“I’m a slave to no one,” said Optimus Prime.
The actual fire-bender, Michael Bay, returns to Transformers franchise he said he wanted to leave after the third installment, Dark of the Moon (DOTM). Bay ever promised that if there would be a sequel to this franchise, it would be a reboot; yet, Age of Extinction (AOE), the fourth installment of Transformers turns up becoming a sequel to DOTM. AOE brings back everything Bay had in the previous installments, including the explosions, the stand-erect American pride everywhere, the slo-mo slug or the solar flares, but the Witwickys; ’cause all the casts are new to Transformers.
AOE takes place four years following the event in DOTM. The great ‘alien’ battle in Chicago has brought enormous casualties to humankind—trigerring traumatic blows and great phobias of alien, in this case, Transformers. All existing Transformers are hunted down by the government led by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) in a black-ops operation; ironically, his operations only aim for Autobots and more ironically, it is backed by a Transformers bounty hunter, Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan). Furthermore, Attinger works with a scientist, Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), to duplicate Transformers using a material trademarked as Transformium—creating a reincarnation of Megatron that looks like Optimus Prime, called Galvatron (voiced by Mike Welker).
Now, forget the Witwickys from the animation series. AOE follows the Yeagers, original family created only for AOE. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is a single father living with his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz). When he buys an old truck, he finally realizes that he finds Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen). As soon as the government knows their being, death squads start to hunt them; along with Tessa’s troubled boyfriend, Shane (Jack Reynor) and Cade’s employee, Lucas (T.J. Miller), the Yeagers and Optimus try to escape. As it starts very slowly at the beginning (as it gives impression as if it has complicated plots) and after the chaos-switch is turned on, it’s Michael Bay’s over-the-top showoffs.
All the luxurious cars turning into Transformers are completely luxurious. To compensate the previous installments’ misconceiving to display too many bots that confuses audiences, AOE displays brief numbers of Transformers—only 5 Autobots, including Optimus and Bumblebee, plus Crosshair (John DiMaggio), Drift (Ken Watanabe), and Hound (John Goodman). The best thing is, there’s Transformers that, for the first time, appears in large screen—The Dinobots, giant Transformers that can transform into iron dinosaurs. Even with all of that, AOE cannot accommodate the ‘extinction’ they boast around; even with the four-way war between Autobots, Galvatron’s armies, Lockdown, and humankind, AOE can only deliver standard over-the-top actions with nothing to ponder eventually.
However, I believe it’s an improvement to the franchise that the human characters develop more seriously. The Yeagers develop better than the Witwickys; in addition, they make better subplot to the story. Although, Wahlberg is not at his top performance, he gives better performance than LaBeouf, as he makes better chemistry to his on-screen daughter, Nicola Peltz, and Jack Reynor. Wahlberg’s involvement in the final showdown against Lockdown is okay—resulting in a guilty pleasure.
Michael Bay’s Transformers, in one way or another, makes a CRITICISM-PROOF FILM—whatever critics say, box office is inevitable, and that’s enough for this franchise to survive. Clocking in at around 160 mins, AOE is simply not a simple film, like just a plain film. I don’t see complicated plot or strong backgrounds to the event happens in the film, but I recognize that all the standard actions are okay. Therefore, I can say that AOE is a summer film that gives you most guilty pleasure in 2014—as you know that there’s something wrong with the film, but you keep watching it (’cause sometimes, it pleases you). Another sequel? It’s more than possible.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Action, Sci-Fi Directed by: Michael Bay Written by: Ehren Kruger Starred by: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Jack Reynor, Kelsey Grammer, T.J. Miller, Peter Cullen, Ken Watanabe, John Goodman, Titus Welliver, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing Running Time: 165 mins