One of the most successful blockbuster franchises is back for yet another entry. Welcome to a new dawn as Transformers: Age of Extinction rampages onto your local cinema. And after sitting through this loud flick I walked out of the theater feeling pretty flat about the whole affair.
First off I want fans to know that there are some good things accomplished in what could arguably be considered the most mature, but lacking, installment for this particular iteration of the Autobot vs. Decepticon odyssey. The lame jokes are turned in for a fresh start, more or less, that brings in Dinobots, Galvatron and hints at something much bigger down the road. And it’s through a somewhat competent creative team that we get what feels like a slight turn in the right direction even if the final product is largely soulless.
Michael Bay is back at the helm and there’s something I want to get off my chest: this movie series has its faults but I’ve largely found each one to be enjoyable. Despite what others say that’s in large part due to this unappreciated action virtuoso. He knows what he’s doing but the main thing people need to learn is that his directing style will always be the same. So by number four we know exactly what we’re getting: slow motion panning and an insane amount of explosions.
I didn’t know what to expect from the new cast but Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager was easily the standout. He nailed the part of a caring father thrown into an impossible succession of events while Kelsey Grammer (Harold Attinger) turned into a rather compelling foil. But the rest of them, from the robots to the humans, fell short. Nicola Peltz (Tessa Yeager) and Jack Reynor (Shane Dyson) highlight that fact as they became a ready reminder of the tired young love formula that’d been overplayed. In previous outings there were secondary characters that left a mark but minus Stanley Tucci (Joshua Joyce) there just was no one on the level of say Josh Duhamel (Major Lennox), Tyrese Gibson (Segeant Epps) or John Turturro (Agent Simmons).
The musical score is definitely not an area where this flick is found lacking as Steve Jablonsky returns once again and attempts to give life to this machine. And there are moments where the spark of a well-time crescendo almost succeeds but these were few and far between. For the duration we’re given a noteworthy backbone that goes a long way in reminding us of the might on display. But there were no specific pieces that felt all that memorable.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is an addition to a property that might have overstayed its welcome. Even with a few solid action sequences and some interesting elements therein this vehicle just feels rundown. And don’t get me started on Galvatron’s new origin! So sadly unlike Cade Yeager when I look at this pile of junk I want to see the possibilities but I don’t. Not recommended.