Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor.
The good thing about Transformers: Age of Extinction is that its lead is not the lackluster Shia LaBouf. In retrospect, that is probably the only good thing.
The film lurches from spectacle to spectacle, from one epic battle to another and by the end of act one, you are groggy. Post interval, it finishes what it started - and your sanity with it.
Here's the story, or as much as any audience member can understand - Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is a largely unsuccessful robotic expert living with his 17-year-old daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) on a Texan ranch. He is obsessive about keeping his daughter away from boys and making a ground-breaking invention.
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Elsewhere, a CIA honcho (Kelsey Grammer) is killing all Autobots he and his men can find. Cade comes across an injured Optimus Prime and for some reason decide to stake all he has to help him. Fighting him is an unholy alliance of industry, shady CIA officials and bad bots from outer space. There is also a lot of scientific hotch-potch and the film also 'explains' how dinosaurs vanished.
To save Earth from the same fate yet again, the good bots and three humans will go on an expedition across the globe. It will take them an excruciating 2 hours and 45 minutes.Script? Ha!
Editing seems to be an alien concept to director Michael Bay and his team. Actually, so is having a real plot. At one point of time, three separate armies of Autobots are fighting each other. There are good and bad human in the melee too, and one bad human who's now good. And you are not even sure what started that particular war or who's fighting whom. By that point of time, you don't care either. You just want it to end.
A film which talks about industrial greed could have had a layered script and a message. There is neither. The film starts and ends as a giant exercise in Hollywood merchandise and product placements, interspersed with a lot of loud action sequences. Watch the trailer of Transformers: Age of Extinction
Bay has always been generous when equipping his films with VFX. The special effects in the film are just what you expect from a Transformer film - big, loud and long. A particular scene where a giant spaceship is hovering in the sky and sucking in everything from Earth and then throwing it out is particularly impressive.
The transformations of Autobots also make an impact, especially where some of them turn into giant, salivating mix of dinosaurs and dragons.
However, the sheer quantity of these scenes may be a treat for the die-hard Transformer fans, others may need an aspirin.
When you see Mark Wahlberg in a film - even when it is Transformers - you go in with certain expectations. Does he deliver? In the beginning, yes. There are scenes between him and his daughter which are funny and touching. But soon, his obsession with guarding his daughter's virginity becomes grating. Although with the miniature short shorts Nicola is made to wear in the film, any dad would have reason to worry.
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It is physically painful to watch Wahlberg's performance fall to pieces in the film. His role, like everyone else's in the film, is half baked and he becomes yet another victim to Michael Bay's inept handling of his characters.
The only character who stands out is Stanley Tucci's Joshua Joyce because he seems to be laughing at every dumb line he's made to say. He is obviously not taking the film seriously and perhaps there's a message for all of us there.
With the fourth film in the franchise one would hope, almost pray, that Bay is close to wrapping up the franchise. The truth is far from it. The next film is in the works and the climax of this one has sown the seeds.
Going by how the earlier Transformers have done, this edition and the next will leave the box office jingling. But next time, we will be reading history or solving calculus - that's so much easier to follow!