Content beyond the norm!
Once again Michael Bay makes not just a great visual spectacle, but also a storyline debacle with Transformers: Age of Extinction. This movie, to call it a film is an insult to film, had so much potential to show some character development with the Autobots’ leader, Optimus Prime. As the standard for a Transformers film, there has to be some pointless human story arc along with weak dialogue and directing.
The film starts five years after the incidents of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and the Autobots are in hiding from humanity who are trying to exterminate them. Cade Yeager (Marc Walberg),a struggling inventor and father buys an old beat up mack truck who just happens to be Optimus Prime. The federal government finds out, tries to arrest them but they escape so now Optimus and what remains of the Autobots are babysitting humans while on the run.
While hiding out, they discover a plot by the government and a technology corporation to manufacture man-made transformers from their remains. Throughout the discovery process Yeager is struggling with the fact that his teenage daughter has grown up and has a slightly older boyfriend. The attempt to make those exchanges comical were poorly written and took away from the plight of the Autobots. In this movie, Optimus Prime should have been the focal point.
With him being the leader of what is left of his team, there was so much potential to have a character who questions himself as a leader and as a Cybertronian. Protecting humanity has cost him comrades not only in battle, but from being hunted down. Having Ratchet get slaughtered at the beginning of the movie was a good choice considering he and Prime were close and he was one of the originals from the 1984 cartoon and the first film. Once Optimus sees his head being melted down in the lab, he goes ballistic.
Even though Walberg’s character helped retrieve this information through surveillance, that should have been the character’s departure from the film, kill him and his family off. Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) was the head of the tech company working with Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) were very integral as antagonists, bartering Optimus for technology. Joyce discovered the essence the Transformers’ replicating abilities and created his own robots named Stinger and Galvatron. Stinger was inspired by Bumblebee, while Galvatron was a complete failed attempt to replicate Optimus Prime. Instead, somehow someway Megatron has infused his genetic code into the prototype. Once Galvatron is no longer able to be controlled, Joyce and Attinger should have been murdered.
This should have been an Optimus Prime character study. The struggle of him as a leader, the guilt of what his decisions have done to his own especially considering the mentioning him being built as opposed to born by a neutral Transformer named Lockdown. Lockdown was a gray character who teased the origins of the Cybertronians and the creators wanting Prime’s head on a platter. This and Galvatron could have saved this movie if it was the focus.
The only redeemable qualities of this film was some of the action and some of the special effects. The visual effects of the man-made Transformers when they transformed was lazy at best. The logic behind transformations in the previous movies was the they are not morphing and that pieces have to go somewhere. The design of the robots did not disappoint.
Paramount has already announced ‘Transformers 5’, but there is speculation on whether Bay will return to direct. If the executives at Paramount are smart they will get rid of Bay and the writers and hire a new staff. So much potential has been wasted over the past four movies. Sure this will make a killing at the box office, but that is because of giant robots fighting. If Bay is going to stick around he needs to take a page from Pixar’s Wall-E. Humanize the robots, give them emotions and struggles and have humans as minor side characters to facilitate a few plot points and have them die.