Transformers: Age of Extinction Blu-ray Review
Michael Bay has made a good living making noisy action movies. The more explosions there are, the happier Bay must feel. His movies seem to also specialize in banal dialogue, quick cuts and cardboard characters. The worse the reviews are, the more money his movies seem to get. He is truly critic proof. When he has made quieter movies (relative to his other films) like “The Island” or “Pain & Gain”, they tend not to make as much as his usual fare. So basically he knows where his bread is buttered. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is more of the same from him and critics be damned.
The movie starts five years after The Battle of Chicago. The U.S. government has decided to sever their relationship with the Autobots. Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer in full villain mode) heads up a secret Black Ops division that hunts down Decepticons and even Autobots. Savoy thinks the government should fight its own battles and not count on alien interference. He also wants to use the material from the defeated foes to make new weapons and a fighting force. Attinger’s right-hand man is James Savoy (Titus Welliver). Savoy carries out the dirty deeds. We see early on when his team disposes of the Autobot Rachet (voiced by Robert Foxworth). Rachet is confused by what is happening since the Autobots had worked so long with the humans. Their secret weapon is a bounty hunter by the name of Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan). Lockdown really wants Optimus Prime (voiced once again by Peter Cullen) for reasons unknown.
Michael Bay has completely revamped the entire human cast. Out goes Shia LaBeouf and in comes Mark Wahlberg. The film can essentially be called a sequel and reboot without it being wrong on either front. Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor and single father to Tessa (Nicola Petz). Cade has creditors coming after him left and right. He just toils away on his inventions trying to make ends meet. Cade is a super strict parent. He doesn’t want his 17-year-old daughter to date at all. Cade had Tessa when he was young and he doesn’t want her to make the same mistakes he did. This part of the story just seems from another time period. It is put in to create conflict between the two. I just found it tedious. Tessa is in fact dating Shane (Jack Reynor), a slightly older race car driver. It was a bit creepy that Shane carries around a copy of the statutory rape statute in his pocket. Who does that? We all know how the relationship with Shane and Cade will end up. There honestly is nothing surprising there and it takes the whole entire film to get to that point. Oh what fun to see those two bicker on the nature of the relationship between Shane and Tessa. Ugh.
Cade and his partner Lucas Flannery (T.J. Miller) find an abandoned truck in an old theater in Texas. The truck happens to be Optimus Prime and that sends the movie into hyper drive after Cade gets Optimus Prime up and running again. Savoy and Lockdown are on the trail and are willing to do anything to take Optimus Prime down. Optimus Prime recruits the remaining Autobots that include Bubblebee, Hound (voiced enthusiastically by John Goodman), Drift (voiced by the noble Ken Watanabe) and Crosshairs (voice of John DiMaggio).
One of the best additions to the cast is Stanley Tucci. Tucci plays Joshua Joyce, a billionaire entrepreneur and an inventor. He heads up his own company called KSI. Joyce has invented transformium, the metal in which the Transformers are made of. He has done this from Autobots and Decepticons alike. His big invention is of Galvatron (voice of Frank Welker) who is made from imput from Megatron’s brain. Joyce is working with Attinger to get all this done in secret. It is mutually beneficial to both of them.
Screenwriter Ehren Kruger puts a lot of story into this film. And that is saying something since the film is over 2 ½ hours long. We have the Black Ops mission. We have what KSI is doing. We have Lockdown and his goal. We also have the strained relationship in the Yeager family. And there is also a side story on how the dinosaurs were really wiped out. They were done in by the Creators of the Transformers. This gives the franchise the excuse to bring out the Dinobots. Fans have been clamoring for them since the first film. They don’t appear until late, but they sure do make their presence known. Kruger just doesn’t connect everything in a cohesive fashion. It is a mess that needed some trimming.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is a film that just wears you down. I can only take so much of metal clanging against each other for long periods of time. It’s exhausting. A great action film knows when to pull back and let the characters breathe a bit. It doesn’t happen here. Sure you have the quiet opening in Texas as Cade toils away on his inventions. That was just a tease for the assault on your ears and eyes that will come. One of these days, Michael Bay will figure out that less is more. It’s not today though.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The colors were quite vivid in the transfer.
Audio: The sound was good as expected. This is a movie where your high price speakers get a workout.
Bay on Action (10:45): Director Michael Bay discusses his directing style. He also goes over how he pushes himself creatively in each movie he does. This includes new filming methods. The difficulty of filming in Hong Kong is touched upon.
Evolution within Extinction (2:02:05): This is the big feature on the extras. It includes eight sections. 1. Generation 2 (15:53): This feature talks about the evolution of the story and the brand new casting for the series. 2. Drive like Hell (13:29): The nifty cars are discussed here. 3. Small Town, Big Movie (11:22): The filming in Texas is featured. This included the finding of the house that Mark Wahlberg’s character lives in. 4. Shadow Protocol Activated (28:45): The cooperation of General Motors is keyed on. Many of the sets are used by the car company. The various sets in the many cities are tackled. 5. The Last Stand (11:03): Detroit fills in for Hong Kong in the big fight scene in the end. 6. The People’s Republic (12:54): This is self explanatory. The locations in China and Hong Kong are featured here. The scenes involving a huge apartment complex and a wonderful national park are put into focus. The issue of fear of heights is also put into the conversation. 7. Rise of the Dinobots (6:10): The appearance of these popular characters is discussed. 8. The Finishing Touch (23:10): We see Michael Bay’s interaction with his editors and with ILM. The development of the score is gone over. The involvement of Skrillex and Imagine Dragons is shown. The voice actors are also featured here. We see a snippet of the Hong Kong premiere of the film.
Just Another Giant Effin’ Movie (10:03): This is where Michael Bay’s mother gets to shine. She shares stories of Michael when he was younger. We also see the cast and crew act goofy.
A Spark of Design (15:24): This is a fascinating feature on the inner workings of Hasboro, the toy company behind the Transformers. You get to see how they design and build the Transformers toys. The Dinobots are talked about.
T.J. Miller: Farm Hippie (19:43): Miller goes around and has wacky conversations with Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammar and Michael Bay. He even attempts to interview Optimus Prime. This was slightly amusing, but could have been a whole funnier.
Kre-O Transformers: Take Us Through the Movies! (3:42): This was a clever way of recapping the first three films in the series using the construction toys.
Angry Birds Tranformers: Origin Story (1:16): This is the Angry Birds as the Transformers.