Thursday, June 26, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Opens June 27th, 2014
2 hr 45 mins
Rated PG-13



Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager
Stanley Tucci as Joshua Joyce
Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager
Jack Reynor as Shane Dyson
Kelsey Grammer as Harold Attinger
Li Bingbing as Su Yueming
Sophia Myles as Darcy Tyril
Titus Welliver as James Savoy
T. J. Miller as Lucas Flannery
Melanie Specht as the "Grande Dame"
Victoria Summer as Joshua's executive assistant

Peter Cullen voices Optimus Prime
John Goodman voices Hound
John DiMaggio voices Crosshairs
Ken Watanabe voices Drift
Robert Foxworth voices Ratchet
Reno Wilson voices Brains
Mark Ryan voices Lockdown
Frank Welker voices Galvatron

Review by Stephen M.

This is undoubtedly the best Transformers movie thus far and that's only because the bar was set so low by the prior movies.  Age of Extinction, a very cool title that did not have much to do with the movie, should have been called Transformers: One Big Infomercial.  I haven't seen so many obvious product placements since Men in Black 3.  From Victoria Secrets to Bud Light, they were in no way discreet in trying to hock you products and brands lengthening the movie more than was necessary.

The movie starts off with a scene of how the Dinosaurs really became extinct on Earth.  From there, we fast forward to the present after the Chicago war from the third movie Dark of the Moon.  Transformers are being hunted down by the Government for the safety of the public.  But of course, you can never trust the Government or at least CIA dark ops head Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer).

For the most part, we get to see Mark Wahlburg as an action hero, Cade Yeager, in the film.  He plays an inventor who discovers Optimus Prime in a debilitated state from the Chicago war when he goes picking for electronic items to fix, invent with and resell.  It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it takes away from other parts of the film that could have been better developed.  For example the Dinobots or delving deeper into what the antagonist Lockdown (Mark Ryan) refers to as the creators of the Transformers.  Mark's acting at times are somewhat questionable in the film especially the scene where Optimus, along with his daughter, gets sucked up into the air.  Nicole Peltz as Cade's daughter Tessa continues the useless but pretty female roles that Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley had previously occupied. Li BingBing, last seen in Resident Evil: Retribution, plays the sorely lacking strong female character in the Transformers franchise.  But as with all the others, of course I wish the focus was more on the robots then the humans running around waiting to be squished.

With regards to the Transformers themselves, we do get a bunch of new ones in the Dinobots, and even Galvatron.  However, most of the other designs are generic or playing up to certain sterotypes that you would not expect from sentient robots.  They copy the vehicular form, correct?  Why does Hound look like an overweight gun ho and Drift a samurai in robot form?  Why does Crosshairs have what looks to be a trench coat as part of his design in robot form? I can't help but be slightly offended by Michael Bay's latest blockbuster from this and everything I mentioned above.

Overall, I would suggest watching as a matinee if you must see it and of course you would want to.  But otherwise wait for it to come out on Netflix.  The action between the Transformers is good especially the part where Optimus is gaining the respect of Grimlock which follows the comic/cartoon well.  Stanley Tucci and Li BingBing is wonderful.  Everything else as my friend would say is doo doo bird.


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