Transformers: Age of Extinction

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In a pre-historic time, ancient Transformers detonate the Seed, killing all life on Earth. In the present, an archaeologist named Darcy discovers a dinosaur covered in an unknown metal.

Five years have passed since the Battle of Chicago. The U.S. government has severed its ties with the Autobots and branded them as fugitives. An elite CIA unit called “Cemetery Wind” is formed by Harold Attinger with the intent of hunting down and exterminating the surviving Autobots with the aid of Lockdown, a Transformer bounty hunter. Meanwhile, using data obtained from destroyed Transformers, business tycoon Joshua Joyce and his technology firm Kinetic Solutions Incorporated (KSI) have discovered “Transformium”, the molecularly unstable metal that is the lifeblood of Transformers. Joshua’s prized creation is Galvatron, a Transformer created from the data inside Megatron’s severed head with the aid of a captured Brains.

In rural Texas, struggling robotics inventor Cade Yeager and his friend Lucas Flannery purchase an old semi-truck in hopes of stripping it down and selling the parts to get Cade’s daughter Tessa into college. Cade discovers that the truck is an injured Optimus Prime, and it is not long before Lockdown and Cemetery Wind operatives led by James Savoy storm into the Yeagers’ farm and threaten them. Optimus comes out of hiding to fend off against the operatives while Cade, Tessa, and Lucas are rescued by Tessa’s boyfriend Shane Dyson, an Irish rally racer. They lose the operatives in a lengthy chase in Paris, Texas, but Lucas is killed by Lockdown’s grenade during their escape. Using a drone he took during the raid, Cade discovers that the operatives and KSI are working together. Optimus rallies the remaining Autobots – Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs – and travel with their new human allies to infiltrate KSI’s headquarters in Chicago. There, Cade, Shane, and Bumblebee discover the firm’s reverse engineering of Transformer technology. Upon discovering that Ratchet has been slain and his head is being melted down, Optimus and the Autobots storm into the headquarters to destroy the laboratory and rescue Brains, but Joshua convinces them that their actions are futile and they are no longer relevant to this planet.

As the Autobots leave the premises, Joshua launches KSI’s prototype Transformers Galvatron and Stinger. Optimus and Galvatron engage in a grueling battle where Optimus realizes that Galvatron is Megatron in a new body. Suddenly, Optimus is blasted from behind by Lockdown, and in the midst of the chaos, he and Tessa are captured and taken into Lockdown’s ship. Aboard the ship, Lockdown explains to Optimus that the Transformers were created by a mysterious alien race known as the “Creators”, which hired him to capture the Autobot leader. As a reward for Optimus’s capture, Attinger’s operatives are given the “Seed”, a bomb that cyberforms any wide area of land if it explodes. Cade, Shane, and the Autobots storm into the ship to rescue Optimus and Tessa; while Bumblebee, Crosshairs, and the humans escape and crash into downtown Chicago, the other Autobots detach the rear section of the ship before it leaves into space. Joshua and his business partners Su Yueming and Darcy Tyril retreat to Beijing, where Attinger hands Joshua the Seed in exchange for a stake in KSI control. The Autobots and their human allies follow them to prevent them from detonating the Seed.

At KSI’s Beijing factory, Galvatron suddenly activates by himself and infects all 50 of the firm’s prototype Transformer soldiers to do his bidding. Realizing the folly of his creations, Joshua betrays Attinger before he, Su, and Darcy take the Seed to Hong Kong. There, the Autobots struggle to protect Joshua and the Seed from Galvatron and his minions, who shoot down the Autobots’ ship. Cade kills Savoy during a fight in an apartment building. Outnumbered and outmatched, Optimus Prime releases a group of legendary knights and leads them back to the city to destroy Galvatron’s army. Lockdown returns to Earth and uses his ship’s magnetic weapon to pull anything metal into his ship, in an effort to recapture Optimus. Optimus destroys the weapon and engages in battle with Lockdown before killing Attinger to save Cade. Lockdown grabs Optimus’s sword and impales him, but the combined efforts of Bumblebee, Cade, Tessa, and Shane distract the bounty hunter before Optimus stabs him in the chest and slices his head in half. Galvatron retreats, vowing to battle Optimus another day. With Lockdown dead and Cemetery Wind dissolved, Optimus sets the Dinobots free before flying into space with the Seed, sending a message to the Creators.

REVIEW:

If you’ve been keeping up with how Transformers: Age of Extinction has been doing with the critics, then you know they haven’t been kind. The average movie-goer, also hasn’t really had the nicest of things to say about this flick, either. This brings about the big question. What will I, a Transformers fanboy, have to say about what I just saw?

What is this about?

In the fourth CGI-fueled Transformers actioner, Cade Yeager is a father trying to protect his daughter, Tessa, from the perils of the outside world. Cade views Tessa’s beau, Shane, as one of the leading dangers, but the lad soon redeems himself.

What did I like?

New blood. Thank goodness, Shia LeBeouf and his constant spouting of “no, no, no!” are gone. In his place is Mark Wahlberg, his daughter Nicola Pelts (you may recall her from that horrendous The Last Airbender) and her boyfriend, Jack Reynor. The three of them, once they get over the family and dating issues, actually make a great team and a solid addition to this franchise, if not an upgrade from what we’ve been force fed in the previous films. Also, with Megatron gone, it is nice to have a new villain after the Autobots in Lockdown and the prerequisite new Autobots in Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs.

