Reviews

Transformers: Age of Extinction

3

Unoriginality, roll out!

“I think history is about to change,” intones Sophia Myles’ geologist.

History may be in for a shake-up, not to mention the cast and settings for Michael Bay’s fourth Transformers outing.

But by the final hour of this 165-minute clockbuster you’ll be feeling an overwhelming sense of familiarity – as its director’s brand of “textbook machismo”, to quote Ehren Kruger’s script, batters your brain into submission.

“Remember Chicago” blares a billboard, reminding us of the Windy City’s destruction in the finale of Bay’s third outing Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Rest assured, there’s no need: the equally protracted conclusion to this latest episode feels like a carbon copy, albeit set in a vibrantly-shot Hong Kong, as the most expensive episode of Robot Wars ever made plays out in glorious IMAX 3D.

Still, Transformers: Age of Extinction does tread fresh ground, with Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky and his family airbrushed out the saga. Replacing him is Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a cash-strapped inventor struggling to raise his 17 year-old daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz); their tender relationship, defined by his over-protective demeanour, gives the film the heart lacking from the LaBeouf years.

Then there’s Kelsey Grammer’s government suit Harold Attinger, out to hunt down the Autobots – in hiding following the events in Chicago – with the help of a bounty-hunting Transformer Lockdown, out to capture their leader Optimus Prime. Also present, Stanley Tucci’s high-flying Bill Gates-alike Joshua Joyce, out to replicate the Transformers’ metal-morphing skills, with the help of Myles’ boffin. Hell, there’s even a subplot set 65m years ago. 

It transpires that Optimus Prime (commandingly voiced again by Peter Cullen) has been cooling his heels as a rusty old truck – discovered by Cade, who intends to strip it for parts. But no sooner has Prime revealed himself, then the CIA are on the case and Cade and Tessa are on the run, aided by her until-now secret Irish boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor), who conveniently happens to be a top-notch race car driver.

As Prime hooks up with the other remaining Autobots, it’s an eminently watchable first act. But as this group of robotic outlaws and their human allies discover that Joyce’s conglomerate KSI has been building man-made Transformers (leading to one fantastic scrap between Prime and prototype droids Galvatron and Stinger), Bay reverts disappointingly to type, with the soft-rock slo-mo montages and excessive product placement notably grating.

Also weighed down by an indulgent running time and tedious/meaningless scenes of endless carnage, thankfully the human element stays strong, with Wahlberg and the excellent Tucci, in particular, keeping you watching. A pity John Goodman (voicing cigar-chomping Autobot Hound) lazily recycles his Monuments Men character.

But then originality has never been high on Bay’s list of requirements.

Verdict:

After a promising start, thanks to Wahlberg and his funky bunch, Age Of Extinction transforms into a typically bombastic Bay offering. If it’s major-league spectacle you want, though, look no further.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • apo1978

      Jul 1st 2014, 14:55

      Wow, this is the best review I've seen of this. Don't care if its naff - Optimus Prime was my hero as a kid so its my duty to watch this.

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    • Ali1748

      Jul 1st 2014, 17:32

      16% on Rotten Tomatoes LMAO.

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    • moviemind91

      Jul 2nd 2014, 7:05

      I usually try to avoid films that have a rating lower than 20 % on Rotten Tomatoes but I think this will be an exception. It seems to have better human characters and that shot of of Optimus Prime on top of a Dinobot looks pretty awesome!

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    • endofdays2

      Jul 2nd 2014, 9:42

      The Dinobots that are allegedly not in it for very long...

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    • Seedorf

      Jul 3rd 2014, 10:02

      Just wow, Michael Bay. After three previous attempts at making a Transformers film, I would have thought come the 4th, you might actually be able to make a half decent film. Turns out, you're going in the opposite direction; and to think there are going to be another two of these. At this rate, Michael Bay, come the end of your Transformers franchise, you're going to make George Lucas look like a quality director.

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    • QuietLife

      Jul 3rd 2014, 13:37

      And Uwe Boll...

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    • jaykays hat

      Jul 3rd 2014, 14:00

      I will go and see this but if Michael Bay mugs me off again like he has with the last two then that's it. I will never watch another Bay film again...........unless it's Transformers 1 & Bad Boys 2, Armageddon & the Rock.......oh and the new Turtles film.

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    • matthewbrady

      Jul 5th 2014, 13:07

      1

      This movie has terrible looking visual effect's and the characters are forgettable as always. The only good thing in this movie is Optimus prime and Mark Wahlberg, but anything else is c**p.

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    • joegilmartin

      Jul 8th 2014, 1:25

      1

      I think the most shocking thing about this film is that I'm somehow surprised how bad it is. I loved transformers as a kid and would still argue that the movie is one of the best anime movies out there! To be honest I should be surprised as Michael Bay has made a good movie for decades. Pain and Gain came close to being a good movie but it still lacked any depth in character or decent storytelling. Instead Bay seems to just take over the top unrealistic characters and stick them in over the top unrealistic situations and expect us to somehow believe them. Bay has manage to create this great career from 3 good movie and has copied and pasted since (The Rock, Bad Boys and Armageddon). This however is his coup d'état, possible his least watchable film ever. The film is long winded and drags for 2 1/2 hours. The story is just dull and lifeless and even the Dinobots can't rescue it's, especially as in this blotted film they have NO dialogue! I think like George Lucas, Bat needs to stick to producing and leave direct to those who actually have a story rather than want to just blow s**t up! And rant over.....

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    • jaykays hat

      Jul 14th 2014, 6:36

      I went in expecting massive explosions, massive robots and not much else, I wasn't disappointed. Much better than the last two films and I'm glad it didn't have the Witwicky family and it could have been 20-30 minutes shorter. I don't agree with matthewbrady, I thought the visuals were superb. I saw the 2D version so I can't comment on the 3D effects. Overall it does exactly what it says on the tin.

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    • Jareth64

      Jul 14th 2014, 11:33

      1

      A heaving pile of s**t of a film. Boring, tedious, and laughable.

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    • apo1978

      Jul 18th 2014, 12:39

      4

      First off, with my critic hat on, this is another mindless blockbuster that pretends to be a fresh start for the franchise. It starts off pretty well actually but, after an hour in, starts to lose its way amongst all the archetypal Michael Bay bombast-cocktail of explosions, shouting, cheesy dialogue and pacing/editing issues. The new cast, headed by Mark Wahlberg are likeable – for the most part - and much of the puerile humour has thankfully gone. The special effects are amazing as always (apart from the nano-cubes, which look extremely poor…very odd!) and the action scenes are done well and easier to follow than the previous instalments. That said, if you didn’t like the previous films then you won’t like this. It just scrapes a 3 star or 6/10 rating. Right, now shut up me! ROBOTS woooooo! BANG BANG, frickin’ awesome! Did you see that?!??! His head got proper punched in then! DINOBOTS??? HELL YEAH!!! Yes, a Lambo Aventador! Zoooom!!! Oooh a BUGATTI VEYRON, get in!!!! Bit of talking…getting bored now….Zzzz…..BOOOOOM!!! Yes we’re back to robots being nasty to each other!!! WOW THE 993rd EXPLOSION WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE 992nd!!! Just falls short of full marks and gets a 9/10 rating. To summarise, it’s not a great film…but I had great fun watching!

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