Bru’s Reviews – TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION ON THE BRINK OF EXHAUSTION July 2, 2014 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews, Featured Columns
All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: The “robots in disguise” return with a new human (Mark Wahlberg), his daughter (Nicola Peltz) and boyfriend (Jack Reynor) to help out. The Autobots have been out of commission and in hiding while scummy ex-CIA dude Fraser Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and a crazy tech billionaire (Stanley Tucci) try to make their own bots to defend the human race and hunt down any remaining robots, good or bad. And a lot of other stuff. Or, as one moviegoer put it, “Very long with a lotta robots.”
Written by Ehren Kruger, directed by Michael Bay (apparently getting paid per explosion)
- Effects are top-notch as always, for the most part. There had to be a small army working on the CG for this one and they obviously put in a ton of hours, sweat and effort. Just imagining the amount of graphics in this one is staggering.
- Dinosaurs, both flesh and metal!
- Wahlberg is cooler than Shia Lebouf. And a lot more badass.
- The tough-but-scatterbrained dad/inventor character and his hot-but-loyal 17-year-old daughter is a nice added element. The Dad’s speeches for his kid are actually kinda nice and come off as heartfelt.
- As always, cars are stars, almost as much as the robots, though not as much a focus as the first. Car fans will dig ’em, including a Bugatti Veyron, Pagoni Huyara, Lamborghini Aventador, C7 Corvette Stingray and of course, Bumblebee’s Camaro. (Bonus: he starts out as a classic ’67). If you look in the background on Wahlberg’s farm, you’ll see a ’65 and ’69 GTO as well. Too bad they don’t move!
- A few of the stunts are just breathtaking. Impossible, of course, but you don’t see TRANSFORMERS for plausibility. The slo-mo scene of Optimus, Bumblebee and friends in the air going thru a truck (while the driver and passenger react in the foreground) and then re-assembling is masterful.
- If you like to see stuffed “blowed up good, real good,” this is your nirvana. Makes a FAST AND FURIOUS movie look tame in comparison. If you have a hearing aid, you won’t need it at this flick! (I didn’t pay for D-Box motion seats but my seat vibrated anyway.)
- Giant ships that make the original STAR WARS destroyer look tiny. The scale of everything is pretty much off the hook on this one.
- Robots are well-designed. (I really liked Drift and Lockdown–his head turns into a gun!) Voices are right-on. My favorites are John Goodman as Hound (robots can have beards?), Bumblebee, legendary Frank Welker as Galvitron, and of course, Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime. I want that guy on my voicemail!
- The Chinese babe does a great Black Widow impression. Stanley Tucci’s character turns from unlikable douche to likeable quirk about halfway through.
- [–FROM MIKE: Some parts were shot in Detroit…Knowledgable locals will notice the legendary Boblo boat!]
- It’s only 165 minutes but feels more like 200. (yeah, it’s 2 hours and 45 minutes long!)
- If you’re a parent and concerned about language, there are a lot more “S” words in this installment, and even an “F” bomb. (Tho it’s one of the best lines in the flick.)
- Similarly, the violence from the black ops guys against a helpless girl is pretty intense. (But the payback is decent.)
- Speaking of China, that’s where this film was premiered, and about half was shot. The filmmakers set out from day one to make this a hit in that country and worked with the Chinese government to make it more accessible to their audience. There’s obviously some different footage in their version, but even this feels like a “manufactured” hit. First half is USA, second all China, with a lot of landmarks and personalities thrown in for their benefit.
- A Transformers trademark: blatant product placement. Lots of it. Now even some of the robots have corporate logos on their chests!
- One of the few movies where you won’t mind spoilers. Unless you’re a junkie of the franchise and have read the comics and/or seen the cartoons, you’ll be better off reading a synopsis to know who’s who, what’s what and why for. By the time you figure all that out on your own, the film’s over.
- Wahlberg’s gun show. How many inventors have you seen with 22-inch arms? Ya can’t be a full-time tech tinkerer when you’re spending three hours a day pumpin’ iron.
- Three words for Mr. Bay: “Less is more.” Upping the boom-boom quotient with each film tends to dull the audience’s senses more than excite them. [MIKE: My wife said, “I’ve never seen a movie with so much action and been so bored.” Me? I wasn’t bored, but for the last half hour, I was numbed.]
This was a tough call. It’s not a great film by any stretch. But it’s perfectly suited for “da big screen.” On the one hand, you need the giant video and audio to really immerse yourself in it and feel like you’re part of the gargantuan action. On the other, it all can get overwhelming, and if you’re not a fan of the franchise, you’ll ho-hum and go “huh?”. (If you’re the latter, just RENT IT.)
But I figure most of the people reading this are fans, so I say, go for the major screen experience and get numbed. You’ll get your money’s worth in effects and explosives. (WARNING: If you see it in IMAX 3D, your head may literally explode from over-stimulation. If you go that route, make sure the people near you are wearing raincoats.)
P.S.: Pascale can draw robots “in da skies”, cool cars and hot babes. Want an original for your wall or a gift? Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Autobots, Decepticons, the CIA or the staff of Cheers. Bru misses Megan Fox and wishes that Nicola Peltz’s character was 18 instead of 17 so he wouldn’t feel as creepy for his disgusting fantasies.