Monday, July 7, 2014
Transformers: Age of Extinction
To describe my relationship with Transformers as a guilty pleasure would be quite an understatement. The film critic side of my brain knows that there is very little about the film series that could be considered even remotely noteworthy or mentionable, but the other side of my brain, which really loves watching cars turn into robots, really enjoys many things about these brainless films. For example, I love the humor that Shia LaBeouf, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White brought to the first three films. Also, I like to watch cars TURN INTO ROBOTS!!! In fact, I even loved Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon, which were both hated by a majority of critics. So... Let's get to Age of Extinction... With Shia LaBeouf and crew removed from the storyline, I was quite leery of how the human side of things would pan out in this fourth franchise installment. However, regardless of the success of the newly installed Mark Wahlberg (who I am not a huge fan of), I clung to the fact that cars would be turning into robots. I mean, how can you screw that up???
While I didn't expect Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager to live up to LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky, I had hoped that I wouldn't hate him quite so much. Unfortunately, the lack of humor really sucked a lot of the life out of a film bordering 3 hours in length. As expected, when the film focused on the autobots, I was quite entertained, but I just didn't care about Yeager's financial struggles or his unexplained desire to shelter his daughter. The only human-based storyline that I did enjoy was that of Stanley Tucci's Joshua Joyce, although this film was quite unworthy of Tucci's excellence. However, Joyce's fascination with the technology of the transformers did feel appropriate and actually brought up a few questionable social issues that the real world will soon be facing, when it comes to techonological advances. Overall, the awesomeness of Optimus Prime kept me entertained, but, unlike the past three films, there were many moments where I wondered how much longer the film was going to be dragged out. If only the film had been solely about the government, technology companies, and alien robots (yeah, just three big things), it probably would have been a lot better (and at least an hour shorter).
As I've now said 50 times, the humans were disappointing, and the robots were awesome! While Tucci's storyline actually fit into the film quite well, it still wasn't perfect, and there is no doubt that everything would have been better without Marky Mark and his family coming along for the ride. In fact there were multiple occasions where they were unnecessarily brought into scenes where robots were fighting or plotting, which ended up being really awkward. Additionally, the only truly comedic human in the entire film was T.J. Miller's Lucas. While Miller always cracks me up, his absence from the majority of the film was quite a disappointment to me.
As my movie-watching habits and expectations have matured over the past few years, it's not hard to believe that my desire for Transformers-esque films has greatly decreased. At the same time, I have become much more appreciative of action flicks that can get it right, such as The Avengers, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Star Trek. Unfortunately, the Transformers franchise has not quite been able to keep up with my heightened expectations, and, as long as Mark Wahlberg is involved, I don't think that will change. Even so, I still love all things Transformers, and the film was not a complete bust. The cars still turned into robots, so... AWESOME! I'm hopeful that the franchise will improve with the inevitable fifth film, but, either way, I still have three awesome movies that I can watch over and over! I give Transformers: Age of Extinction 2.54 out of 5 stars.