Dinobots. While I was watching my Denver Broncos get the taste smacked out of their mouths on Super Bowl Sunday, I was patiently awaiting the first trailer for this film. It wasn’t much, but it did feature Optimus Prime riding Grimlock (note- they never specifically call him Grimlock, or them Dinobots). Say what you will about what you think of this franchise, that was something that awoke the 10 yr old kid that would wake up and watch Saturday morning cartoons. That same feeling occurs when you finally see it happen on the big screen. Hopefully, Michael Bay, who said when he was making the first Transformers that he would never use the Dinobots, takes note of how well received these magnificent creatures are and will bring them back for more.

True form. Transformers: Dark of the Moon finally gave Optimus Prime his trailer, but those of that grew up with Prime still have a soft spot for what he is supposed to look like, which is a flat faced semi. For the first however long it is that we see Optimus, he is in the form that we all know and love…sort of. He’s all beaten down and rusted, but beggars can’t be choosy and, since Michael Bay is an ass and wants to ruin all of our childhoods, this is all we’re going to get.

Trilogy? Judging by how this picture ends, it seems as if they are setting up for something bigger down the road. A trilogy, perhaps? I’m not sure how I feel about that, but one more wouldn’t hurt, if for no other reason than to up the ante from this one, and there is a cliffhanger ending that needs to be resolved!

What didn’t I like?

Length and language. With a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes, this film takes everything you have and more. There is no reason for this film to be this long, but Michael Bay just has to show us his hard-on for the military and make sure they get their time in the spotlight, as well as plenty of explosive scenes that tend to drag on to the point that you are bored with them. I dare say a good 30-45 minutes could have been cut out of this flick and it would have been just fine. Also, as much as they want to keep advertising this as a darker, more mature film, the fact remains that kids are going to see it, so why all the cursing? Even Bumblebee, through the use of his radio (didn’t they fix his voice already?). slips a four-letter word out, but it is bleeped. I’m not usually one to complain about language, but this just was out of place and uncalled for.

Too many cooks in the kitchen. Apparently, filmmakers, or studio execs, rather, haven’t gotten the memo that there is such a thing as too many villains in a film. Here we have another case of that. First we have the bounty hunter, Lockdown, who should have been the main villain, and is treated as such in parts. Next, there is Kelsey Grammer’s CIA or FBI agent character, who apparently thinks that the Transformers are the worst thing ever, and that the events of the previous film were solely on their shoulders. Somehow, the human involvement is forgotten. Lastly, there is Galvatron, who I can’t say much about, for risk of spoiling anything, but if you know anything about G1 Transformers, then you have an idea of who he is. Now, Grammer’s character gets the majority of the antagonist role, followed by Lockdown, and Galvatron is forgotten, except for when he actually puts his plan into motion, but by that time it just seems like he is just an inconvenience and a distraction whose main purpose is to create and army so they can use more CG. Seriously, they should have focused on Grammer and Lockdown, and maybe had a post-credits scene involving Galvatron coming to “life” instead of being a mindless drone. That way, those two characters could have been more fully realized and Galvatron could be the character that deserves to be, rather than a shoehorned villain, a la Venom in Spider-Man 3.

Only human. I think I have said this for 3 of the 4 films in this franchise. Ironically, the one I didn’t say this about is the one that gets criticized for giving the robots actual characterizations. You just can’t win for losing, I guess. At any rate, this film is entirely too obsessed with giving us a human story. The audience goes in wanting to see a flick about giant robots, not some drama about a dad and his daughter and the boyfriend who is some kind of Irish stunt car driver. Bay needs to learn that the audience for this film could care less about the humans. True, you get a star like Mark Wahlberg, you’re not going to have him do nothing, but this is a film that needed to be more about the Transformers. Speaking of giant robots, I am not sure whether this was intentional, but I have to give it up for naming Wahlberg’s character Yeager. What’s so special about that? Well, that’s the name of the giant robots in Pacific Rim. Suddenly, yesterday, a sequel was announced to that film. Hmmm…

Primal attitude. Continuing with Michael Bay raping and pillaging all that is good and holy out of the Transformers universe, he has taken Optimus Prime and turned him into a bitter shell of himself, rather than the unflappable, John Wayne-esque leader he is best known for. Given the circumstances, I can understand a little change, but he should have reverted back to his normal self. Also, Bumblebee seems to have problems keeping his emotions in check with this one. That fancy new Transformers: Prime inspired face mask probably had something to do with is. Keeping with the attitude, I loved the design of Crosshairs, but why was he so full of prejudice towards the humans? Hound, who looks like he was designed more like Bulkhead. Finally, there is Drift, the samurai. Love that design, but hate that they made him such a stereotype, complete with broken English. Did Ken Watanabe not read the script before he signed on for this?!?

It is obvious that Bay and his cronies did a little more research into the Transformers universe. Why else would there be so many obvious references and inspirations from Transformers: Animated and Transformers: Prime. However, that does not mean that they have made Transformers : Age of Extinction the Transformers film we have all been waiting to see. Even with the “Dinobots” making an appearance and the new Transformers antagonist, Lockdown, there is just too much wrong with this film for it to be respectable. It is no wonder everyone is hating on this film. However, I’m not one of those that jumps on the bandwagon and hates a film for no good reason. I actually liked parts of this film and think that it is worth watching. I recommend you at least give it a shot, knowing how flawed it is. This is a summer action flick, if you will remember. Check it out and enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars

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4 Responses to “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

  1. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

  2. […] about a month now, and yet the theater I was in tonight was actually more packed than the ones for Transformers : Age of Extinction and X-Men: Days of Future Past. I guess there is something to be said for a good family flick. That […]

  3. […] to them. Fast forward to today where people are having a cow over the length of something like Transformers: Age of Extinction and you can see how times have changed. Personally, taking into consideration the differences in the […]

  4. […] of others, we had a new lineup of Transformers in every picture. Starting with the last picture, Transformers: Age of Extinction, we seem to be keeping with a steady lineup, only bringing in one or two others…at least on […]

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