Rental Corner: “Transformers 4” why bother
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” reached a new low with me. It improves some of the problems I had with “Dark of the Moon” and that is about as much as I can give it. Ever since its first sequel, the series has gotten repetitive, duller and longer. With the new entry, there was some hope to it. It was going in a different direction with a new cast and adding on the Dinobots. It also made me do the first I thought I would never expect to do with an entry like this. And that is to make me ask “so what?”
Mark Wahleberg plays Cade Yeager, a single father who is starting to form into the overprotective mode of fatherhood as her daughter (Nicola Peltz) is close to graduation and has a boyfriend. Its the standard father stuff we’ve seen before. Even Armageddon was more interesting with this cliche storyline because of the chemistry between Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. Also, the story arch in that Micheal Bay flick at least was building to something in the end. Here, its your typical father forbids bf to kiss gf motif.
Things shake up when Cade discovers a torn up truck and finds out its really Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen returning again as the voice) who reveals the government is trying to exterminate all walking and all talking robots off the face of the Earth. I will give some credit. At least they are trying to keep the continuity of the series but its done in the wrong way. Why kill the one thing that is at least protecting the planet? It gets worse. Apparently a huge corporation is taking the scrap metal from the dead Autobots and Decepticons and using them to rebuild new robots. A new form of energy is made that is robotic but molds into any kind of weapon or item like clay. Something about this feels weird and unsettling to me. The fact that a centenarian mechanism is being torn apart and reused like scrap metal feels somewhat disturbing when you consider they were trying to save the world.
Kelsey Grammer plays a paranoid CIA agent that is supposed to be the villain of the movie but nothing about him feels threatening. Kelsey is a great actor and he’s been in a lot of great movies but something about his character doesn’t feel menacing or threatening to me. He has a group of agents at his back that will do anything for him and that’s about it. It also doesn’t help he’s working with other transformers who plan to resurrect Megatron or some ridiculous plot. I just see it as an excuse to get Frank Welker back. If they keep killing him off, why even consider resurrecting him again? But this time, its NOT Megatron. Its actually a clone/rebuilt version that was meant to be a copy of Optimus but the materials they found only makes him into Galvatron who may sound and act like him Megatron but isn’t. Again, what’s the point?
The only thing new I can think of that is interesting is the new team of Autobots assembled here. Aside from the return of Bumblebee, actors like John Goodman, Ken Watanabe and John DiMaggio easily fit into their rough and tumble roles. I can almost picture them doing a Transformers revival cartoon on Saturday Morning. They are the only thing that is at least enjoybale with the exception of John DiMaggio doing a robot role for a second time in his career. And considering he dons a British accent, it only makes me think what it would be like if Bender of Futurama was Welsh. Ken isn’t too bad and of course John Goodman is great in any role you stick him in. He’s obvious to point out but at least he gives 110% when it comes to acting.
The rest of “Age of Extinction” doesn’t offer much new. Just the same invasion stuff with the usual tear up the city action scenes. Even the Dinobots feel tagged on even if they are part of a big battle in Hong Kong. They don’t feel like much of the center of the film as the advertising promised. The whole movie has some kind of subtext about how mechanical a corporation works and nothing original is crafted from it. But its more ironic considering its part of a franchise that is not offering much new aside from new characters and creatures for its toyline. And just because you add more running time, doesn’t make it an epic entry. By the end, a feeling of exhaustion and fatigue comes in that makes you wish it ended earlier. And sames goes for the gritty violence that I guess keeps getting more graphic and gratuitous. I guess seeing a man getting cut in half is considered R rated but a robot that gets sliced in half is MPAA approved because they are machines. I should point out these are anthropomorphic robots with human feelings and it feels weird seeing much slicing and shooting that looks so graphic that I think it should have been R rated to begin with. At least Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t get bloody like this movie.
Bottom line, I have a lot of problems with this entry but at least it wasn’t as bad as “Dark of the Moon” which in my opinion was the worst of the series for its hampered storyline, terrible editing, poor characters and it simply didn’t know when to conclude. At least with “Age of Extinction,” there were some characters I was ok with and I did appreciate a few things. I wasn’t offended by this one as much as the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie because there isn’t much to expect. Its typical new age Michael Bay we have seen before and that is what we come to accept. The new Turtles movie had me frustrated to the point I wanted to pull every hair fiber out of my head because of how much it went against the franchise I grew up with so much and certain story elements along with some character motives just didn’t make any sense. This new Transformers just made me shrug. It fixes “some” of the problems with the last entry but not a whole lot. If its going to keep going this route and not offer anything new to us, then why do you even keep seeing it? Perhaps its because the franchise just keeps playing it safe and doesn’t take any risks. That’s fine but a little change to keep it fresh and new doesn’t hurt. They could have done something with the Dinobots or even try to do things more in space. But instead its more of the same and honestly, I don’t’ see why I should care about it if this is the direction the series is going into.
Posted on October 9, 2014, in Rental Corner and tagged Autobots, Decepticons, Dinobots, John Goodman, Mark Wahlberg, Micheal Bay, Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, rental corner, Summer Blockbuster, Transformers, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Worst. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.