Movie Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction by Jason Burleson

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Many people this weekend are more than likely looking forward to the new Transformers: Age of Extinction film.  The fourth film of the franchise, which is once again directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg, is sure to fill many cinematic seats.  It’s hard to resist a franchise of rocket shooting, fighting robots, and the awesome vehicles they change into. Judging from the trailers, we are sure to see many new heroes, both in robotic and human form.  We can also expect to see the same fast-paced action sequences Bay has given us before.  The real question is can we expect to see a new and original story line, thought-invested characters, or even the same creativity and gripping feeling the first one had.  Hopefully, it can be what we want and this franchise doesn’t become another drawn out, overworked nostalgia-boosted donation into the Michael Bay explosions-for-hire fund.

After seeing this film, I can’t say that it’s any different than the last two.  Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the first of these Bay directed films.  Since then, they have slowly declined down a slippery slope into mediocrity.  Will people enjoy seeing these films? Yes, of course they will. Bay does an excellent job of putting people in the seats. His direction leads the films through fast-paced, action-packed stories that people can easily sit and eat popcorn to.  However, is this film any different front the other installments? I can’t say that it is.  The progression in films for this series sends my head going in circles.  From aliens, to heroes, to outcasts, to criminals, it appears to me that no one can really make up their minds on how to approach the Transforming race of warriors.  What role do they present and how will they influence human kind?  This film finds what were saviors, time and time again, now being hunted down by humans who hate them with the help of guess what? Another Transformer.  The writers really need to make up their minds on that one.

Through the joint efforts of Spielberg and Bay we can always expect beautiful and elaborately done action scenes and digital effects.  That one thing has been consistent through all of the Transformers films.  When are these films going to be more than that though? On countless moments while watching this film, I’d see robots fighting robots, then 20 minutes later, some more robots fighting robots, and then again, yup, some more flashy stuff. You get the idea.  Wahlberg has been interviewed multiple times saying that this film was going to have more plot than the others, but I can’t say that it’s really changed all that much.  Yes, the writers of film finally introduced some new and exciting characters many fans will remember well from Transformers history. There are almost so many and so little exploration or background given to these characters it’s almost a tease.  Fans will love seeing Optimus Prime return, as well as BumbleBee, Hound, Drift, Ratchet, Grimlock, and Strafe.  One very cool aspect to this movie is the new contribution of a group of Transformers known as the Dinobots which to me is the film’s only redeeming factor. Unfortunately, the writer’s managed to diminish them to the effects of ponies in the film.  Not what I wanted to see.

Audiences will also notice that this film has zero Shia Leboeuf in it.  In this new installment, a different story line was explored and portrayed by Mark Wahlberg. While Wahlberg is no stranger to action films, I couldn’t help but focus on his awkward acting skills not to mention the ridiculous sword gun he carries around for most of this film.  It reminded me of one of the giant foam Nerf guns we all had as a child and was completely unnecessary.  His acting has never been the best and both he and the rest of the cast were laughable at best.  Speaking of laughable, it’s also really hard to focus when the bad guys keep asking everyone for their seed and how bad they need it.

Good luck to everyone who checks Transformers: Age of Extinction out in the theater this weekend.  You’re also in for a long haul as it is nearly 3 hours long and continuously felt to me like it wouldn’t end.  If you do end up going, bring an extra pillow.  I just can’t give this film a rousing review.  I love the Transformers concept though and I hope they do better next time. Yup, we can all expect the fifth installment sometime in 2017. Hopefully, they rethink things a little first.

I give Transformers: Age of Extinction 2 “Splosions!!” out of 5.

by Jason Burleson

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