Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Release Date: 6/27/2014
Dir. Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yaeger), Nicola Peltz (Tessa Yaeger), Kelsey Grammar (Harold Attinger), Jack Reynor (Shane Dyson), Stanley Tucci (Joshua Joyce), Bingbing Li (Su Yueming), Titus Welliver (James Savoy), T.J. Miller (Lucas Flannery), Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Frank Welker (Galvatron), John Goodman (Hound), John Goodman (Hound), Ken Watanabe (Drift), John Dimaggio (Crosshairs), Mark Ryan (Lockdown), Reno Wilson (Brains)

Initial Thoughts

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction Promotional Poster

Walking in to Transformers 4, aka Transformers: Age of Extinction, the only thing I expected was another Transformers movie. As such, my expectations for the movie weren’t all to high, and this one fell mostly in line with expectations. If you are looking for a quality movie skip this one. If you are looking for a movie that makes total sense skip this one. Heck, if you are just looking for something to watch this weekend and not feel like you’ve wasted your money, you may be better off watching Snowpiercer. Transformers: Age of Extinction is watchable if you know what you are walking in to, but perfectly fine if you leave it for home video. I promise you aren’t missing much.

Watch out for Spoilers!

Plot Summary

Cade Yaeger is a robotics tinkerer. He invents things and has a ton of gadgets in progress with plenty of quirks. Unfortunately, none of his tinkering is bringing in any money as he doesn’t have any for his property payments or his 17 year old daughter’s, Tessa, college. On another trip for parts with his partner Lucas, he finds a truck for 150 and brings it back much to his daughter’s disappointment. A bit of tinkering later he discovers that it is actually an autobot that is sending out a cautionary signal, but is mostly dead. Cade brings the machine back to life to discover that it is Optimus Prime, but not before Lucas slipped in a call behind their back to the government letting them know they’d found one. Lucas had assumed that they would be paid for the find, considering all Transformers are now worth loads of money because the government wants them. Lucas was wrong and the government attacks the Yaegers and Lucas for information, before Optimus comes out of hiding to save the day.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Bumblebee

The ensuing fight involved Optimus being hunted down by the government contracted Lockdown who agreed to hunt transformers because he wants to find Optimus. It also involved Cade being introduced to his daughter’s secret boyfriend Shane, who happens to be a rally car driver and got them out of the situation. In the process, Lucas died as the group of humans escaped. Their new goal is surviving, but that slowly morphs into discovering why they want to take down the former good guys. They figure out a technology coporation, KSI has a hand in it. KSI is working to create new transformers with the metal they found to be the transformers bodies. It is quickly revealed that KSI, and particularly Joyce, doesn’t have full control of the new prototypes. Megatron had infiltrated the transformer Galvatron.

While there were a number of other detours in the story, eventually came to the fact that Galvatron, now capable of operating freely wants the seed. The seed is an object that is essentially a tatical nuke that will destroy all organic life and coat it in transformium, essentially giving Galvatron the means to create a new army. Thus, the autobots move in to action taking out Galvatron and his minions all while Lockdown is desperately searching to take down Optimus. In the end, the autobots succeed by enlisting the help of the dinobots. Optimus then kills Lockdown after nearly being taken down himself.
/End Plot Summary

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Cade Yaeger, Tessa Yaeger, Shane Dyson

There are a lot of things that could be considered wrong with the movie, but let’s start with the few things that were actually good. For one, the movie went a darker route. Transformers was never completely light hearted as it seemed every movie killed one of our autobot protagonists. While we did lose Ratchet, I wouldn’t consider him one of the main autobots in the film. Instead all our autobots survived, but a number of human characters perished. Early in the film we saw a relatively dim-witted money crazed character meet his end in a rather horrific way. When I say horrific I mean it, he was left a solidified piece of bones as he smoldered. It was probably the worst death in the film. However, it was nice to see early on that these characters really weren’t safe.

Another good thing about the movie was Mark Wahlberg in general. You can tell that he didn’t just phone it in although he could have. Yes the movie was outlandish and he certainly knew that going in as a result, he had fun with it. You could tell that he was having fun with it as he portrayed an eccentric inventor. Yet, he was a protective dad. He felt like a balanced character with flaws. He was willing to get into the fray and help out, rather than just sit by the wayside and panic.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Hound

Unfortunately, the other characters weren’t nearly as well down. Tessa and Shane felt particularly annoying. Time and time again, Tessa ragged on her father for not being a good dad, while Shane repeatedly made digs toward Cade. Essentially, Shane was a cocky boyfriend that really deserved to be slapped in the face. When it came to actually doing something to protect Tessa like he claimed he was there for, he faltered. Yet, Cade still embraced him despite all the nasty things Shane said to him.

Harold Attinger and Joshua Joyce were far more bearable characters, even if they were villainous. Harold was the main human protagonist, though his motivations weren’t entirely clear. Yes, it seemed like he disliked transformers, but not enough that he refused to work with one to take down others. Also, even after Cade and his family had been deemed irrelevant to his goals, he still wished to kill him. By the end of the movie I wasn’t entirely sure if Attinger was motivated by getting rid of all transformers or by money. Joyce started out as a misguided inventor. He liked money, but ultimately he wasn’t a bad guy. When he realized what was going on with his product and what the seed could really do, he quickly backed off. It was nice seeing a character recognize their wrongs. However, it was rather jarring to see Joyce switch from cut throat business man to bumbling fool so quickly.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Optimus Prime

Going in to Transformers: Age of Extinction, we were constantly teased that there were going to be dinobots. And we certainly did get to see Grimlock and some others. Unfortunately, the dinobots were used as a trump card to beat Galvatron and his forces, and Lockdown. As a result, we didn’t get too much time with the dinobots. Which was unfortunate, because it was fun seeing them fight as dinos, but they hardly spoke.

Transformers: Age of Extinction clocked in at a whopping 2 hours and 45 minutes. It is no joke of a film and it feels like it’s length. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in some of it’s action pieces, but that doesn’t mean you don’t start to feel the drain of the movie. I found myself dissecting the film breaking it down in to manageable tv episodes. And let me tell you, the movie does break down into a nice little mini-series. Either way, the film is really long, probably 45 minutes longer than it needed to be. I can name a couple of sections that looked cool, but could have trimmed the movie by about a half an hour. I’m looking at you Optimus and Tessa abduction. The only thing the characters gained from that detour was a ship and some guns. That probably could have been reworked another way.

Final Thoughts

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Crosshairs

It’s watchable, though barely. The runtime is just too long with unnecessary detours. However, it’s refreshing to see the series without Shia LaBeouf (and he honestly was not missed). Seeing all the autobots is a joy as always, but it isn’t quite enough to make up for what can feel like a tedious movie at time. If I were you and you really wanted to see it, I would save your money and wait until it can be rented.

What did you think of the movie?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s