Thursday, June 26, 2014

Transformers: Age of A New Trilogy

       As far as franchises go, none are more polarizing than Transformers. People love to hate Michael Bay. I admit, I hated everything about the first film...until I actually saw it. People complained about everything, the robot designs, too many humans, bad story. I disagreed with all of that. Revenge of The Fallen was week, but Dark of The Moon was pretty darn good despite what some people think. Michael Bay is back with the promise of a new trilogy. The last film killed off the majority of the villains, marked the last appearance of Shia Labouf, and could have wrapped the existing franchise. We are taking another ride with the autobots, but the question for a lot of people is what are we getting this go around?

   Autobots are in hiding and have been hunted down and killed. Lockdown is a transformer bounty hunter and Optimus Prime is his target. The government has cut ties with the robots after the destruction of Chicago and are searching for Prime. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is a down on his luck inventor who is trying to raise a teenage daughter (Nicola Peltz). He accidentally discovers Prime and finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly conflict. He uncovers the government's plan to build transformers from an alien metal all while discovering the boyfriend (Jack Reynor) he wasn't aware his daughter had. Prime and a small group of autobots must decide whether to flee the planet or help the humans who have been hunting them down. None of them are aware that Megatron has been reincarnated in the form of Galvatron.

  The new human cast works pretty well. They give the franchise a bit of a shot in the arm. No more misadventures of Sam Witwicky. Wahlberg easily pulls off the action scenes and is believable as the struggling single father. Kelsey Grammer is a good lead villain, but I found Stanley Tucci's character a little on the annoying side. The film at times all most has too much comic relief. The dynamic between Wahlberg his daughter and boyfriend provided enough.

Prime and Bumblebee return with a new group of autobots. The film does a good job of explaining why the rest of the old cast are gone. I wasn't too crazy about Drift, but Crosshairs was a pretty cool bot. They are definitely a different group than what the franchise has offered in the past. I think most people will love Hound ( John Goodman). He has a great look and is the bot that truly steals the show. 

   While the new autobots work, the decepticons really don't. Galvatron is kind of a let down. I really hated the design of him. Transformers purists will hate the lack of arm cannon and he really isn't much of a factor. This is a set up of things to come, but he just doesn't do it for me. The remaining decepticons are pretty much useless drones that get blown up. Lockdown is pretty cool, but he isn't exactly a decepticon. He is lethal and is the central villain.

   The dinobots deliver and I liked the way Bay explains their origin. People waiting for some, " Me Grimlock," speech will need to keep waiting, but they are fun to watch even with limited screen time. The story slows at points and then feels a bit rushed in others. The action is top notch and people who like seeing lots of destruction will not be disappointed. The robots have been redesigned and are a little easier to see when transformed. They fail to explain a few things, but not enough to make you hate the film. Peter Cullen's voice is still epic as Optimus Prime. There are hints at Unicron or Quintisons, but people wanting glimpses of either will be let down. The door is left open for some of the original characters to return and it sets up a whole new world of possibilities for the franchise. It isn't my favorite. I still like Dark of The Moon, but Age of Extinction is a big summer pop corn movie and it is good enough.

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