Transformers: Age of Extinction

Posted by Joel Copling on June 26, 2014

Give "Transformers: Age of Extinction" this bit of credit: The sound design is amazing. It seems an obvious point to make, given that Michael Bay is the director and that the three other films in the franchise were in the same boat. There are also the visual effects in this film's case, which have the feel of genuine interaction with the human actors onscreen. This was far wobblier in the cases of 2007's shiny, mediocre "Transformers" and 2009's endless "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," in which the actors and Autobots/Decepticons always felt disconnected from each other on some visual level. With 2011's far superior "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and now the fourth movie, actors and robots seem to occupy the same space. It's just too bad that nothing about this newest film seems worthy of occupying space.

Take the plot, for instance, which is incomprehensible nonsense for about an hour and then relatively nonexistent for the following hour and 45 minutes (Yes, you're doing that math correctly). A few years after the battle between Autobots and Decepticons that took place at the end of the last movie, both sets of robots have become outlaws. Well, actually not. The C.I.A. (led by Kelsey Grammer as its director) has partnered up with the Decepticons, headed by Lockdown (voice of Mark Ryan) and for unknown and uninteresting reasons to give the latter invading force a "Seed," which, it turns out, killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen) simply won't have it, so he and the other Autobots (voiced by the likes of John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, John DiMaggio, Reno Wilson), with the help of sympathetic humans (played by Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, and--briefly--T.J. Miller), journey to Tokyo to take it back.

You'll notice that I barely mentioned the human characters in "Transformers: Age of Extinction," and that's because they don't really matter. Sure, Wahlberg's Cade Yeager just wants to protect his daughter (His wife died years ago, you see), played by Peltz. And, sure, Tucci's Joshua Joyce is the doctor who creates the method by which the Decepticons are able to attack the humans and then realizes this horrendous mistake. But the real focus of this chaotic, nonsensical affair is the many, many action sequences, which dominate the entire third act of the film. They're also what give this overblown exercise in patience-testing the personality of its mechanical heroes and villains.

Film Information

Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yeager), Stanley Tucci (Joshua Joyce), Kelsey Grammer (Harold Attinger), Nicola Peltz (Tessa Yeager), Jack Reynor (Shane Dyson), Titus Welliver (James Savoy), Bingbing Li (Su Yueming), Sophia Myles (Darcy Tirrel), T.J. Miller (Lucas Flannery).

Featuring the voices of Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), John Goodman (Hound), Ken Watanabe (Drift), John DiMaggio (Crosshairs), Mark Ryan (Lockdown), Frank Welker (Galvatron), Reno Wilson (Brains), and Robert Foxworth (Ratchet).

Directed by Michael Bay and written by Ehren Krueger.

Rated PG-13 (intense sci-fi violence/action, language, brief innuendo).

165 minutes.

Released on June 27, 2014.