Transformers: Age Of Extinction
July 3, 2014
Transformers: Age of Extinction (**) PG-13
I suppose it’s faint praise to say that Michael Bay’s fourth installment in the seemingly never-ending Transformers franchise is, at the very least, tolerable. Of course, TAOE isn’t going to be mistaken for great cinema anytime soon but the film is certainly aided by the fact that there is some semblance of a story attempting to be told here, courtesy of writer Ehren Kruger. This is more than can be said of the last two installments in this dreadful franchise. The loud and obnoxious action set pieces that have come to define so much of this series have been paired down and the film actually stops long enough, from time to time, to catch up with some of the human action transpiring. Granted, the characters are of the cardboard variety but it definitely makes the job of having to sit through a slog of a film such as this a much more bearable experience than I was expecting. Perhaps that last sentence isn’t a ringing endorsement, but you get the point.
Supposedly, this is the beginning of a new trilogy with the only connection to the previous films being the characters of the Transformers themselves. That’s great news to me as I’m pretty sure that most audiences will find, as I did, Mark Wahlberg’s character preferable to the lightweight that Shia Lebouf portrayed in the original trilogy of Transformer films.
Mark Wahlberg in the new Tranformers movie
Wahlberg lends an air of respectability to the film that’s quite refreshing. He has a much more commanding presence and his character, as written, at least has some parental struggles that filmgoers of a certain age can identify with even if it’s hard to buy into him as being a Texan.
As for the plot, it’s the same thin excuse on which to hang the CGI wizardry that the other films had and I’m sure you know what I mean. The film begins with some sort of nonsense that attempts to tie in the Transformers with the extinction of the dinosaurs. The action then jumps to a few millennia later when a comely scientist stumbles upon some fossilized substance known as ‘Tranformium.’ The plot hinges on this device as a crooked government agent (Kelsey Grammer) cooks up a plan to use the substance to build an army of robots.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Texas, mechanic, Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) and his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz), struggle to make ends meet. When Cade finds an abandoned truck and attempts to repair it he soon finds out it’s actually Optimus Prime. Optimus, after having been nursed back to health, find himself in Cade’s debt, which everyone knows will come in handy before the third act of the film arrives.
As usual in a Michael Bay film, there are numerous cinematic crimes taking place throughout the pic. The worst offense, however, would have to be the number of product placements, which certainly must be nearing the triple digits. By the time Wahlberg takes a swig of his Bud, you’ll be groaning for sure. In other words, it’s business as usual for Michael Bay.
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