Monday, June 30, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Transformers:  Age of Extinction 

Director: Michael Bay
Cast Headliners:  Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Peter Cullen, Kelsey Grammer
Original Release Date: June 29, 2014
            Where does one even begin for a review of the Transformers franchise? It’s like an overgrown gnarly beast that everyone keeps feeding wealth too; so I guess the way to go is just jump in and start attacking its weak points.  This FOURTH entry is Transformers: Age of Extinction, in which the Autobots are on the run and “Cade Yeager” (Mark Wahlberg) finds a mysterious big red truck which can only be one prime robot.  What follows is , to say the least, a very wild ride.
            Shia Labeouf as well as every other human character from the past installments are gone, with not even a bare mention. This is a “total reboot” yet it feels very similar to what has come before.  Cade Yeager is one of several of the new non-bot heroes, which includes his bickering daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) and her Irish racer boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor), as well as “goofy” friend Lucas (TJ Miller).  Aside from Wahlberg’s Cade, it’s very hard to build empathy for these characters. Somehow this movie manages to both make the plot about the relationship between these three be irritating while also occasionally forgetting about it.   Not all humans are annoying however, with one villain in the turncoat CIA leader Harold Attinger( a fearsome Kelsey Grammer) and an even more interesting and funny character in the wacky CEO of KSI Industries Joshua Joyce(Stanley Tucci who has some of the best lines).
            This is a movie of contradictions. There’s lame characters, but then  (I’ll hesitantly say) good ones such as Cade, in which Wahlberg gives a very zany performance. The Autobots are also very distinct this time which is a nice change of pace, classics Optimus Prime(Peter Cullen who manages to make the leader of the Transformers more interesting each time he portrays him) and Bumblebee are joined by newcomers such as the WW2-esque Hound (John Goodman),  cowboy bandit-like Crosshairs, and samurai Drift (Ken Watanabe).  Action scenes are now more tolerable because one can tell its combatants apart more easily.
            That is, when they’re fighting the CIA agents or minions of vile intergalactic bounty hunter Lockdown.  There’s a faction in the film of new “human made transformers”  made by KSI Industries that transform by an incredible looking new nanomachine style.  But they look so similar to the Autobots that fight scenes can become confusing.
            However, there are some really pretty shots and visual effects. A few of the action scenes, especially the segment onboard Lockdown’s mothership above Chicago ( does Michael Bay have something against this city?) are awesome.   However they are a detraction when the movie runs too long and involves all these random side characters and enemy factions.  It’s a big chaotic mess.  It’s almost as if director Michael Bay thought “how can I out-Michael Bay myself?” and added more senseless explosions to the point of parody.  The movie is also headache inducingly long, and it has some odd camera angles, and silly country music, and even ironically some bad visual effects randomly mixed in,  and the dinobots are in it for so few minutes compared to their marketing push, and the China set segment could’ve been another movie….and…and!
            It’s a very rough movie, the franchise has lost so much of its original glamour. However in a odd way it is so entertaining due to its cheesiness. If taken as a serious film, it fails aside from some minorly entertaing plot twists and action segements. But as a Marky-Mark Weirdness Experience, it’s kinda really good.  It definitely cannot be called boring. The ending makes me worried that the next one cannot even be that and induced a big laugh from myaudience, in a serious science fiction film  7.38 out of 10

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