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Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Director: Michael Bay | 165 minutes | , , fiction | Actors: Mark Wahlberg, , , Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver, Sophia Myles, , , , , , Erika Fong, Mike Collins, , Zou Shiming, , Patrick Bristow, , Calvin Wimmer

Transformers: Age of Extinction is actually quite okay. So, the word is out. You wouldn’t say it if you go by the average review, but to be honest with you, the movie is just great entertainment. The is less streamlined than the first – and so far best – part of the series, but in terms of entertainment and eye candy it is certainly not inferior to this.

The first ‘Transformers’ was amusing nonsense, with a nice interplay between the wimpy teenager Sam Witwicky and his tough Transformer car Bumblebee (a Chevrolet Camaro). The yellow muscle car was its way to growing courage and conquering dream woman Mikaela (Megan Fox). The humor was often infantile and logic-defying – the low point being a game of hide and seek with the towering transformers in Sam’s parents’ backyard – but there was momentum in the film and the action was well worth it. It was also something new. It already went wrong in part two. One of the biggest problems with the film was that you could rarely empathize with the (human) characters because you never got the impression that they were in any danger. Fighting was on an awesome scale but our heroes just slalomed between the bullets to the point of being ridiculous. The relationship problems of the new couple from part 1, who had to form the emotional basis of the film, were also incredibly unbelievable and sluggish. After all, when the Transformers themselves showed little personality and the story was largely a rehearsal exercise of part 1, there was little more to be gained from the film.

Enough reason in any case for the undersigned to ignore part three – ‘Dark of the Moon’. Yet ‘Age of Extinction’ got another chance. The reputation of the film was well known by now and it was interesting to see if it really is as bad as being shouted (almost) everywhere (a rating of 32% based on 37 reviews on Metacritic.com is of course very lousy). The last trailer, which suggested that the rather ridiculous-looking Dinobots (fire-breathing robot dinosaurs) would play a central role in the film, was hardly encouraging. What a pleasant surprise, then, to find out that the movie is not such a mess.

Transformers: Age of Extinction seems to be the start of yet another whole new trilogy, which is why the human cast has definitely been refreshed. The emotional anchor now is the tough relationship between mechanic and amateur inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), who is not allowed to have boyfriends until she graduates from college. Cade is in debt and is looking for that one find or assignment that can get him out of financial trouble. Then he comes across an old truck in an old cinema that everyone sees as scrap metal. But not by Cade; he thinks he found something special. And it shows when the dusty old car makes itself known as Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots (for the uninitiated: the good Transformers). About 45 minutes have already passed, without a really false note having passed. The problems are not presented in a very nuanced way, and Michael Bay is, as usual, guilty of voyeuristic filming of his protagonists dressed in too short and tight clothes (in this case, 17-year-old Peltz), but this is not really something to be sure of to watch. The father-daughter relationship does offer a welcome new dynamic, and once again a good (or much better) working bond is established between the human characters and the spectator. and Michael Bay, as usual, is guilty of voyeuristic filming of his too-short and tight-fitting protagonists (17-year-old Peltz in this case), but this is not really something to be surprised about. The father-daughter relationship does offer a welcome new dynamic, and once again a good (or much better) working bond is established between the human characters and the spectator. and Michael Bay, as usual, is guilty of voyeuristic filming of his too-short and tight-fitting protagonists (17-year-old Peltz in this case), but this is not really something to be surprised about. The father-daughter relationship does offer a welcome new dynamic, and once again a good (or much better) working bond is established between the human characters and the spectator.

