond of his character. I would rather have seen him replaced than Megan Fox. Now both are gone and things couldn’t get much better.
The film also brings in two really good casting additions with the introduction of Stanley Tucci as a commercial scientific developer who at times almost screams “Steve Jobs” with his iconic poses and verbal inflections.
Contrastingly, Kelsey Grammer is quietly sinister as the head of a governmental arm that is sworn to eliminate the Autobots (the good robots for those that are uninitiated) while falling victim to the propaganda that the bad robots have Earth’s best interests at heart.
But the true stars of a movie like this are indeed the robots themselves. Led by Optimus Prime, despite the poor treatment that they receive yet again from their human friends, the Autobots would lay down their lives to protect the rest of us from the potential for domination by the Decepticons (Yeah, those are the bad guys.)
Peter Cullen, who probably has one of the most recognizable voices in Hollywood returns to lend his voice to Prime as he has done countless times in the past. John Goodman and Ken Watanabe are also obviously having a ton of fun voicing other Autobots.
The special effects have improved tremendously with this installment. They’ve slowed down the animation slightly which makes the transformations of the robots a lot more visually impressive.
Optimus Prime actually seems to come to life when he transforms from a dilapidated semi cab into his towering robotic persona. Others morph from cars. The one common theme, though, is the primary color angle. The cars are flashy…and so are their robotic counterparts.
There won’t be any Academy Awards for this movie, except maybe a token award for effects, but that doesn’t mean that this is necessarily bad. If you just enjoy it for what it is – popcorn summer movie fare – you can forget about life for a couple of hours or three (yeah, it’s a long one, so schedule your bathroom breaks strategically) and simply soak this one in.
I’ll give Transformers: Age of Extinction 3-1/2 out 5 stars for content and story, but for the fun elements, I’ll score it as a ten! Bring your sunglasses and earplugs – just in case.