Well, I guess I know why they called it ‘Age of Extinction‘: with the latest installment, it’s safe to say the Transformers franchise is completely dead.
It’s custom for me to start off a bad review with some positive feedback on a film. So let me try and dig through all the crap and find something. The final fight scene was well-shot in my opinion. I liked the use of 3D and the cuts between POV and a voyeur’s view of events was quite exhilarating. The CGI was decent throughout the movie, and there were some truly over-the-top explosions and flying vehicles (road, air and aquatic).
Now that that’s out of the way I need to say what I really think.
The entire story had great potential, but in trying to include too many things it wasn’t able to provide sufficient depth to the separate groups, individual characters, and story arcs.
It was a failed attempt at an interconnected narrative:
- The threat of Lockdown, the Decepticon bounty hunter in cahoots with the CIA.
- Yeager family is introduced and caught up in a huge robot alien/ U.S military war.
- The Autobots reuniting and fighting the CIA and Lockdown.
- Megatron a.k.a Galvatron’s re-emergence and revelations of his master plan.
Then all this was brought together in a chaotic mess of explosions. So what was this movie even about? Explosions, that’s what!
Ehren Kruger literally has the dream job. He’s a destruction-porn writer, who can write anything he wants for these movies and they will still make cash because of the strength of the franchise and the sheer spectacle of the films.
The product placement
Redbull, Good Year, Gucci, Bugatti, Victoria’s Secret, Beats (by Apple), Bud Light, Oreos, Rolls Royce, and those are only the ones I can remember as I’m writing this. There were probably plenty more, and I’m pretty sure there were a ton of Chinese brands I wasn’t able to recognise having not been exposed to them before.
My issue with the product placement was about how blatant it was. There should really be some limitations on the amount of screen time a brand gets in a movie. One to two seconds (absolute max) is understandable, but 5-10 seconds, and more than one shot… that’s a bit ridiculous.
Nicola Peltz (Tessa Yeager) has two looks: supermodel and damsel in distress; sometimes both. I’m glad they actually gave her a little bit of substance in conquering the enemy at the end. And was her boyfriend Irish, Scottish, Australian or American? His accent changed in every single scene- the guy’s got the acting chops of a lamp.
Mark Walhberg was okay, albeit a bit emotional which is just not how you’re used to seeing him, but that’s okay. However, the best acting was done by Optimus Prime.
Why was the film 3 hours long? Explosions and CGI are amazing spectacles in moderation, but when you’ve got a weak script and mediocre acting, it’s never enough to engage an audience for that long.
Looking back at the first Bad Boys film, I’m sitting here wondering what the hell happened to Michael Bay.
The way everyone came together at the end when the enemy was defeated was really corny. There was even one shot of a few transformers with a sunset in the background, and I was just waiting for Circle of Life to start playing.
If you think about the depth of the Transformers universe from the 1980’s, it’s safe to say that many more sequels are on the way. They’re cash cows after all so they’ll keep rolling out, but there’s no guarantee they will be getting any better.
I’m not even going to post the trailer her, because no.
What you should do instead of watching this movie: Watch 22 Jump Street; watch The Fault in Our Stars; watch Edge of Tomorrow; watch anything else.
Memorable moments: Ratchet’s death for me was a really sad moment. It happened early on, at a point where I wasn’t too critical of the film yet, and I felt a sense of nostalgia thinking about the original team of Autobots from the first movie.
Let me know your thoughts, and mention some more product placements I missed in the comments below.
About the Author: Stephen is co-founder of BTG Lifestyle, an avid film critic who loves popcorn flicks and art house films alike, both in moderation.