Review : Transformers : Age of Extinction
Michael Bay’s next iteration of the popular Transformer series is hardly a continuation of the old blockbusters. However, it holds on to key parts of the story, introduces new characters, and there are a lot of explosions.
In the post “Dark of the Moon” Chicago battle period, it appears that a new government agency is hunting all Transformers with the help of an Alien Predator.
Billionaire scientist Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) has found a new element called transformium, that comes from the harvested spares of the Transformers, he attempts to create his own army of bots that are highly customisable and can be controlled.
The story essentially talks about a scrap and spare electronics collector/inventor from rural Texas, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg). Cade buys an old truck in one of his scout missions, which turns out to be Optimus Prime (Voice of Peter Cullen). Optimus is on the run and in hiding after being damaged in a previous battle.
Cade is also overly protective of his daughter “Tessa” (Nicola Peltz), he does not want her to get pregnant when she is too young, as her mother did. Cade’s surfer-dude assistant Lucas, is weary of the old truck, when they figure out that its a transformer, “you are supposed to call the government, It’s the American thing to do”. Tessa agrees with Lucas, because, during the current tough time, the reward of US$ 50,000 seems like a saving grace.
The government is already on top of the matter by this time, led by CIA special Black Ops Head, Rumsfeldian Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) and agent James Savoy (Titus Welliver). Who also are the reason for the war between the humans and the transformers, and now they are after Cade and company.
Cade, and Tessa manage to escape with the help of Tessa’s (unknown to Cade at the time) boyfriend Shane, who is a race car driver, waiting on the horizon when the CIA attacks. The story now sends the trio into an escapade to save the world from the wrath of Attinger and Joyce who have declared the Autobots as “Alien Combatants.” The Alien hunter Lockdown (Mark Ryan) is aiding the CIA and Joyce in getting the raw materials for Joyce’s transformium needs while his main aim is to capture Optimus.
Like all of the transformer series there is a lot of metal grinding and smashing action, combined with incidental human casualties which have been considered collateral damage in the battle of the giants. The ending of the movie takes place in Hong Kong where Joyce has fled to resurrect his technology.
Most characters, like “Bumblebee”, which were highlighted in previous editions of the transformer stories remain subtle throughout the action filled package. You will also see a host of new cars in Transformers : Age of Extinction, including, the Bugatti Veyron and the 2015 Stingray.
Film Production, Visual and Graphics
The movie is filled with excellent cinema angles, landscapes and city structures. The gliding aerial shots of battles and journey are beautifully captured and will instantly form a connect with the viewer.
The production value of the movie is excellent, and not a dime seems to have been spared on visual effects, or what may have been the directors idea in the first place.
Graphic quality has evolved since the first edition Transformers, which in itself was a mega achievement at the time, and you see a more detailed and almost human-like approach to the expressions and movements of the Transforming robots from outer space.
The new age element “transformium” however seemed a lot less defined, and it almost felt like a pre-new-age graphics rendition. While the intent of this new shape changing element was clearly defined in the movie, it almost seems like a lot more work was needed to create more believable evil robots. Especially Joyce’s Transformium bots, who seemed to form out of thin air vs transforming from one body type to another.
Transformers is one of those movies that you must watch, even though, Michael Bay seems to have let go of many little elements in the movie’s production, which to a keen eye may bring down the experience.
For instance; while escaping from the CIA in the first encounter, Optimus who is assumed “hurt/damaged” simply scans a new truck and magically gets repaired, this especially after he says “Only the Autobots can fix me.”
In a latter fight scene, a transformer is thrown into a cafe full of people, and the time lag on the indoor shot is long enough to notice the people sitting inside just waiting to run out long before the crash even happens.
All these little lapses and the amateurish “transformium” transformations aside, the pure essence of the Transformers Saga remains throughout the run time of this movie. In the middle of the story, Transformers: Age of Extinction gets slightly slow and Optimus his usual emotional self, which lets to take a break from the very next metal crunching battle. The remaining story line seems to be made in a manner to deliver endless battles, which is a good thing.
However, in most instances one can recall the excellent character of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and how he held the movie together, which unfortunately Cade Yeager does not manage well.
For metal grinding and pure action and adrenaline junkies, this movie offers an excellent dosage and a loud, noisy retreat, while maintaining somewhat of a connect with the past and the future.
The 3D work in Transformers: Age of Extinction is also subtle with little or no focus on delivering too much depth in the movie, thereby maintaing better visibility of the action sequences. Hit the halls for this one!
- Noticeable production flaws
- Amateurish Transformium Robots
- Overly Emotional Optimus