Monday, 7 July 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction

The Transformers franchise helmed by Michael Bay arrives for yet another instalment of chaos and shook awake a somewhat sleepy Summer Season in the cinema.
Did we ask for another Transformers film? No; but in keeping with tradition we will all bitch about Michael Bay then flock to the cinema with such robotic social conformity that we are one sequel away from a living in a Monty Python skit.
This is one occasion when I am not jumping on the bandwagon of hate.  I am standing in front of it aiming a bazooka at those who paid to see the film then took to the internet to express their mortal offense that the film was exactly as they expected it to be.  Old dogs learn new tricks quicker.
Run! The masses are coming with pitchforks and torches as you give them what they expected! Run!
PLOT:  After the war in Chicago (Transformers 3) the Autobots have gone into hiding and are being hunted down by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar) and his robot ally Lockdown.  Optimus Prime is broken and hiding out in an old cinema until he is purchased by inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg). Once up and running again Prime reunites the Autobots and they find themselves being hunted by Lockdown and factory made Decepticons.  China. END PLOT
This is a very condensed plot because, in all honestly, I had no idea what was happening.  Attinger’s motives for joining forces with Lockdown and creating robots to kill robots in the name of preserving America didn’t make much sense and this is before we get the sub-plot between Optimus Prime and the Dino-Bots. 
I have no problem disengaging with reality and leaving my brain at the door.  I do it every day when I go to work so it is hardly a chore when I got to the cinema but the script of Transformers: Age of Extinction was a mess.  The shambolic plot threads became more noticeable due to the 2hours 45min running time.  We were treated to many battles between robots vs. robots and robots vs. dino-bots which all blended into one big metallic ball of confusion.  A good hour needed to be chopped off the running time and although this would not have improved the script it may have made the confusion less noticeable and easier to forgive.
Michael Bay does not understand subtlety but the cinema is the perfect place to experience his patented “the noisier the better” brand of action.  The effects were stunning and the even though the robot action became confusing in parts there can be no denying that the Autobots look amazing. Despite the impressive special effects the action was at its strongest when it involved the human characters – I will never find a character in peril at a great height anything less than stressful.
Transformers: Age of Extinction marked a complete change in cast which was sorely needed. Sam Witwicky, his girlfriends, his family and their yappy dog had outstayed their welcome after the first instalment.  Michael Bay deserves high-fives all around for replacing Shia LaBeouf with Mark Wahlberg.
I am a fan of Mark Wahlberg as he is always entertaining to watch and although I don’t believe that Wahlberg is capable of inventing anything more technical than a two layered meat sandwich I took to crackpot inventor Cade Yeager with ease.  Yeager is accompanied by his teenage daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) and her oddly accented boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor).  Their banter doesn’t always hit the mark but they were entertaining and the film was at its strongest when they were on screen.  TJ Miller was also a welcome addition to the cast but unfortunately his screen time was cut short.
Over on the dark side we had Kelsey Grammar and he was fine as a corrupt government agent but the undisputed star of the show was Stanley Tucci who was clearly having a blast.  Tucci got the obligatory 12A “fuck” and I was happy for him. 
The oddest double act of the year might just be  the best!
Overall Transformers: Age of Extinction is by no means the best that film I will see this summer but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself.  I can understand where the hate comes from but only up to a point - if you are still shocked by the quality of a franchise at the fourth instalment you are more at fault than the filmmaker.  Please feel free to remind me of this statement when I review Paranormal Activity 5.
Transformers: Age of Extinction gets 5/10 which is deservedly higher than Maleficent or Godzilla.  It would have scored higher if it were an hour shorter.  If there is to be a fifth film, and I have no reason to believe there won't be, I wouldn't be unhappy to see Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel bring the rain once more.


  1. Pretty much in line about this one. An hour off the runtime might have made this the best of the series, a shame because there is a lot to like here. Funny, I thought I was the only one that wouldn't have minded if Gibson and Duhamel showed back up!

    1. Nope! I'd take Gibson and Duhamel back in a heartbeat!