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June 30, 2014
Transformers Age of Extinction Review: Fourth Time the Charm
— Posted by Jim Alexander
Synopsis: An automobile mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down the Autobots – and a paranoid government official – on them.
We have come a long way since Shia LaBeouf introduced us to the world of Transformers. The fourth Transformers movie Transformers: Age of Extinction takes us to a different level. Gone are the days of silly, cheap, semi-comedic lines, goofy and childish Transformers (see: Transformers Revenge of the Fallen). The only thing that remained constant from the first movie is that Michael Bay is still directing the franchise. Replacing Shia with Mark Wahlberg is a monumental victory for the franchise. After Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon didn’t score rave reviews, it was noticeable that the franchise needed to be retooled. Shia and Megan Fox had worn out their welcome on and off-screen. It must have been a hell of a coup to get one of Hollywood’s biggest starts to take over the Transformers franchise. See, Micheal Bay is capable of doing something good after all.
Casting is a huge part why this movie is a success. Simply, Walhberg who plays Cade Yeager is just badass, especially compared to the goofy teenage Sam Witwicky. Age of Extinction is noticeably an edgier film than the previous ones. Not since the original Transformers movie has there been any catering done to the movie storyline. This film does a terrific job of toning down the action brawls early on in the movie, instead focusing on the story of Cade and his family. Speaking of family,aside from being a struggling inventor, the most important thing to Cade is his teenage daughter Tessa who is played by newcomer Nicola Peltz. No denying that Peltz is the eye candy in the movie. A blonde, younger Megan Fox. With legs going up all the way to the dark side of the moon. Ok, I’ll stop before this gets out of hand.
The saying, less is more can certainly can be applied to this film. In the past movies, it was evident that they tried too hard to please Hasbro. As mentioned above, the cartoony characters are done away with. The movie only showcases five Autobots, with the popular Bumblebee and Optimus Prime among them. They had also gone away from a fourth encounter between the Autobots and Decepticons. Been there, done that. Human made Transformers were a much better option to be the main antagonists for the fourth installment. One of the most pleasing introductions for the die-hards of the franchise was the inclusion of Dinobots! One of the more popular Transformers, the dinosaur version adds a new dimension to the film. They looked cool, served a story purpose, and add a new storyline option going forward.
I always wondered why Micheal Bay clocked the Transformer films around 160 minutes? While, Age of Extinction nears the 3 hours mark, it doesn’t feel drawn out and unnecessary as the previous three did. The score and sounds of this film were fitting. As great of a partnership Linkin Park had with the previous films, being the official soundtrack for Transformers, a change was needed. Enter Imagine Dragons or Linkin Park 2.0. They are the new hot alternative rock group, and seems perfect to incorporate their music with the new film. Pay attention to the music during the movie, it ties in perfectly with the scenes. If you thought there is no way you can outdo the sounds that is Transformers, Age of Extinction manages to exceed the norm. I felt the theater and my seats literally shaking much less vibrating during some key scenes of the film (Dinobots scenes). If my seats rattling by the sheer sound projection isn’t impressive, I don’t know what would be?
Staying true to form, we are taken on a wild journey around the globe in Age of Extinction. The film starts out in rural Texas where we are introduced to Cade Yeager. Next, the meat of the story takes place in Chicago. What I appreciated is that they linked the story and the after affects of the battle of Chicago that occurred in Dark of the Moon. It was a smart move to distancing from the Sam Witwicky character, but keep the credibility by not avoiding the events of the previous film. Hong Kong and Beijing is where the conclusion occurs. The visuals that the movie provides jumping from continents, showcasing exotic locations is visually appealing and staying true to *Bayism (See below for term definition).
Overall, this is easily the best Transformers movie to date. Michael Bay had reignited hope back into the franchise. It’s a better film than it’s predecessors all across the board. Seems like Bay learned a valuable lesson, less is more. Less action, less blowups, less potty humor, less Transformers. The only addition, more acting. As in much better quality performances. Mark Wahlberg makes a world of difference adding star power and legitimacy. Stanley Tucci, plays a central character in the film. Kelsey Grammar does a solid impression as a bad guy, didn’t know Frasier had this in him? Jack Reynor has all the tools to be a big breakout young star. Nicola Peltz is mini Megan with actual potential. Terrific eye candy with promising talent. If you had been down on the last couple Transformer films and lost hope, I understand and am with you. Don’t let the previous disappointments alter your decision from seeing this one. Movie flies by like a breeze. A pleasing 4th installment that’s superior to the original. One of the better and surprising summer blockbuster hits.
*Bayism- The over the top inclusion of explosives, action, trolling the globe, and semi-naked young babes with no emphasis of storytelling.
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When it boils down to it, Jim's passion is entertainment. Aside from being an avid sports fan, that follows all things NFL, NBA, and Soccer. He currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago. At the core of his interests...movies! Whether trying to catch the newest flick coming out this weekend, or the latest On Demand release, to heated debates with his friends and colleagues about the most recent "Box Office Blunder". The passion for movies lies deep within him. When he isn't writing, he immerses himself in his other interests; Acting and Radio Broadcasting. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimRko.
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