Transformers: Age of Extinction is the best movie out of the Transformers series. However, being the best in that series is a lot like winning the gold medal at the special olympics. That being said, there were still a few things I enjoyed while watching the movie. Spoilers to follow, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of stuff skip all the way down to the summary. You have been warned.
Let’s go ahead and power through all the bad parts of the movie. First and foremost, the director. Michael Bay is possibly one of the worst directors in Hollywood today. It’s like he makes all of his movies for your typical affliction wearing, crotch rocket riding, tanning bed frequenting douchebags, and it show in every aspect of his filmmaking. From his objectification of women, to his gratuitous shots of cool cars. His filmmaking shows a complete lack of maturity, and as a result his career has gotten progressively worse since his promising start with films like Bad Boys and The Rock.
Age of Extinction has one of the worst scripts I’ve seen in the past five years. From terrible lines such as “My Face is my warrant.”, to random tangents where Nicola Peltz’s secret boyfriend explains to Mark Whalberg why it is legal for him to have sex with his daughter. The script is a mess filled with unnecessary lines, tons of racism and sexism, and a story that is all over the place. The worst part of the script by far however is the dialogue. Almost everything that is said, especially by the film’s villains tries way too hard to sound badass, and as a result is some of the most cringe worthy dialogue in a movie this year. It wouldn’t be a Michael Bay movie without plot holes, and boy are there plenty. For example the truck, that later Marky Mark figures out is actually the leader of the Autobots, is inexplicably parked in an old run down movie theater. Really? Inside a building? You couldn’t have just settled for a junkyard, Michael Bay? Maybe you could have, but then you would have had to retcon the most ironic joke of all about how cinema is dead, filled with nothing but remakes and sequels. Yes, that was an actual joke in the movie. A Transformers movie, of all movies, commenting on the death of cinema. The product placement is so clearly evident, and it wouldn’t be as bad if the products weren’t something that you would expect Michael Bay to endorse. Beats by Dre, Victorias Secret, and Bud Light all make an obvious appearance, proving that Bay doesn’t understand the concept of subtlety. Overall the script feels like it was written by an obnoxious, abnormally inappropriate ten-year old boy, whose parents don’t really care about what he is exposed to.
This time around we forego the story of Sam Witwiki and move on to explore a new cast of characters who team up with Optimus Prime and the gang. Mark Whalberg plays Cade Yeager, a down on his luck inventor who buys up old junk in hopes of flipping it for cash. He is on the verge of losing his house, yet he still buys an old truck, which turns out to be the most important transformer of all. His daughter, Tessa Yeager, played by the ever so attractive Nicola Peltz, is about to graduate high school and is worried about how she is going to pay for college while also having to take care of her father. Lucas, Cade’s business partner is there for some okay comic relief at the beginning of the movie, but is quickly killed off when the government shows up at the Yeager household to apprehend Optimus Prime. Then out of nowhere Tessa’s boyfriend, whose name I forgot because of how little the movie actually tried to get you to care about him, shows up out of nowhere to heroically drive them away. The plot then gets muddy, introducing Kelsey Grammer as head of the CIA division in charge of rounding up Transformers. Turns out they are actually working with Lockdown, a bounty hunter, apparently from Cybertron? I don’t know, it’s never really explained. With confusing motivations that have something to do with the creators. The CIA is also working with Joshua Joyce, played by Stanley Tucci, supplying his company Kinetic Solutions Incorporated with dead transformers so that they can salvage their bodies and create a fully mechanical transformer army for the United States. Unfortunately, Megatron is still alive and well in the rebuilt form of Galvatron, and his goal is to get something called the seed, which we learn is what actually caused the extinction of the dinosaurs millions of years ago, so he can exact his revenge on Earth and Optimus Prime. Although he isn’t the main villain of the movie, he leaves the picture alive and with a thirst for vengeance against Prime, promising to meet again. So yeah, this movie is slightly too long, with way too many plot points.
The cast for this go round is exceptionally better than the Shia Labeoufs and Meagan Foxs of Transformers past. Nicola Peltz is so much easier on the eyes than Megan Fox, and Mark Whalberg is much more likeable than LaBeouf. Unfortunately, the actors aren’t really given a chance to shine given the horrible nature of the script. But they make the most of what they are given to work with. Tucci, even though his character was stupid, gives the movie’s best performance.
The special effects in this movie are spectacular. Bay has pushed the guys over at ILM to their limits, and once again they’ve created believable giant robots that can transform into cars and dinosaurs. If there is one thing I love about these movies, it’s the effects and the amount of time and care that goes into bringing the transformers to life. One of the most notable effects are the new, man-made transformers. The way they break down and reassemble is amazing and looks really cool on the big screen. Honestly, these movies would benefit greatly if the human element was removed altogether.
There are tons of explosions. What do you expect? It’s a Michael Bay movie. But the action sequences, along with the HUGE set pieces are great. The scale of AoE compared to the others is gigantic. The movie is filled to the brim with action packed moments, leaving your adrenaline pumping the whole time. Especially one sequence where an Autobot jumps out of a flying vehicle in slow-motion, deploys some parachutes, and causes all sorts of mayhem. Really, all of the praise for this movie should go solely to the special effects department.
Here’s the thing, you can’t go into a Transformers movie expecting some sort of deep, intellectual, plot heavy movie that will leave you questioning your own existence. If you go into the movie with expectations like that you will be more than disappointed. Transformers: Age Of Extinction is a movie to go into, turn of your brain for a little while, and get excited about all the explosions and giant robot fights.