There’s certainly no beating around the bush at this point with Michael Bay and his “Transformers” films. When you sit down to watch one, you know exactly what kind of movie you’re going to get: a flimsy plot that merely acts as a foundation for the heroic autobots to do battle with the evil robots. The very minute details of the plot may be different, but this is, in essence, the movie you will see each and every time. For this fourth entry, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” we pick up the story after the infamous “Battle of Chicago.” The Transformers are being hunted down as dangerous criminals, causing them to go into hiding. We meet Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a mechanic who’s having a little trouble paying the mortgage on his home where he and his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz), live. While helping to restore an old theater, he discovers a truck, which he buys and brings home, a truck that just happens to be Optimus Prime, leader of the autobots. Once a black ops team discovers what he’s found, he’s forced to go on the run with his daughter and her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor), eventually leading to yet another epic battle for our heroes as they face down the mysterious robot villains who have been helping the humans hunt them down.
What else can be said about Michael Bay’s latest “Transformers” film that hasn’t already been said about the previous sequels? Once more, he has made almost the exact same movie with just a few plot details changed in order to make it seem like you’re watching something new. However, there’s nothing new to be had here, just more of the same: a thread of a plot, filler dialogue, and lots and lots of explosions and other loud noises, all spread out over a completely inexcusable runtime of 165 minutes. It’s clear that Bay wants to give you every bang he can give you for your buck, but even the most action-loving members of the audience will once again find themselves wondering how much longer it could possibly drag on. The funny thing is, if it were trimmed down by about an hour, it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as it is. It probably still wouldn’t be good, but at least it would be more tolerable.
The fact of the matter is that the bloated nature of the film robs it of any chance of coming through in a positive light, for being inundated by action for half of such a runtime is sure to leave anyone questioning why Bay felt the need to make it so long, especially when there’s only about 15 minutes’ worth of plot in the entire film. It was easy enough to change up the actors for this fourth entry, but in order to give these films a chance, why not change up the more vital elements? Get a writer who knows what he’s doing, one that can deliver human characters that aren’t just stand-ins, trim down the absurd runtime, and integrate the action into a story that doesn’t feel like it was scrawled on a napkin in less than five minutes. Then and only then will the fifth entry have a shot at satisfying the audience, bringing back the excitement of the original film that feels like it’s now part of a far distant past.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” arrives on Blu-ray in a beautiful 2.35: 1, 1080p High Definition transfer. The film is presented with a brilliantly-sharp picture that allows you to see each and every explosion in perfect quality, with radiant colors and no signs of fuzziness. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is also flawless, giving you the multitude of sound effects, dialogue, and score at outstanding levels. Overall, the film has been given amazing treatment for its home release, leaving no room for complaint.
Bay on Action: An intriguing ten-minute interview with Michael Bay that has him discussing his vision for the film as well as the film’s action sequences. Worth a look.
Evolution within Extinction: This is the bulk of the extras, comprised of a series of featurettes that cover multiple areas of the film including the characters (human and machine), cars, locations, visual effects, and post-production, all of which totals about two hours. Definitely worth the time to watch, especially if you’re interested in learning how this massive project came together.
Just Another Giant Effin’ Movie: A rather pointless inclusion that just features some cast and crew being silly on the set, along with a few montages of explosions. Easily skippable.
A Spark of Design: A featurette that takes a look at Hasbro as they create some of the action figures for the film. It’s not particularly interesting, but if you like the toys, you may find it worth watching.
T.J. Miller: Farm Hippie: Another completely pointless inclusion that follows T.J. Miller as he thanks some of the cast and crew of the film. It’s a rather unfunny bit that just isn’t worth the time.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is simply more of the same mindless action, flat characters, and utter boredom that we’ve come to expect from these bloated mechanical sequels. At the very least, this release comes with some outstanding special features and presents the film in crystal clear quality, but that’s not nearly enough to cover up Michael Bay’s latest disaster. It’s a failure on just about every level and, like his previous two entries in the series, can easily look forward to its dishonorable place on the list of worst films of the year.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
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