Transformers: Age of Extinction
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Raynor, Sophia Myles, Bingbing Li, and the voices of Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, and Ken Watanabe.
Well, I will admit, even though Transformers is a living, breathing part of my childhood nostalgia, I was getting about done with this franchise. I still hate the second film with a passion, and the third one left me cold. When I saw the first trailer for the fourth one, Age of Extinction, I initially geeked out at the sight of Dinobots, but as we saw more in the newer trailers, I started going, “Yeah…I’m done.” But then, it was my birthday a few weeks ago, and I always see a movie on my birthday, so I thought, “Eh…may as well.” So as you can tell, my expectations were pretty low.
It’s been five years since the last movie, and after the destruction of Chicago at the hands of the Decepticons, humanity has decided that Transformers are no longer welcome on Earth. NEST, the friendly military strike force that helped the Autobots fight the Decepticons, has been replaced with Cemetery Wind, a CIA black ops group dedicated to hunting down and exterminating all Transformers. Enter struggling inventor Cade Yeager. He finds an old big rig and buys it, with the intent of stripping it for parts. But he quickly discovers that the big rig is actually a badly wounded Optimus Prime. When Cemetery Wind descends on his farm, Yeager, along with his daughter and her boyfriend, are rescued by Optimus Prime, and now they’re swept in this war with mysterious forces at play. Why does Cemetery Wind want Optimus Prime so badly? Who’s the Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown and who are the mysterious “creators” he works for? What is the mysterious robotics project that Cemetery Wind is involved with, and what is their top secret project “Galvatron”? So many questions, so many explosions.
What I Liked
Wow, it’s like Michael Bay got my checklist of everything I hated about the last few films. Goofy-stupid comic relief with the humans…gone. More time with the Transformers and allowing them to breathe as characters…done. It’s strange seeing Optimus Prime in this film. We’ve never seen an angry Optimus Prime. Prime feels betrayed by the humans. Hearing Prime growl that he’s going to kill the humans responsible for hunting down his kind is quite shocking, but it allows Prime to actually have a character arc. And it’s nice to see them starting to dip deeper into the Transformers mythos, with things like the Creators , and I did geek out quite hard when they first dropped the name Galvatron. Oh, and DINOBOTS!.
What I Didn’t Like
Damn, it’s long. When what felt like the ending came around, I realized we hadn’t seen the Dinobots yet, and started wondering, “How much longer is this film?” About an hour. As typical, the humans really aren’t developed that much, as we really don’t get to know Yeager and his family unit. And with so many forces at play, you do eventually get confused as to what’s blowing up and why. Oh, and while it’s nice to have the Autobots finally breathe more as characters, they still revert to racial stereotypes. Ha! The ‘Murican Autobot has big guns and wants to shoot things! The Japanese Autobot speaks in haiku! C’mon, Bay, you can be better than this.
I feel no shame in having thoroughly enjoyed this movie.