Saturday, June 28, 2014

Movie Review: "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

Another Summer, another Transformers movie.  There seems to be a new one of these every other Summer, but there and again, there are few filmmakers alive who know how to make Summer movies quite like Michael Bay can.  I mean, look, Transformers: Age of Extinction wont win any Oscars for its story, acting, or direction, but you don't watch these movies for that.  You watch these Transformers movies to see childhood dreams realized on the bigscreen, and if that doesn't sound interesting to you, then you wont like this movie.  However, I did.

Age of Extinction is not necessarily a reboot of the franchise, but more of a new start.  It is a sequel to the previous three films, but it does not feature any of the same cast of characters, save for the Autobot heroes of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.  One of the smart things this film does in terms of story, is it uses the repercussions of everything that happened in the previous three films to dictate where the story goes.  After Chicago was nearly destroyed in the last film, the government has started hunting down all of the Transformers, good and bad, to get them off of our planet before their war destroys us.

This story is much darker than previous entries in the franchise, with less humor (which is a welcome change after the too jokey Revenge of the Fallen), but this film is always an entertaining thrill ride from start to finish.  Sure, the human characters are merely there for exposition and to create an emotional anchor for the audience, but Mark Wahlberg's movie star charisma keeps the human portions of the film rolling even if he isn't all that sellable as a struggling inventor.  The true reason you see these Transformers movies is to see big action on a large scale, and this film does not disappoint.

There are explosions, tons of robots fighting robots, and loads of car chases, to sate the appetite of anyone looking for a big, loud Summer movie.  This is what Michael Bay does best, and sure, it probably wont ever win him an Academy Award or critical recognition, but it can't take away the fact that he is one of the most talented action movie directors to ever live.

With every Michael Bay film, you can look at the screen and see every dollar that was spent on the movie.  While some movies, when you hear they were made for $200 million, you are left wondering where that money went, however that is not the case with Michael Bay movies.  With Michael Bay, you see that dollar sign reflected in the carnage onscreen and then some.  Say what you will about him as a director, but at the very least, he knows what he does well, and he sticks to it to continue entertaining audiences.  But getting back to the film at hand, the main question most people have about this film is whether or not it's better than the other Transformers movies?  Not really.

If you liked the previous three movies, then you will love Age of Extinction.  Okay, so the story often makes very little sense, but if you've already learned to go with the nonsensical in these films, it wont feel any different.  The best thing I can say, is that this is a good Summer blockbuster that I had fun with.  While I still think the best Transformers movie is the first one from 2007, I also feel that there is still untapped potential in this franchise.  I think these films try to often do too much in one movie, and in so doing, character and emotion are often lost.  However, at this point, any Transformers film on a smaller, more character-oriented scale, would probably be rejected by audiences, so you take what you can get, and what you get is still fun.

I give Transformers: Age of Extinction a B+!

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