It is not that the characters are necessarily more sympathetic – the daughter often gets on her nerves – but there is more tangible tension. What works well here is that the threat to people is often literally kept within normal proportions. For example, it is often other people who take Tessa or Cade to life, or robots of a normal, manageable size. How this works can be seen in a scene where Cade and Tessa are engaged in a wild and exciting car chase, while a pair of gigantic robots battle each other in the same location, but somewhere in the background. On the one hand, there is real danger to the human characters, and on the other, you can enjoy the awe-inspiring violence of the literally larger than life robots, who have their own fight. Another scene that effectively creates tension is when our heroes have to walk at dizzying heights over thin, wobbly anchor cables to get to safety. The scene is almost ruined by a nagging Tessa and some unnecessary pursuers, but is still quite nail-biting. What also makes a difference is that due to a death early in the film you see that not everyone just survives, but that there can actually be victims. When this turns out to be one of the ‘heroes’, you as a viewer cannot be sure of anything anymore. A handy trick, copied from Hitchcock. but still quite nail-biting. What also makes a difference is that due to a death early in the film you see that not everyone just survives, but that there can actually be victims. When this turns out to be one of the ‘heroes’, you as a viewer can no longer be sure of anything. A handy trick, copied from Hitchcock. but still quite nail-biting. What also makes a difference is that due to a death early in the film you see that not everyone just survives, but that there can actually be victims. When this turns out to be one of the ‘heroes’, you as a viewer can no longer be sure of anything. A handy trick, copied from Hitchcock.

Many concepts and dialogues are clearly intended to refer to the hunt for terrorists in the current political climate, and the hunt for Communists during the McCarthy era or Jews during WWII. Wanted Transformers are depicted on playing cards, Transformers are tried and shot without trial or provocation on their part, and civilians are urged to report Transformers for being “The American thing to do.” It’s just the usual “government sucks” argument, in a way, but it’s elements you wouldn’t expect in a mindless teen movie. The same is true of ideas emerging regarding the difference between man and machine, whether Transformers have souls, and technology boss Joshua Joyce’s God or Frankenstein complex, a successful one. humorous role by Stanley Tucci. It has already been taken into account that attention is paid to these themes at all, since in the end it is mainly about overwhelming action and compelling special effects. And ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ undoubtedly has that.

This fourth Transformers film lasts an epic two and three quarters of an hour, but it is hardly bored for a moment. It is advisable to watch the film on blu-ray and on as large a screen as possible. After all, you want to be able to see all the details of the rusted or shiny metal and experience all the transformations optimally. When Optimus Prime and his buddies take on a bunch of Transformer ‘clones’ on the highway, you don’t want to miss a moment. When an imposing prehistoric spaceship looms out of the fog, or an imposing flying magnet attracts all kinds of vehicles and rattles on the street again, you want to experience this in all its audiovisual glory. And not only the unearthly and special-looking Transformers-in-robot form offer spectacle, the vehicles in which they transform also make the heart beat faster. Sure, they transform into mighty combat helicopters, fighter jets or tanks, but the super-fast sports are even more interesting, with mouth-watering Lamborghinis, Bugattis, and Paganis tearing past.

The last act of the film takes place in China and Hong Kong, and this makes for a beautiful setting. Surprisingly, not (only) shots of neon lights and Chinese lanterns, but also an exciting chase over and around the balconies of a high-rise residents’ complex, in which an air conditioner occasionally breaks down. There is a sadly clichéd scene here around the prejudice that all Asians are good at martial arts. Also, many of the Autobots in the film are stereotypes, although some may just want to call them (arche) types, such as the samurai-looking Transformer (Ken Watanabe) who speaks in haiku and wisdom, and a cigar-chewing iron-eater ( John Goodman) who uses powerful language and prefers to shoot first and then ask questions.

Transformers: Age of Extinction certainly has its weaknesses. Tessa’s adolescent behavior and her discussions with palief quickly become tiresome; main character Cade turns out to be quite one-dimensional and hackneyed in the second half and Mark Wahlberg cannot do much with this either; the feuds between the different Transformer species do not show well; furthermore, power relationships, or rather power relationships, are not always consistent. One moment a certain Transformer turns out to be far too powerful for his opponent, while a moment later the roles are reversed, for no apparent reason. It shouldn’t spoil the fun. The action and special effects are to die for, beautiful locations have been used, and even the humor is often successful. And those Dinobots from the trailer,

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