Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

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Something's about to go boom. Because it always does.
Something’s about to go boom. Because it always does.

Twitter Plot Summary: More Bayhem ensures as the Transformers become embroiled in a plot that is too long and doesn’t make much sense.

Five Point Summary:

1. Mark Wahlberg. Much better than Shia. Much better.
2. John Goodman. Good stuff.
3. High rise escape. Quite tense, actually.
4. So let’s just go to China because marketing reasons demand it.
5. Oh look, the Dinobots. Two hours in. Hmm.

So Michael Bay has returned for another round of the Transformers franchise, and brings along a fresh cast of human characters in what is technically a franchise reboot, yet continues the story established in the opening trilogy. Except it’s not a reboot, for all intents and purposes it simply rehashes the same story we’ve seen before. There’s a MacGuffin that everybody wants control over, and for some unknown reason the only method of disposing and/or protecting said MacGuffin is to carry it to the top of a tall building nearby. Yawn.

Michael Bay is a director who lacks any concept of subtlety, which in some instances works fine – The Rock and Armageddon (maybe) represent what he’s capable of At his best. These days however, and in the Transformers franchise in particular, he has lost sight of what should be at the heart of the films – big robots beating each other up should be fun if nothing else. You could argue that he never had this in sight to begin with, each passing entry in this franchise gradually becoming more ridiculous and ruined by bad scripts and a tendency to leave the camera so close to the action you can barely see anything.

The human cast are almost incidental, the story it wouldn’t suffer if Mark Wahlberg and co were excised from proceedings. What would suffer is the entertainment value of the film in general, as Wahlberg does at least raise the game when compared to Shia LeBeouf. His crackpot inventor manages to work out how to use alien weapons within a few seconds of getting hold of one and fully embodies the action hero role that the character was designed to inhabit. Jack Reynor’s boy racer Shane, meanwhile, completely subverts expectations by being afraid of everything besides driving a really fast car. Stanley Tucci meanwhile is very good as the scientist responsible for the majority of the lengthy plot, just keeping things on the right side of parody. It’s another bad day out for the ladies though – Nicola Peltz spends most of her time screaming for her dad, and Sophie Myles is completely wasted as a scientific expert. Early on it looks like she might have quite a substantial role to play, but this soon fades into nothingness and you question the reason for her character even existing.

Er, Mark? He's right behind you.
Er, Mark? He’s right behind you.

There was plenty of excitement from the Transformers fan base when it was announced that the Dinobots would be finally making an appearance, but once again this is an aspect that Bay gets completely wrong. Given no personalities and only showing up in the last half hour, they stomp around the place and destroy a few things before being released back into the wild. Let’s hope that if they return in the next film (because you can guarantee they’ll keep churning these out until they stop making money), they are at least given a bit of personality, and if possible have Grimlock the same as he is in the cartoon. In other words – entertaining. There’s also the small issue of Optimus Prime being a bit unpleasant and angry, but that’s a whole other discussion that would take too long to consider here.

It’s an incredibly flabby film that takes far too long to get to the point, does very little of interest with the content it presents to its audience, and is mostly nonsensical to the point of potentially confusing even the characters who exist within the context of the film. So in other words, a typical Michael Bay Transformers movie.

Score: 2/5

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