Transformers: Age Of Extinction
Music By Steve Jablonsky Soundtrack Album Review
La-La Land Records/23 Tracks/Disc Time: 77:50
After a successful original trilogy that was started with an exciting and wonderful opening in 2007 which was followed by two critically hated sequels which also called for the ousting of both leading stars Shia LeBouf and Megan Fox, Paramount decided to begin a fresh perspective on the franchise with new characters and a new storyline which resulted in another hit for the Transformers franchise. Transformers: Age Of Extinction was well received this time around despite its’ overlong running time, but featured a more balanced and charismatic cast led by Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg and more steady direction this time around by Michael Bay. The film stars Wahlberg as a goofy inventor in Texas with his teenage daughter (Nicola Piatz) are now on the run from the CIA as they help out a wounded Optimus Prime and what’s left of the Autobots as they discover a plot that involves the creation of a new breed of transformers that are able to regenerate while a bounty hunter in league with a rogue black ops CIA director (Kelsey Grammer) searches for Prime to capture him and take him back to his creators.
Along for this noisy, entertaining ride for a fourth time is Composer Steve Jablonsky who has pretty much been the John Williams of this franchise contributing some fine music to the series since the original film in 2007. The diverse work that he has done throughout the series is one that has pretty much given him a much bigger profile and well deserved because his scores have really been the big lone bright spots in two dreaded sequels in the series, while shining brightly in the first and last of the series so far. The score is what you expect: it’s big, bold full of grandiose themes much like the other scores in the series.
The album opens with two poignant and tender tracks in “Decision” “Best Thing That Ever Happened” and “Have Faith Prime” that feature warm string and keyboards that establish the theme for Wahlberg and his family with a touch of electronics that play off the Autobot material later on in the score. Speaking of which, the Autobot material is driving pulsing and high powered action material that is very energetic and probably the best in the series by far which is also grandiose and over the top in every good way possible. Highlighted by “I’m An Autobot”, “The Final Knight”, “Dinobot Charge”, “Honor To The End” and “Leave Planet Earth Alone” which are easily the best tracks in the score filled with steady reams of percussion and a wealth of themes integrated throughout bouncing back and fourth between the Optimus Prime theme and Wahlberg’s family theme. Jablonsky also underscores the films’ plot with sinister and cold material accentuated by electronics that dominate and featured throughout the tracks “Transformium”, “Galvatron Is Online”, and “Galvatron Is Active”. The subplot in the film which involves the bounty hunter also gets similar material based on the story’s main plot and those tracks are highlighted by “Your Creators Want You Back”, and “The Legend Exists” and gets just a tad more in the film as both Autobots and Decepticons are being destroyed one by one in the film. Of course there’s action and plenty of it thanks to Jablonsky’s establishment of themes throughout that really play and bounce off each other rhythmically throughout these tracks. Highlighted by “His Name Is Shane And He Drives”, “Punch Hold Slide Repeat”, “Hong Kong Chase”, and “Drive Backwards”.
After being released digitally during the summer while the film was playing in theaters to many complaints which befell the last Transformers film, Dark Side Of The Moon, La-La Land Records has taken the leap and released this fine score as part of their excellent catalog of memorable titles. It’s not a perfect score but a very effective one that is one of the films’ best assets by far. “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” is a solid score for what it is intended to do along with the film and that is thrill. Thumbs up.