A movie should be a perfect blend of creating a detailed universe and a captivating storyline in which characters are hindered or helped by the world they live in. It is through the choices of the main character(s) that audience members start to get a feel of their psyche. Unfortunately, Transformers: Age of Extinction puts too much emphasis on generating flashy robots that do not help the shallow characters.
Age of Extinction (AoE) is a science fiction action film directed by Micheal Bay. The fourth film of the Transformers series was released in 2014. The fifth one, The Last Knight, is set to come out this year. AoE takes place some years after the battle of Chicago in Dark of the Moon, the second movie. Because of the ensuing destruction, the United States government is furious that there are alien species on planet Earth wreaking havoc for a cause that humans have no meddling with. Harold Attinger (Kesely Grammer), a power monger working high up in government, orchestrates plans to eliminate all the remaining Autobots on planet Earth with the help of an interstellar bounty hunter named Lockdown.
Unlike the last two movies, there is a new protagonist named Cade Yeagar(Mark Wahlberg). He is an unsuccessful, broke inventor and widower who lives in the Texan country side with his 17 year old daughter, Tessa Yeagar (Nicola Peltz). He occasionally fixes electronics by stripping parts from broken appliances, but in his heart, he is an innovator looking for the next breakthrough in technology. One day, he stumbles across a truck in an abandoned theatre and while attempting to strip it in his laboratory-barn, discovers that is it Optimus Prime. Shortly after, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are at his door asking for the leader of the Autobots, which forces Cade, Tessa and Shane (Jack Reynor), Tessa’s boyfriend, to run away and be on the run from government that will stop at nothing to destroy Optimus Prime. There is also KSI, a technology company that has successfully created a material called Transforimium based off the Transformers. It is material that can take any shape, size or form users want it to be. However, to decode the genome, as it is named, the scientists had to use information from Megatron’s brain. Eventually, he takes over the body of Galvatron, a man-made Transformer and assembles an army to destroy Earth. The Autobots must now defeat two enemies simultaneously against all odds.
The plot is mediocre at its best. Its attempts to create tension are acceptable and the ending is cliché, as with the two last Transformer movies. When I had first watched the trailer I thought that the dinosaur bots had taken over a part of Earth. Autobots would then have to go hunting for them and make them extinct to save humans. In hindsight, I think my idea of Transformers and Jurassic park mashed up would have made for a more intriguing movie than this one. I had high hopes that were disappointed when Optimus Prime instead tames the Dinobots to defeat Megatron’s army. However, in the big picture, the dinosaurs seemed out of the blue; I think the writers were running out of cool things to transform and decided on a whim ancient creatures. In the next movie, there will be transforming trees, the next generation of Autobots versus the smog of Decepticons.
Moreover, character development is poor. The characters themselves are interesting but their psychological evolution is abrupt and out of place. If I was an inventor who is plunged into what is essentially war against the government, all while experiencing the din of a clash between 25 feet robots, I would be traumatized for the rest of my life. The CEO of KSI, Joshua (Stanely Tucci) has a change of heart suddenly and decides to not help the bad guys. In addition, Tessa is unfortunately portrayed as the stereotypical helpless women who is unable to escape danger when it matters most. It is frustrating to see that after two movies the writers did not come up with new ideas.
There is no doubt however about the quality of special of effects. Mass explosions, dense cities like Hong Kong destroyed, slow motion scenes during intense moments of action, the list can go on and on. Heck, it’s a Michael Bay movie; there are more explosions in this movie than we have fingers. The computer-generated images (CGI) of the Transformers are the most remarkable. The transformation sequences are so smooth and realistic to the point that I want to replay the sequence to watch every little part moving. It is captivating to see many parts work in unison and the way the parts form the body of Transformers. They appeal to many audience members because it is striking visual of a nonexistent technology, and for some the visualization of a childhood memory.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is not a movie I would highly recommend for its story-line. It makes feeble attempts at character development but their depth is overall undermined when they have a sudden change of heart near the end of the movie. The transforming robots are a strong point for this movie; nonetheless it is not enough for its faults.
Bottom line: two hours and twenty minutes of high-quality CGI and of stuff blowing up
Written By: Charlie Tang