Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 45 min
In the past I’ve been able to get some enjoyment out of the Transformer movies because I understood they operated on the same narrative level as a really great fireworks show. Lots of spectacle, color, explosions and a great big extravagant finale. I didn’t care if any of it made much sense, just as long the visuals were big, bright and surprising. I wanted to see massive robots beating the heck out of each other, and that’s exactly what I got. These films did exactly what it says on the tin.
Age of Extinction to a degree does the same, and a lot of the usual Michael Bayisms are still there. Luscious rich photography, and a camera that never sits still as it provides lingering shots of Nicola Peltz’s posterior, and gratuitous slow motion shots of a strangely always out of breath Mark Wahlberg. Oh, and a lot of robot on robot mayhem!
Most of the elements were there, but this time around I think the efforts to up the ante have backfired, and this fourth installment has lost some of the crazy magic that made the series fun. That fun usually came from the human element in each story, but this time around it’s just not there and I started to miss the Witwicky family!
There have always been continuity errors and plot flaws in these movies, but in Age of Extinction they are more blatant, obvious and sloppy. Transformers involved in some battle situations are simply forgotten about, and if you are even half paying attention you’ll find yourself repeatedly wondering what happened to key characters during the action. The complete disregard for a coherent logical plot will likely be a distraction too, as you’re forced to constantly question character and story developments.
If you’ve enjoyed the other Transformers movies I think you’ll find this is worth your time. It’s bigger and dumber than the other installments in the franchise, but strangely not as much fun. If you’re looking for big dumb entertainment, and can let this film’s many plot and character problems slide, then you should be able to get some enjoyment out of Age of Extinction.
Massive robots need a massive screen, but a matinée will do as there are surprising few crowd pleasing moments to enjoy. At home a HD viewing is recommended on a nice big TV. Viewing this on a laptop, tablet or phone will reduce the films impact.
Despite the films many flaws, the visual effects are still impressive, and the battle scenes are entertaining.