Many would nod in agreement that there are two category’s of Transformers fans. The one that enjoy’s Micheal Bays Transformers and the latter, those that simply flat-out hate them. Where do I stand? I love Micheal Bay and his live action “Bayformers”. Just thought I should put that out there before I go any further with my DVD/Blu-Ray review of Transformers Age Of Extinction. I appreciate fun popcorn, turn your brain off, and sit back enjoy summer movies.
That said, at 165 minute running time, watching this in the theatre was a true test of endurance for me. Which is why I am happy to report that the 4th installment in the Transformers live action saga is a breath of fresh air in its home video release thanks in large part to those little buttons on your remote that read “pause” and “skip chapter”.
It has been 5 long years since the battle of Chicago and the last time we saw Optimus Prime and his Autobots. Much has changed. The entire human cast from the original trilogy have completely moved on with their lives and their affiliation with Optimus Prime. In fact, Optimus Prime and the Autobots have no affiliation with anyone since they have been forced into hiding from the very same humans they fought and died to protect in the original trilogy. During an early scene, Micheal Bay gives us a pretty graphic scene where a popular and loved Autobot gets brutally hunted and killed by a CIA unit headed by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) who is intent of ridding the planet of all transformers.
Meanwhile in Texas, a down on his luck single father , Cade Yeager ( Mark Wahlberg), and his best friend/business partner, Lucas Flannery (T.J. Miller), head out to pick some tech garbage in hopes of finding parts to turn a profit for their struggling inventor enterprise. When Cade comes across an old broke down big rig, he just has to have it. Once the rig is towed back to his farm, after some inspection discovers that it is actually a transformer. Both Lucas and Cades daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz), anxiously try to convince Cade to turn in the hibernate transformer into the Government for the reward money.
As a result, we have the bad guys show up at the farm threatening to kill Tessa if they don’t reveal the hidden transformers location. At which point our hero, Optimus Prime, comes out from hiding while firmly holding his ion blaster and from here on out to the final credits, is a non stop action roller coaster.
The remaining plot throws a lot at the viewer. We have (from the film’s opening introduction) 65 million year old Dinosaurs who are turned into metallic metal from “seeds” dropped from alien spaceships. A mysterious and pretty bad ass intergalactic bounty hunter known as Lockdown, who is hell-bent on capturing Optimus Prime. A billionaire CEO Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci ) whose company, KSI , has discovered the code to create transformers of his own, and his prototype Galvatron. Sounds like a lot, but Micheal Bay did a fairly solid job of tying it all together.
The humans cast was a bit hell yes and hell no for me. Mark Walhberg was in true form as a hollywood star. He carried the film for the most part with his humor. T.J. Miller was on point with his portrayal as the comedy side kick. Kelsey Grammar plays a great villain…all cut throat business. Tessa Yeager and her boyfriend, race car driver Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor, I could have cared less about. Not that they were horrible, I simply didn’t feel any connection to the characters. Unlike in the 2007 Transformers original, where I was actually rooting for Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky and Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes to hook up and be a couple. I felt the connection between them when their lives were forever changed when Bumblebee revealed himself in a Decepticon battle royale. Tessa was nice eye candy, but that is about all.
One of the films real gems was John Goodman’s take on beloved G1 Autobot Hound. Every one liner was entertaining if you’re a fan of Goodman. You could tell he had a lot of fun with the character. The G1 cartoon series season three nods were also nice for G1 fans. Specifically, the hinted Quintessons. Many have complained that Peter Cullen’s Optimus Prime was just too brutal in this 4th installment. I would agree, and I also add I loved it. Was nice for a fresh perspective on our hero when he has simply had enough. After all, I would not only want but expect the Autobot leader to “kill them all” if a Autobot comrade was brutally hunted and killed. Also, let’s hear it for G1 voice actor Frank Welker joining the cast as Galvatron! He was passed over for the role of Megatron in the original trilogy and I for one am happy to have him back as he trades battle dialogue with Optimus.
The special effects look gorgeous on your HDMI TV and Blu-ray player. This is possibly one of the best Blu-rays I have seen in a while. The CGI is in a league of its own. Be prepared to push the pause button though, the film is ridiculously long. Makes Peter Jackson’s Return Of The King feel like a 30 minute weekly sitcom. One thing I can say about Age Of Extinction, the action sequences are amazing and highly entertaining. Especially the end where we get the greatest “Autobots…ROLL OUT” speech in transformers history as Prime charges down the green hill country in China on the back of Grimlock. One minor disappointment would be the Dinobots themselves. They were no shows until the films final climatic act and just kind of showed up. Once they were on-screen chewing Decepticon to pieces, all was forgiven.
Special features are actually pretty nice. They are all on an entire Blu-ray disc. Highlights include Evolution With Extinction, which goes into depth the character designs for the new Autobots including the very cool samurai warrior, Drift (Ken Watanabe, and a really cool documentary on the set that really shows what ground breaking lengths Micheal Bay will go through to deliver the perfect shot that truly emerges his audience in the film. All in all, Transformers: Age Of Extinction is a great start to a new trilogy. It may not be my number one favorite installment, but it certainly isn’t my least favorite.
I give Transformers: Age Of Extintion a very entertaining 3 out of 4 Throwing Stars.