TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (2014)
reviewed by Elvin Jones
"A new era has begun. The age of the Transformers is over..."
-Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar)
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Yes it truly is, although not the way this character probably meant.  At this point the franchise has really become about making money, cool shots of things exploding, and the token hot girl in short shorts than what it originally was and should have been, the continued war between Autobots and Decepticons.  Really now the series should be “Random Humans Caught in Alien War That Take Away From the Real Reason We Came Here”.

KEYWORDS
Long, empty, lacking, unreal, like, really long

THE GOOD
Optimus Prime – the hero of all heroes, willing to die or do whatever is necessary to save his family, both robot and human.  He also heads in a direction in his quest that you wouldn’t quite expect but I enjoy.
Hound – great addition to Team Autobot, voiced by John Goodman (perfect voice casting in my opinion)
Kelsey Grammar/Stanley Tucci – love Kelsey as a bad guy and Stanley as a Steve Jobs gone extreme type of role
Dinobots – finally!
Lockdown – a villain robot with a mission, worthy adversary

THE BAD
Mark Wahlberg – the one liners, the believability of him as this great inventor, not buying it
Deaths – both human and robot, did not really feel them
New Transformers – call me old school, but I feel Transformers should transform, with that cool sound
Dinobots – limited screen time
Length – at nearly three hours with most of that dealing with the human storyline. 

WHAT THE MOVIE IS ABOUT
Set 4-5 years after Dark Side of the Moon aka We Blew Chicago Off The Map, Autobots are in hiding, being stalked by secret government organization led by Kelsey Grammar.  At first we think its retaliation for the events in Chicago but there is a more sinister plan involved.  Random struggling inventor Mark Walberg “happens” to discover Optimus Prime in hiding, which pulls him and family into the middle of a three way war between our government, and a bounty hunting robot looking for Optimus Prime, for completely separate reasons.

WHAT THE MOVIE IS REALLY ABOUT
Blowing stuff up and commercialism.  So first off, we all know “Bayhem” is a given when you see a Michael Bay film.  He knows it too.  If there was an Oscar category for blowing stuff up in the most creative way, he would probably win it every year.  He knows he isn’t winning awards, he is trying to fill seats and make money and as long as these movies make ridiculous amounts of money ($100 million opening weekend – best in franchise) there is no reason to fix the many things wrong with the series.  First off, let me go on record as saying I’m a diehard fan of the original 80’s cartoon series.  I know there have been many versions of Transformers since and we get a lot of material from the movies from these sources.  But having said that SLIGHT SPOILER, from the original movie to this one, we only have two remaining Transformers, (Optimus and Bumblebee), everyone is dead or gone.  Hound is a great addition from the classic Transformers, but I would much rather see more of the classics then to keep bringing in newer characters or made up ones.  You bring in the Dinobots great but only one of which is basically an original Dinobot.  The others LOOK like the ones I remember but you gave them different names.  Why? 

And we are using any chance we get to do product tie-ins.  Granted, this is a common practice in movies today, but I think we can afford to do without them in some cases especially when we know a movie is going to make money regardless.  I mean at one point Mark Walberg crashes a spaceship like right on top of a Bud Light truck and takes a moment to pop a cap and have a sip, in the middle of a battle.  Oh and then there is the flip over a bus of some kind that is almost completely destroyed save for a Victoria Secret sign?  Insert Blank Stare here.  I mean Victoria Secret.  And of course it is so great that these robots transform into cars that the average person CAN’T BUY.  But they sure do looks snazzy!

And more and more with these movies, the humans seems to be taking a bigger role and portion of the movie.  Remember the Transformers cartoon movie.  There was like 2 humans in it, and it was AWESOME.  Let’s get back to basics.

CONCLUSION
Way too long time wise, short on the robots.  If you are going to keep changing the human cast, at least keep the robots somewhat intact.  And give us a story, a real story.  I may not know much about the Transformers outside the classic series, but there is so much rich backstory and history I feel like if anything let’s go into the archives and pull a story from there as a starting point.  And spend more money on more robots and less humans.  I came to see Transformers, not humans.

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2 out of 4

 


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