The fourth Transformers film serves up mayhem, destruction and shameless product placements, all in a span of just under three hours.
The Transformers is by far one of the most successful and lucrative film franchises of the past decade, which is why they can’t stop making more films. So when Transformers: Age of Extinction was announced and with that Michael Bay’s declaration of taking the franchise into a new direction, fans were naturally excited.
After all, the three times out with Shia and gang had left the franchise a bit tired and weary, even more so with Bay constantly brandishing his signature way of story-telling (explosions, battles, slo-mo money shots, more explosions) throughout the trilogy. So is this latest Transformers film headed on a new path? Let’s find out.
The Story: Transformers: Age of Extinction opens a few years after Transformers: Dark of the Moon with both Autobots and Decepticons branded as fugitives after the city of Chicago was left in ruins. The U.S Government has ceased all ties with the Autobots, leaving them pretty much with an ultimatum – leave Earth or be hunted and destroyed.
However, the straightforward plotline isn’t all that straightforward after all. There are darker forces at work and that includes an intergalactic Transformer bounty hunter, a CIA head and a tech-savvy businessman all of whom make an uneasy alliance with one another in order to fulfil their goals. The humans for the most part want a vital piece of the technological puzzle to create Transformers of their own, which the bounty hunter will provide only if the humans deliver Optimus Prime’s to him.
This of course brings us to the issue of the Autobot leader, who somehow is found in an abandoned theatre by inventor Cade Yeager. Stuck in truck form and presumably dead, Yeager manages to repair Prime and bring him back to life but the authorities show up eager to capture the Autobot in order to fulfil their end of the bargain.
What Worked: To be fair, Bay does some pretty great camera work with this one. The slow-mo money shots and close-up beauty shots are all there along with some of the best special effects seen on film.
What Didn’t: The gaps in the plot and the disjointed storyline, which leaps from one element to the other whilst shoving inconsequential subplots in your face that succeeds in just adding more unnecessary fodder to an already convoluted story.
Plus Points: Bay’s go-to money shots and robots galore.
Minus Points: The nearly three hour run time and the blatant product placements throughout the film.
Conclusion: Transformers: Age of Extinction is by far the worse addition to the franchise. It not only suffers from staggering plot holes and gaps but it’s also packed with unnecessary elements and sequences. It’s part video game, part movie, part music video and part advert and for the most part it’s a film that doesn’t hide the fact that it was made for one sole purpose in mind – to make money and little else.