Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction photo starrating-1star.jpgTransformers: Age of Extinction, or Transformers 4 for those keeping track, is almost an unreviewable movie. I don’t even want to tease that I might give this a glowing review. I’ll cut right to the chase and kill that suspense. It’s bad. Oh it’s terrible. But in trying to assess this cacophonous flick I realize it’s like trying to review the sound of a Boeing 747 taking off at 100 feet. If sheer decibels were all that mattered, this film would reign supreme. But this is the world of cinema so there is dialogue involved. If you want to save some money, ($19.50 for IMAX 3D in the SF Bay Area) have a few of your friends scream at each other over the din of the garbage disposal. Now have them do this for the duration of 3 hours and you’ll have the same cinematic experience.

Of course that is to negate the “beauty” of the graphics on screen. I’ll admit that computer generated technology has progressed to a point where these images of machines co-existing with humans is visually interesting at least. I still don’t know how real it looks though. Most of the time scenes of digitally rendered Autobots and Decepticons interacting look like a very impressive animated cartoon. That’s where the sound mixing comes in giving these man-made images a presence that feels somewhat more organic. Every single one of these films has at least gotten an Academy Award nomination in this category. The sound is really impressive and unquestionably the best thing to recommend. It is the only thing.

No attempt is made to confer a unique story. We’re presented virtually the same tale of good vs. evil that we’ve been given in 3 prior installments with minimal adjustments. As a result of the destructive battle of Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), good Autobots and bad Decepticons are now both seen as an enemy of the state. Their persecution is overseen by an evil government agent (is there another kind?) played by Kelsey Grammer. With the human race no longer trusting Transformers, the Autobots have gone into hiding. Cut to regular dude Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) who’s got the mind of an inventor and the build of a weightlifter. One day he purchases an old broken down semi-truck. He intends to sell its parts for money so his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) can pay for college. She’s supposed to be 17 but walks around in short shorts that seem to shrink in each successive scene. The truck turns out to be the Autobots leader Optimus Prime in disguise. The discovery compels these people to join forces with the remaining Autobots. Together they must defend themselves against a hostile government and the swelling ranks of the human made Deceptions bent on destroying all human life into extinction.

Director Michael Bay has overseen this franchise and built an impressive resume of hits that rake in the big bucks at the box office. Michael Bay has established a pretty recognizable style that has been quite successful. By now you pretty much know what you’re getting with his product. I don’t feel the need to write more about this tired franchise. It’s pretty safe to say that my review or any other critique for that matter, will have little bearing on your decision to see or avoid this. What I can assess is whether a fan would enjoy the picture within the context of the franchise. The previous low point was Revenge of the Fallen, the second entry. I dare say this just might top that entry in awfulness. It’s probably not a deal breaker for a devotee because you’re still going to gets lots of metal crushing metal and explosions that go BOOM. However if we are to judge this as a film based on plot, script, direction, acting and the oppressive length, it’s a heinous decline from Bay’s previous efforts.


37 Responses to “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

  1. I’m shocked, Mark! I was expecting a 5-star review! I’ve managed to avoid all of the Transformers movies, although I’m always curious about why people hate them so much, kinda like looking at a car wreck, even though you know you shouldn’t. I won’t be spending £10 at the cinema to see this, even on a DVD rental – thanks for the warning!

    • Yeah I know. I really wanted to surprise everyone and proclaim that Michael Bay finally challenged his audience this time. Watch the first one if any at all. They’re pretty interchangeable really.

    • garylee828 Says:

      AndyK, Mark is right that the first one is worth watching; best one of the series. If you watch part one and skip the others you’ll be doing well. Part 1 wraps up on it’s own, so you’re not left with a cliffhanger that would make you feel obligated to continue. Really, the other parts were tacked on. The first one is worth watching for listening to Jablonsky’s epic score, alone. And the friendship between Bumble Bee and Sam was actually endearing. The first one had a story and a lot of heart, which is why people liked it so much, which is why they started pounding out sequels, but when they made the sequels they forgot what made the first part work so well and they fell out of touch with their audience. CGI is cool, but only when your story has heart and characters worth caring about; focus more on CGI than story and you have…Transformers 2. lol.

  2. It’s like every other Transformers movie ever made. However, longer. So that only means it’s got more against it. Good review Mark.

  3. Fine review Mark. By a quirk in scheduling and an open spot in my schedule, and because it happen to be playing on TV on the same channel that I had last watched, I got to see the last hour and change of the 2011 ‘Chicago’ Transformers.

    Mind numbing as well as mind-boggling. No need to see another one. I’ll keep the money in my pocket instead of surrendering it to AMC.

    • Speaking of mind-boggling, Transformers 3 (Dark of the Moon) actually made $352 million in the U.S. alone. Somehow I don’t think #4 will reach the same heights.

