Transformers: Age of Extinction

Director: Michael Bay
Running time: 165 minutes
Prequel: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Music composed by: Steve Jablonsky

I looked forward to seeing Age of Extinction, the 4th instalment of the Transformers franchise. I managed to catch it in 3D. I quite enjoyed the previous instalments so I had expectations for this latest offering in the series. Shia LaBeouf does not star this time around and instead the film has Mark Wahlberg as the leading cast member. Peter Cullen returns as the voice of Optimus Prime. The film boasts an interesting supporting cast with both Kelsey Grammar and Stanley Tucci playing key roles. You may remember Tucci as the psychopath George Harvey also alongside Mark Wahlberg in The Lovely Bones. He also plays Caeser Flickerman in The Hunger Games series. He has a rather large role in Age of Extinction. Kelsey Grammer the star of Frasier (the successful spin-off series from Cheers) has a smaller role but he does a great job and his scenes are some of the best in the film.

This is a sequel to Dark of the Moon (Transformers 3) and set after the invasion of Chicago, 5 years on, when the CIA is tasked with hunting down all Decepticons (evil Transformers) but is also secretly tracking down Autobots (good Transformers).The beginning of the film for me was the most interesting part as the plot was unfolding and there weren’t mindless action sequences being played out. The film is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and most of that time is taken up with action sequences  based heavily on the use of CGI.

A bounty hunter from outer space features in the film. The bounty hunter is not a Transformer and so there is some expansion to the story there but it isn’t developed in detail. The origin of the Transformers has been quite mysterious with a few insights here and there gathered from what they say. There are hints of a possible deeper origin in the film as the alien bounty hunter gives some of the game away later on. It wasn’t expanded upon in a way that was satisfying for me though.

Now it’s all very well me talking about how I would have liked Age of Extinction written but it did make $966,455,028 worldwide in its first month of release. So clearly it’s got something to it. It could be a younger audience that enjoys the near constant action is at work. In the theatre when I watched it there were only adults though… so perhaps not.

Thanks to this latest in the franchise we now have humans, autobots, decepticons, as well as the newly introduced human-made Transformers (they shape-change in a different way), an unexplored world that precedes the Transformers history (the Bounty Hunter comes from it), and Dinobots. Personally, I found the Dinobots plain silly.

All in all, it’s not that great according to most critics, including myself, but, $966,455,028 in just one month! It must be good on some level. If they make another one… I will watch it as well.

Reviewed by Alistair Martin

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