  4. Predictable review Mark. Lol, that’s not a personal attack, either. I fully expected this and got what I came for! Unfortunately I still think I”ll be getting dragged to this later tonight with some friends, so in some ways I’m looking forward to writing up possibly my first ‘rant’ review of the year! So there’s always that. . .

    • garylee828 Says:

      I actually thought the producers and execs might have learned their lesson from the mistakes of parts 2 & 3 and made this one more like the first, and that Mark would have given like 3 stars and said the franchise took a step back in the right direction; that’s what I was hoping for. Mark dropped a bomb on me here, and we disagree sometimes, but this doesn’t sound like there’s much wiggle room on this one.

      • haha yeah to be honest I didn’t have high hopes at all for Age of Extinction. I haven’t even seen Dark of the Moon, in knowing how much I hated Revenge of the Fallen. It’s basically been a knock-on effect for me. 😛

  5. garylee828 Says:

    Actually, you’re a little off — your opinion would persuade me. 🙂 I was on the fence about this and hadn’t planned to go see it unless I started reading rave reviews. I think this kind of settles it for me. I agree w/ you part 2 was the worst of the series. This one HAS to be better! lol. I will likely skip this one; maybe catch it on TV in a couple years. One thing we can count on in this series, though, is a great score from Jablonsky! I need to go and DL the score soon. 🙂

  6. You just saved me some money. I’ve avoided the last two movies in the franchise but was curious if the reviews for this one would be any better, obviously not. 🙂

  7. “The mind of an inventor and the build of a weightlifter.” Brilliant. Thanks for watching this so I don’t have to.

    • You know who kind of gave a performance? Stanley Tucci. He had some personality.

      • garylee828 Says:

        I believe that. Stanley Tucci is pretty much $ in everything he does. Good to see him and Wahlberg reunite under different circumstances than in “The Lovely Bones”. 🙂 When I saw Tucci was in the new Transformers is what offered me a glimmer of hope that maybe this installment was a step in the right direction. I guess I can forget that from now on as long as Michael Bay is director.

      • Oh dear. I forgot they did The Lovely Bones together as well. In this case, two positives seem to equal a negative. lol

      • garylee828 Says:

        I didn’t watch The Lovely Bones b/c it looked poorly executed to me; Wahlberg looked way too young to have a daughter that age. That took me out of the story completely. I think Tucci as the villain was cast well, though.

      • He’s not in reality, but Wahlberg looked too young to be Nicola Peltz’ father in Transformers 4 as well.

      • garylee828 Says:

        Yes, I noticed that on the ads, too; at first glance I thought she was his love-interest.

      • Ha! That makes 2 of us.

  8. We’re all a little bit masochistic, aren’t we? We know it’s going to be awful but we still go (and pay to) watch them!

    • Ha ha. There’s no sacrifice too great that I won’t make for my readers. 😉

      • garylee828 Says:

        You should see what sacrifices Eric Isaacs makes for his readers over at The IPC blog site; he watches some truly terrible films to warn others about them, so they won’t make the same mistake. lol. But yes, you did take one for the team on this one – so thank you! 🙂

  9. I got a chuckle out of your reviews of this review and The Rover and figure I won’t waste time or money on either. Thank-you for your self- sacrifice.

  10. I’m going to be in the minority and say this one was just a tad better than the last two movies but doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s an awful movie and I can’t believe they made it close to 3 hours! It’s unfortunate too that it’s raking in tons of cash at the box office.

    • If you’re looking for sci-fi right now, go see Snowpiercer as soon as it’s playing in your area. It’s everything that an epic film should be.

  11. As I’ve said before, this is the movie….clink clank, clank clink, clink clank, very loud, for 3 hours. It seems Michael Bay could release a Transformers 5 and not even have a story. Just 3 hours of unrecognizable robots fighting. I’m sure that would make money too. Dumb dumb dumb. I will give 1 1/2 stars.

  12. I love your garbage bag disposal line!

    Still pretty shocked and confused as to how Michael Bay made a Transformers movie 2.75 hours long, how the studios let him do so, and why either party thought anybody would survive that length. Haven’t seen any of these movies (thank god), but if I had to watch just one of the trailers on loop for that long, I might not survive.

  13. Hilarious and insightful review! I liked the 1st “Transformers” okay except for the extended, loud action sequences. I’m one of those people who is wired so that I actually get BORED (imagine!) at never-ending, cacophonous robot fights. The 2nd one was God-awful. The humor was bottom-of-the-barrel, the Special Effects and explosions were neverending. I didn’t watch any of the films past that point. I find it commendable that you sat through two more of Bay’s films in order to get reviews. Actually, my long-ass computer password (so my little bro couldn’t get into my account, though he’s not so little anymore, he’s 16) was projectassassinatemichaelbay.

    • Those endless, loud robot fights are just a discordant barrage of explosions. The sound actually becomes white noise that actually lulls me to sleep. So yeah I understand why you get bored.

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